Okay, so you are frustrated with the NFL officiating lockout. And you don't want to take part in my fantastic NFL Replacement Referee Fantasy League. (www.mercurynews.com/mark-purdy/ci_21628649) You seriously want to know what you can do to help get you through the rest of the season until the thing is settled. Here are my five pieces of advice:

1) BE PATIENT

I know. Easy to say. But if you think for one minute that even the worst officiating calls are going to make a difference in how fast the lockout issues are settled, you are deceiving yourself. This is all about the NFL owners wanting to make a statement that they are in charge. Some are angry that they gave referees a pension in the last negotiations in 2006. They want to take back the pension or reduce it instead of increasing it as the officials want. Salaries are probably the least big hangup. The NFL is a $9 billion business and the two sides in this dispute are about $25-$30 million apart over six or seven years of the next proposed contract. It's not much, in the big scheme.

2) WRITE THE COMMISSIONER


Advertisement

That said, it never hurts to let the honchos know how you feel. The address for Commissioner Roger Goodell at the NFL officies is 280 Park Ave., 15th Floor, New York, NY 10017.

3) SUGGEST THAT HE BLOWS UP THE CURRENT SYSTEM ENTIRELY AND BEGINS EXCLUSIVELY HIRING FULL-TIME CREWS

Admittedly, this is a personal pet peeve. But it's never made much sense to me that the NFL continues to employ part-timers for such a crucial job. When you do that, you reduce your job pool terrifically -- because the only people who can apply are the ones who can afford to take the time off from their "real" full-time jobs to do all the traveling and training required. That's why the bulk of NFL officials seem to be insurance salesmen or lawyers. The best potential referee in America might be some guy in Kansas who has a 9-to-5 job that includes weekend work and an employer who won't agree to time off for NFL work. Imagine if the only way you could be appointed to the Supreme Court was if you did it part-time. What sort of judges would you have? The NFL, as part of its current demands, is asking to hire one full-time crew but has not guaranteed it will 100 percent replace the salaries of those who give up their current jobs to work just for the league. Why not simply reboot the whole thing and negotiate a full slate of full-timers?

4) TURN OFF YOUR TV AND STAY HOME FROM LOCAL STADIUMS

Drastic, I know. But if you really want to send a message to the owners, this is the only way. As long as their product sees no dip in popularity -- and right now, the NFL is the most popular sports league in America -- there is no leverage for the owners to settle. Fans will complain loudly. But the way the owners see it, the fans also complained about the regular referees. However, if the Sunday Night Football ratings dipped by 40 percent . . . well, you'd see movement right now.

5) ORGANIZE A BOYCOTT OF NFL SPONSORS

Right. Like you're going to give up beer. But if you're that angry, you'll notice which companies use the NFL logo on their products and send them e-mails or letters saying you're going to stop being a customer until they force their business partner to get this stupid business settled immediately.