The lockout of the NFL’s regular officials is well known by now, as are the thoughts of many involved in the league regarding the performance of the replacement officials. Some have argued that it is going to lead to an increase in injuries due to poor officiating, while others have claimed blown calls could lead to teams being robbed of playoff spots.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant has chimed in with his two cents about what will happen in Week 1 of the NFL season with respect to the on-field performance of both players and officials. Avant first talked about Commissioner Roger Goodell’s focus on player safety and the fact that Avant feels the referee lockout completely contradicts the league’s stance. He went on to explain that players are going to look for any edge they can find and use it to their advantage. “And when you go into a game, you know what things you can get away with, with these refs that we have. Guys are going to like cheat this week.” To be fair, players know what they can get away with when the normal refs are in charge of the games.
The replacement officials have been much-maligned for their mistakes in the preseason and the first game of the regular season. There have certainly been some mistakes that likely would not have been made with the regular officiating crews, such as crediting time-outs to a team that isn’t playing. On the other hand, everyone complains about the regular officials, as well. The presence of replacements just gives their arguments additional validity, at least in their minds.
It’s clear that the NFL is better off with its normal crews calling games, but we have to deal with the replacement refs, at least for the time being. The alternative would be a delay to the season, and nobody wants that.