Replacement Refs – Football Nation

Preseason is a time for NFL teams to get their football legs back and prepare for the real deal.

The same goes for NFL officials, however this season they’re on a lockout.

The NFL is foremost a bussiness before anything else, we know this from last season when the players and owners were going through a similar process.

While the bigger headline might have recently been that there was the first ever woman official, another story was the mistakes these replacement refs have been riddled with in these recent preseason games.

Referee Craig Ochoa blew the Hall of Fame Game’s coin toss when he incorrectly announced to the crowd the team that won the toss.

One official repeatedly called the Alanta Falcons “Arizona”.

In Thursday night’s Washington-Buffalo game, preseason officials called a touchback on a punt that never went into the end zone. A false start was also called a “snap infraction” at this same game.

Head coach of Buffalo, Chan Gailey, had to use his challenge flag to rectify the mistake. The same crew missed an illegal hit by by a Washington cornerback slamming into a Buffalo receiver on a deep pass downfield.

An official at the Chicago-Denver game incorrectly spotted the ball by a large margin.

“I think it was a (expletive) call,” Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady said about one holding penalty. “This guy’s clearly a rookie. Terrible call. Please quote me.”

In the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh preseason game a replacement ref blew a call on a touchdown play, calling Mardy Gilyard out of bounds when it was clearly a touchdown. The decision was overturned thereafter.

The main concern is quality, consistency and safety with having replacement referees out on the field. The integrity of the game is being questioned. The media, players, and coaches have all expressed their concerns with the replacement referees.

Veteran NFL player and defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, Richard Seymour said, “I think the integrity of the game is at stake.”

“It’s just the unknown,” he says. “I’m not a fan of the replacements. Our regular refs, they work so hard to prepare themselves all throughout the year. They put in a ton of work to compete at the highest level. I want the best of the best.”

The pension plan seems to be what the hold up is between officials and the NFL as they try and reach a new contract agreement heading into the 2012 season.

For now we bear with the stand in refs and try to make it until the pros are back.


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