Two days ago, following their highway robbery of a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews posted a phone number on his Facebook and Twitter accounts telling his followers it was a direct line to Roger Goodell and they’re free to share it. The posts have since been taken down, but the damage was done and the phone number is now out there.

The following is an address to Goodell in the context that he would ever check those messages. According to a source reported by SportsCenter, some 70,000 messages were left over night. Somehow, I think the commissioner won’t be checking all them. Realistically, he won’t be checking ANY of them and they will all probably be indiscriminately deleted.

Still, I offer the following under the false assumption that it would somehow get through to Mr. Goodell:

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TENSIONS RISING: Despite this quarrel during Monday Night Football, the teams are becoming more and more united….against the NFL. Photo courtesy Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

Leave your message at the tone…..*BEEP*

Hey, Rog!

Just another fan of your league here! This went through to voicemail, so I guess I missed you.

Hey, speaking of missing things, did you catch that Monday night game? Oh, who am I kidding? Of course you did, it’s your job, after all. Man, those referees missed some crucial calls, huh?

I know, I know: you’re tired of hearing us complain about it. But don’t you think we have a point? Let’s ignore the “simultaneous catch” ruling for a minute because that whole last play was flawed from the get-go. You have a play in the back of the endzone as time expires and two referees run over to the action. One was in the back of the endzone  and one was all the way down the sideline. The one nearest the play signals a touchback while the one coming from the sideline signals a touchdown.

Cue the chaos.

There was almost no conference between the replacement officials before the squad’s white hat said the play was under review. That’s to be expected, but what was the ruling on the field? You had two different referees make two different signals and there was no indication as to who overruled who until it was all said and done.

Then, after the crew reviews it (where I don’t see how there isn’t indisputable proof that there was no simultaneous catch), the zebras couldn’t even keep the teams on the field for the mandatory PAT.

This isn’t about blown calls or poor judgment, the installation of these referees is failing on a systemic level. Their literacy in your league’s very complicated rules is nothing short of embarrassing.

But this isn’t THEIR fault. They’re just trying to do the job they were hired to do. No, Roger, this is YOUR fault.

I didn’t agree with your gamble to use replacement referees to begin with, but I can see how you could justify it worth being a shot. However, there were warning signs very early on — as early as the preseason — that this replacement referee thing had disaster written all over it.

Think of it like a vehicle safety inspection. It was time for new brakes and you (‘you’ being the owners and the league) didn’t want to throw down the dough for the brand the mechanics said you needed. So, while you waited for that brand to go “on sale”, you put in some knock off pads from that Division III auto shop down the road. You took it out for a test drive, and the car didn’t feel right, but you convinced yourself they just needed to be broken in, that they’ll come around to perform at the level you’re used to.

Well, they didn’t, Roger, and the debacle in Seattle two nights ago was the equivalent of you wrapping the car around a tree, and it could’ve all been avoided if you had heeded the warnings.

DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB: The fans and players want these replacement refs gone. And, if it doesn’t happen soon, they may want Goodell gone, too. Photo courtesy Rob Carr/Getty Images

The brakes pads you needed (the unionized refs) weren’t that expensive either. The NFL is a nine billion-dollar industry. Nine BILLION dollars a year. All it would’ve originally cost to give in to the referees’ demands was about 60,000 per year per owner. As far as putting a price on integrity goes, that’s a bargain buy.

Of course, I say that WAS the price. The referee union and their negotiators can plainly see the NFL has egg on their face now and will probably be asking for more, like this report that they now want back-pay for the games they’ve already missed.

Do you see a snowballing effect here, Rog? The longer these negotiations go on, the worse your replacement refs look and the more expensive the demands from the regular refs become. If it continues through the end of the season, we might look back at this dreadful night in Seattle as nothing more than a minor hiccup and the locked-out refs will be commanding a king’s ransom.

So stop it. Stop it before it gets to that point. To be honest, you SHOULD have stopped it a long time ago, but we’re past all that. All we can do now is move forward, and step one is giving these unionized refs whatever they need to get back to work.

The problem with all that, though, is now there are reports that you’re concerned with things you want done in the long-term. Long-term? Are you kidding me? You and your negotiators should be in crisis mode and, if I can be blunt, crisis mode doesn’t give two bowel movements about your goals five or ten years from now.

Get out your biggest band aid or stitches or whatever you need and just find a way to bring the locked-out refs back to work through the end of the season. If you need five months to hash out a long-term deal, make it March to July, not September to January.

I hope I’m getting through to you here, because I’m a little concerned you and the owners don’t fully appreciate how dire the situation is. You, Roger Goodell, the commissioner who rules with an iron fist, have the dawning of a player mutiny on your hands. Stars of the league are tweeting out your direct office line while others boldly slander these stand-in employees. Did you even know the NHL players — the PLAYERS, those guys you need to actually play the game — are in a lockout? No? It’s because this referee lockout has just been that bad.

So fix the problem, Mr. Goodell, and fix it now. Fix it before it gets any worse. Fix it before we have playoff games that get ruined. Fix it before, dare I say it, you start to lose football fans for good.

But, more importantly, fix it because it’s your JOB to fix it. Just like these replacement refs aren’t doing their job properly, you aren’t doing yours correctly, either. And, if people are calling for them to be fired, how much longer will it be before they demand the same of you?

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NOTE: This story was originally posted on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure you give him a follow @bclienesch for NFL updates and other shenanigans!