The NFL's Replacement Refs Debacle

By Jason Fryer


A number of NFL Fans, Players, and Coaches were terrified that if the replacement ref's were making all the big decisions on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday that eventually we'd have a number of problems and a team would be costed in the end. A number of people (including me) felt that both sides would eventually come to an agreement in the end and settle just before midnight struck.

It didn't happen.

So when Week 1 rolled around, fans around the NFL landscape were nervous and worried that these ref's would miss a number of significant calls, leading to complete chaos and second-guessing from the public. However, after the first weekend of Football, fans and players were surprised that the replacement referee's did an average job on the NFL's opening weekend.

So after an average first weekend, the NFL Public was anticipating another average outing. Once again… it didn't happen. During Week 2 of the 2012 NFL Season, the replacement ref's reassured football followers why the NFL needs to bring back their former referee's with a number of the calls made during that week.

In addition to making a number of questionable calls (as shown in this link), the replacement referees have made a number of additional pass interference calls during the first two weeks of the season. Since the start of the season, the replacement ref's have called 43 Pass-Interference penalties, while the regular referees on the other called an average of 24 Pass Interference calls over the past 3 years during the same amount of time. Not surprisingly, because of the additional Pass-Interference penalties being called, the scoring has been higher around the league.

The NFL's Replacement Refs Debacle
Sept. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; NFL referee Mike Shepherd (left) and field judge Henry Zaborniak during the first half of the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles at University of Phoenix Stadium. Photo Courtesy By Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE.

So do I see this coming to an end soon?

Unfortunately, no. Earlier in the week, the NFL came out with a report that said the NFL has already planned to use replacement ref's until at-least Week 5 of the NFL season. Because of this, I feel we won't see the regular officials unless the officials agree to something close to what the NFL is offering. As football fans, I feel there's still a chance that the usual ref's will return before the end of the season and the Playoff game and fortunately for all, if the original referees do decide to return, they won't have to get into "game shape" like a player would if they were missing their season.

The NFL attempted to make a point with the previous NFL referees but the current ref's are changing the game and forcing fans, players, and coaches to discuss the calls being missed on the field instead of the game itself. Being a NFL Referee is a challenging job and if the NFL wanted to avoid the bad PR (as currently being shown in the NHL…that article's on deck and also has me disgusted) they'd settle with the former ref's so everyone around the NFL could concentrate on the in-game strategies between the offense and defense and not the calls being made on the field 24/7.

I completely respect the current replacement referee's around the NFL as the majority of them have done as best a job as they can but in the end I don't want to be watching the Super Bowl thinking "what could of been" had the correct call been made.

Other NFL Referee Lockout Articles



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