Last week I wrote a column entitled Do We Really Miss NFL Regular Refs? where I actually took the side of the NFL’s replacement officials because although they didn’t do a great job during the initial week of the 2012 season it also was terrible either. My how quickly things have changed. I am usually not one to wear or embrace thonged-footwear (flip-flop for those who couldn’t figured that one out) but after seeing the replacements in action during week two, someone please take me to a shoe store and point me in the direction of the isles that stores that kind of footwear. Yes I am doing a complete 180 with my stance on the matter and normally once I pick a side or stance I stand firmer than a one of the Queen’s Guards in England or 100-yard old oak, but not this time I just can’t on this one.
Did you see the ghastly amount of calls that were made last week? How about the abundance of no calls that weren’t made? This is a problem because the final decision in any game should never be taken out of the players hands but there were a couple of instances last week where this happened. The Baltimore Ravens/Philadelphia Eagles game is a prime example where the refs decided the final outcome and not the players. In that game not only did the replacement refs call an offensive pass interference on what could have been the game winning score for Baltimore (by the way there was never any flag thrown, just a penalty signal made by the official) but then the refs followed that up with ruling Michael Vick‘s obvious fumble inside the five-yard line an incomplete pass which allowed them to maintain possession and eventually win the game.
To make matters even worse how about that Denver Broncos/Atlanta Falcons fiasco of a game? My ten-year old son and his buddies could have done a better job of officiating that game than that crew of refs did! That game was by far the ugliest game I’ve seen in a while and that’s after you omit Peyton Manning‘s three first quarter interceptions. The low-light (yes I said low-light) of the game was when it took the referees more ten minutes to sort out who had the ball and to restrain the players from attacking one another during the down-time.
How about the referee who was pulled from the New Orleans Saints/Carolina Panthers match up prior to the game beginning due to his Facebook page showing his love as a Saints fan. Or what about going back to the Philly/Baltimore game one of the refs telling LeSean McCoy that he was on his fantasy team, no I’m serious he really did tell Shaddy that according to an interview McCoy had yesterday on Philadelphia’s SportsRadio 94 WIP. “I’ll be honest, they’re like fans…one of the refs was talking to me about his fantasy team, like ‘C’Mon McCoy I need you for my fantasy team’ ahh what?!”
Hall-of-Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young made and excellent point following the telecast of Monday Night Football which was that the NFL isn’t really feeling any pressure to bring the regular officials back because they have an “inelastic product” so fans are going to watch and support the NFL no matter who’s officiating the games. It’s truly a shame that not only do those that watch and follow the NFL have to be subjected to this but more importantly the players because they are the ones who are risking injury on the field to win and can’t even have the best possible guys out there overseeing that everything runs as smoothly as it can.
The pass interference count is now up to 43 over the first two weeks of the season which is 13 more than last season at this point (30), 19 more than play through week two in 2010 (24) and 25 more than it was after two weeks in 2009 (18). It seems to me in every game I watch that they call unnecessary pass interference calls but miss other penalties that should be called like blatant holding and false start calls. Another penalty that these non-official officials are too happy with are late hit calls, it seems as if a player blows breath in the direction after the whistle then you’ll see a yellow flag come flying.
Maybe we should miss the regular refs. Maybe that’s what Roger Goodell is waiting for before he goes back to the bargaining table with them, who knows. One things is for sure I like Deangelo Hall‘s idea of having players put up some money to bridge the gap $45 million gap that currently separates the league and it’s official officials. Note to the regular referees, we need you out there because there is no telling what is going to take place during next week’s action. Stay tuned!