Replacement Refs NO MORE???: Week 3 Of The NFL And The Entire League Has Reached Its Breaking Point.

After week 1, I had been a part of a few arguments about the replacement referees.  I was slightly defending them, not because they were good, but because no matter what caliber of referee that seems to be on the field, they always manage to blow calls.  Sure, not many of said calls used to be over the amount of timeouts a team has or where to spot the ball after penalties or plays in general, but they’re still bad.  The reference I’ve been using lately was last year, with the official referee core making the calls, Steelers vs Miami, in Miami.  If you don’t recall the game, the Steelers beat Miami by being given a touchdown that about 99% of the football knowledgeable world would have called a fumble.  The video is below to refresh your memory.

That was a pretty big foul up, even after they rewatched everything from multiple angles when the call was challenged.  So my initial thoughts were, “if nobody knew these refs were replacement refs, they probably wouldn’t be complaining about them nearly as much”.  I figured this was probably more like the placebo effect than anything.  The emphasis being that the fans know the refs are “replacements”, which immediately gives them a negative connotation.  It makes the refs sound like they’re not as good as the original refs and because of that, the fans were going to pick them apart worse than if we didn’t know at all.

Well… that theory fell apart pretty quickly, because the bad calls have piled up so high in just 3 weeks, there’s no way the average viewer wouldn’t notice.

Feel free to add anything that I’ve missed, but here’s the run down of bad/blown calls that I can recall from week 3 alone:

– Lardarius Webb of the Ravens, instead of being awarded an interception, was called on illegal contact, which wasn’t possible at that point on the field, where holding was probably the only possible call to make, given holding had taken place.  Surprisingly enough, Baltimore didn’t seem to care much…

They still won over the Patriots, even though the final field goal was a little suspect itself.  In fairness, how many field goal calls do you have to judge where the ball flew directly over the the upright?

– Seahawks get an extra timeout.  It’s all good though because the ref owned up to it after the game. *womp womp*

-During the Steelers vs Ravens game, Darrius Heyward-Bey got popped pretty solidly, helmet-to-helmet, by Ryan Mundy.  There was no flag on the play there or during the final drive of the game when again, Mundy popped Brandon Meyers.  Meyers was immediately diagnosed with a concussion pretty much as soon as he was off the field.  Both calls blown and both with incorrect reasoning.  Mundy was fined $21,000 later on.

– With the Red Skins down by a touchdown and inside their offensive 20, a sack put Washington 3rd and 25.  On that down, Fred Davis was flagged for a false start.  Refs called for a 10 second runoff that ends the game. Shanahan had it out with the refs, getting a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct and time back on the clock. The 2 penalties totaled 20 yards but the spotting ended up being 25 yards back instead, which of course started more arguing.  After the loss is clinched by the Red Skins, Shanahan chased after the refs into the tunnels to give them flowers… and by flowers I mean excessive, colorful language.

– One of the most ridiculous things that happened is when Kevin Ogletree slipped on a hat that the ref actually threw on the field.  This usually signifies that the receiver is intelligible or has stepped out of bounds.  It’s not usually common practice to throw the hat into the route the receiver is running.  Luckily Ogletree wasn’t hurt at all… just went down like a cartoon slipping on a banana peel.

– Without going into ridiculous amounts of detail, the refs had five calls reversed via official review during the Chiefs win over the Saints.

– Then there’s the most recent Monday Night Football debacle, where Packers safety  M.D. Jennings intercepted an endzone pass as time expired in the game.  While intercepting the pass, Golden Tate from the Seahawks, catches Jennings, maintaining full possession of Jennings all the way to the turf.  Having never actually caught the ball without a human being between them, Tate wrestles the ball loose after both players were on the turf and the refs rule it a touchdown.  Even with the ruling on the field, the clear replays show that Tate never caught the ball and yet the refs still ruled it a touchdown, causing Green Bay to lose the game, 14-12 to Seattle.


That’s a pretty healthy chunk of ridiculousness in one week alone, let alone everything else that has happened in all three weeks combined.  With looming threats of players going on strike or kneeling every play of the upcoming games, it’s clear this pot is boiling over.  As if that wasn’t enough, fan reaction from everywhere is almost non-stop on this topic.  Even President Obama felt it necessary to tweet about the refs and how badly he wants to see the real ones return.  The NFL is under fire in a big way and has to be feeling the pressure on all sides.

Rumors are circling that a deal is close and we could be seeing the real refs back on the field as early as this coming weekend.  We’ll believe it when we see it.