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The situation would be different with veteran officials blowing the whistles and throwing the flags. We might rail on them for a day or two, but we’d move on, as usual. Officiating wouldn’t remain the all-consuming, overbearing and never-ending topic of discussion, drowning out every other NFL conversation.

Goodell’s arrogance is showing in his attempts to ignore the diatribes. Issuing a bevy of fines doesn’t help, either. Even if coaches and players stopped defying the edict against criticizing officials, the outcry from fans and media would remain deafening.

Arguing that the issue is overblown won’t lower the volume, unless Goodell pokes out our eyes as well.

It’s unbelievable that a multibillion-dollar organization as sharp and sophisticated as the image-conscious NFL is allowing its brand be shredded in the court of public opinion. The league might not view replacements as a problem, but that view is out-of-touch with perception, which can be more damaging than reality.

Surely this latest uproar will snap the NFL to its collective senses. No way this torrent of negativity is worth the few dollars being squabbled over with the officials’ union. When parties as disparate as lawmakers and the Lingerie League are piling on, the next step should be obvious: Get back to the negotiating table and reach a deal, now.

That’s the only way to end the mockery and change the subject.