We've had plenty to say about the NFL's replacement officials over the past month. We've warned about the difference between questionable judgment calls and the not knowing the rules. We've noted that the league appears to have won the PR battle as a large swath of fans appear unmoved by the drop in competency. But I thought ESPN analyst Steve Young put it better than anyone after Monday night's game in Atlanta.
The NFL is "inelastic for demand," Young said, meaning that nothing -- including poor officiating -- can deter a significant percentage of fans and corporate sponsors away from the most popular game in the country. It's the primary reason the NFL has held steady in its labor impasse with regular officials: There is no sign that enough of the sporting public cares to make it a priority.
"There is nothing they can do to hurt the demand of the game," Young said in the video. "So the bottom line is they don't care. Player safety doesn't matter in this case. Bring Division III officials? Doesn't matter. Because in the end you're still going to watch the game."
To be clear, the NFL isn't solely to blame here. This is a labor impasse, and it takes two sides to tango. The NFL has failed, however, to advance a credible contingency plan. And to Young's point, the league hasn't provided any indication that it cares.