Bumped up against the week’s wide­spread out­rage over football’s replace­ment ref­erees, warm remem­brances of the great NFL myth-​​maker Steve Sabol, who died Tuesday, didn’t stand a chance.

Tem­porarily, at least, reac­tion to the zebra lockout has thor­oughly over­whelmed the league’s pre­ferred image of itself, so beau­ti­fully crafted in Sabol’s lyrical, heroic NFL Films depictions.

Try putting NFL Films’ stir­ring orches­tral scores to scenes of everyone — fans, com­men­ta­tors, coaches, players, gam­bling experts, labor law author­i­ties — piling on the NFL’s deci­sion to stick with sub­sti­tute offi­cials into the season’s third weekend.

There are pre­dic­tions of skewed game results. Panic over pos­sible player injury. Even darker concerns.“There cer­tainly can be an impact on the [bet­ting] line,” said North­eastern Uni­ver­sity law pro­fessor Roger Abrams, who has written exten­sively on sports and labor law. A team that’s par­tic­u­larly rough and tough, and doesn’t mind beating up on the ref­eree as well as the other team, may do better.”

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