I'm no sports geek. I watch the Vikes on TV, I like seeing the games. I even own a couple of Vikings shirts that I wear for good luck on Sundays. But I'm no raging fan that paints their face and drives a purple hand-painted school bus. I'm not even a rabid enough fan to stop everything for a Monday Night Football game... and I just found out last year there are games on Sunday night. But even I can tell, the replacement refs suck. Case in point last night. I just happened to turn over to the game between the Pack and the Seahawks just moments before the officials' screwed up TD call. Absolutely absurd.

[ Animated GIF used with permission of BigLeadSports.com ]

Earlier in the day I was listening to a couple of NFL nerds talk about why the lockout is lasting as long as it has. According to these two guys (who clearly knew what they were talking about, because they kept using the names of agents and refs and NFL owners like they were neighbors), the NFL owners want to be perceived as 'tough' and 'stubborn' in this dispute. Even though this dispute is more about pensions versus a 401k (REALLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?), if the owners look like they're giving in to a mere Ref's demands, what's to stop the high and mighty NFL player from stealing from their meager earnings (9.5 BILLION $$ industry?) with demands of their own?

So that's the rub. The owners are using the refs as pawns in their sickening greed-grabbing player negotiations. So what the players need to do is show some solidarity with the refs. Not only are we being affected by the replacement refs with elongated games and immensely frustrating bad calls, but the players are being affected as well. One bad call, no play-off berth, no Super Bowl, no big endorsement deal. The players need to launch some sort of stand or protest that will create some sort of disruption that the owners just can't ignore.

Here's how: The players can control any NFL game right from the start with the coin toss. The Captains of each team need to stand together in every Sunday NFL game this weekend and refuse to call the toss. Imagine if you will, the coin in the air, spinning madly in it's insignificant tumble... it's inevitable journey down to the field, where it rests... uncalled. Indifferent to whether the visiting team has claimed a heads or tails. If no one calls the coin toss, the game cannot begin. The kick-off team cannot be determined. The game grinds to a screeching halt.

Game announcers, befuddled, pontificate as to the strange turn of events. TV Directors panic; "Do we cut to commercials? Or stay on target in case they exclaim that this is all one big inside joke?", they think to themselves. Owners begin to scream at coaches through phones and headsets all across the nation. Imagine the fear it would strike in the hearts of TV Network execs as they consider the possibility of this happening in games scheduled later. Local networks complaining that local news is being delayed even later.

The players have the power to bring the game to an indefinite halt with a national audience, with national press ready to tweet the results globally. Yes, it would severely tick off the fans who paid to see a game. Now I'm not saying stop the game for good. I would think a good ten minutes would be enough to get the point across, but with it an after-game warning should come from a coalition of players:  If the dispute is not settled by next Sunday, another delay... with an additional ten minutes tacked on.

Maybe then the disgusting money-grubbing owners will snap out of their holier-than-thou chess game.

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