The Flipside to the Replacement Referee Debacle

By Tina Musial
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers seems to be the icing on the cake for the officiating this season. Bad calls, missed calls, miscommunication between refs, overturning calls that were actually right and a blown call to end the game in controversy. This game had a bit of everything to make it a full out disaster for the replacement refs.

The NFL should be horrified and work in double time to resolve this issue with the replacement officials to prevent this from happening next week. The controversy surrounding the replacement refs is overshadowing great plays, great catches and making for a wild three weeks to the regular season.

What is causing this to seem like such a wild season?

Scrutiny. Even though I can’t say the replacement refs are doing a stellar job, let’s look at the flip side to what they are dealing with. These refs are being scrutinized probably ten times more than what the regular officials would be in any game right now. Are all the little errors being caught since so many people are paying attention to what the refs are doing each and every game? Is each error being written and talked about just to further the whole controversy?

Fans, players and coaches took for granted the refs and the job that they did each week in previous years. Were their actions just accepted because there wasn’t the whole controversy swirling around, therefore there was no reason to pay such close attention to each call? Did bad calls slip through the cracks last year simply because they were the regular refs and it was just accepted and not questioned?

These replacement refs are being scrutinized more so than regular refs were because of media attention, because the fans want a reason to scream foul and players want to speed up the process to get regular refs back in to the game.

Attention. I’m sure there were bad calls in games played last year and every year before that. I’m sure coaches had complaints last year about games. Are there really that many more bad calls this year over previous years or is the media adding to the hype and emphasizing them to garner attention because this is such a lightning rod hot topic? The media knows what gets ratings and attention and this topic has certainly climbed to the very top of the list by football fans. Everyone knows ratings equals money.

Money. The ad dollars are still rolling in for the NFL, so they aren’t feeling any pinch to hurry up and resolve this problem. They could take some of those dollars and pay the regular refs so they could have their pension plan. Can’t the owners who make millions and billions of dollars share just a few thousands of dollars in order to keep the employees happy, the players happy and most importantly, the fans who pay for a majority of their player salaries happy?

The replacement officials aren’t solely to blame for this mess. Owners aren’t compromising, players are taking advantage of the situation and the NFL is shrugging all the way to the bank. How is it fixed fast?

No matter what the answers are, the NFL needs to get a clamp on the situation like yesterday. The integrity of the game is now being affected and the results could be detrimental. There are players doing things that the refs aren’t catching or flagging and when they are questioned in post game interviews, they are denying it and playing stupid. These players are all smart, highly paid athletes who realize if the refs might give them an inch, they are going to go for a mile. The game will get dirty, the roughing in the backfield will get worse, injuries will increase and fan disgust will be at an all time high. That isn’t something fans of the game want to see – ever.

Figure out the replacement ref situation ASAP so the regular refs can get back in the game by week five and everyone can get back to enjoying Sunday afternoons and Monday nights like normal.

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