Replacement Refs Unfairly Ripped

Sep 27, 2012 -- 12:36pm


Really, were the NFL’s replacement officials THAT bad?

I heard fans say the games became unwatchable. I heard TV network pundits call them “a catastrophe”. The integrity of the NFL was seriously questioned. Almost everyone, including players and coaches, talked about how they put the players’ health on the line.

All the whining and moaning came to a head Monday night when the Seahawks beat the Packers 14-12 on a game-ending “hail Mary” pass. I agree. It looked more like an interception than a catch, but, unlike almost everyone else, I didn’t think it was a slam dunk blown call.

I think the fans were brain washed by the media.

 In what was an unprecedented show of unity, the media harped about the replacement officials from the season’s opening kickoff. Every mistake was blown waaaay out of proportion. For the first ever time, nearly all the commentators for the NFL’s television partners blasted the NFL, especially Commissioner Roger Goodell. The louder the criticism by the national pundits, the more the local media joined in. I know no one likes to be accused of being brain washed, but the noise from the fans grew in direct proportion to the whining from the media.

 Did the media, particularly the former players gawking on network TV, have a hidden agenda? Was it about union brotherhood?

Listening to ESPN’s Steve Young and Trent Dilfer and FOX’s John Lynch, among many others, and so many of the players, you’d think the regular officials never made a mistake. You’d think they never made a questionable or bad call that impacted the outcome of the game. Of course they made bad calls. And will continue to make bad calls. Coaches and players have screamed forever about “getting robbed” by the refs.

The majority of the critics blamed the problem between the NFL and the game officials as greed on the part of the league. I don’t know all of the issues, but it wasn’t all about money. One sticking point was the officials didn’t want to be put in a position where if they did a lousy job they could be replaced during the season.  In other words, they didn’t want to be punished for being incompetent.

The numbers didn’t support the criticism of the replacement refs. And, how exactly was the health of the players put in jeopardy?

Absolutely, I’m glad to see the regular officials back at work. But the replacements weren’t nearly as bad as we were led to believe.

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