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High time to settle the NFL officials' strike

It was going to happen sooner or later. Too bad it cost the Green Bay Packers on a national stage.

The situation is the NFL's use of replacement officials while the regular referees are locked out during contract negotiations.

It's become obvious over the first three week of the regular season the replacements are in way over their heads. Never more so than the Packers' 14-12 loss to the Seahawks in Monday night's game at Seattle.

The final Seahawk drive included two bad calls against the Packers that resulted in a controversial touchdown as the clock ran out.

There was, to be sure, some sloppy play by the Packers and a nearly complete breakdown in the first half when quarterback Aaron Rogers was sacked eight times, but the game was close.

However, the game was constantly interrupted by penalty flags from the officials and the pace of the contest was slowed down considerably.

The officials are from the college ranks and not even the top college ranks.

NFL players are bigger, stronger, faster and older and more experienced than most major college teams and their talent level is far above the subdivision college ranks. It's no wonder the refs are left in the dust all too often.

It's time for the NFL to budge on the negotiations and give up a few million of the many millions of dollars generated by the game and settle the game officials' strike.

Many years ago, in Ray Nitschke's Packer Report, the argument was made for full-time officials that would be hired and fired by the NFL and monitored all week by the League. The reason for the NFL avoiding this situation can only be the cost of hiring on a stable of refs.

So if it's all about money, maybe the various TV networks who pay millions if not billions in broadcast rights for the privilege of showing the game to the country, should sue the NFL for breach of contract. The product they contracted for with regular big league officials is not the one that is currently on the tube.

The only other alternative is for fans to stop going to the ball park and, more importantly, stop watching the games on TV to show their disgust with such a performance as Monday night's debacle.

Neither will probably happen and we fans are in for a frustrating season while the strike drags on.