Why the NFL's Replacement Refs Are Awful

By Kevin Goodwin

So we are three weeks into the football season and there is no end in the referee lockout in sight. This nonsense needs to end and it starts and stops with Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commish has gotten a big head the past two years and it is affecting the product on the field. Goodell wants his hand in everything and was the judge, jury and executioner in the New Orleans bounty scandal. After it is all said and done, the commissioner saw his ruling overturned and the players’ suspensions taken away. That must have been a big hit to his ego. Now he’s standing firm on his stance with the refs and we may have to deal with these replacements for the entire season, or at least a few more weeks.

You would have thought Goodell would have learned his lesson from the lockout with the players last season and gotten this issue resolved over the summer so the referees were primed for the preseason. Instead the replacement refs are jogging up and down the field trying to realize if they should blow their whistle or not. The regular officials have been doing this for years and the replacement refs just aren’t cutting it. There have been more pass inference calls the first two weeks of the season and plenty of missed calls. I know I’ve said it before, but refs will make some mistakes. They are human and we aren’t perfect. But the replacements just don’t seem to have the confidence in the calls as the regular officials have.

These replacements do have experience, don’t get me wrong. Some have been recruited from Division III football and some officiated in the Lingerie Football League. I’m sure the game flow is much different in the NFL than in the LFL. If you are sure just check this out. These replacements might be qualified to be NFL refs, but just don’t have the experience. Believe it or not there are certain credentials needed to be an official. The true officials have a ton of experience and probably go through training each offseason to keep up to date on any rule changes. Plus refs have to be in great shape to keep up with the play on the field to make sure they can make the right call.

Why the NFL's Replacement Refs Are Awful?
Despite Roger Goodell’s outlook that everything is fine in the league, players, fans and owners may think differently.

It seems some basic calls are being missed and the head referees at games aren’t making calls with confidence. Fans aren’t dumb and are realizing this, so even if they are making the correct call it doesn’t feel that way. Even if the call is correct, if the ref screws up the wording it won’t sound right, hence fans heckling them and wondering if the right call was made.

The NFL doesn’t have full-time refs like other professional sports. Many of the regular officials have other professions, such as lawyers like our dear friend Ed Hoculi. They may not need the money but I’m sure it helps pays the bills. Hoculi and the other officials love the game and do a dam good job come game day. Fans will continue to complain about a missed call here and there, but we are fickle. We are never happy, sometimes even if our favorite team wins. There is no pleasing us, but the replacement refs are just giving everyone more fuel for the fire to complain about.

Why the NFL's Replacement Refs Are Awful
Some players, owners and fans have had it up to here with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s antics.

One thing that is being overlooked in this stalemate between commissioner Goodell and the officials is player’s safety. No one wants to see someone get injured and we already saw a big hit by receiver Golden Tate not get called last weekend. Tate was later fined by the league, but if it had been called in the game the final outcome of the game could have been different. The league is stressing player’s safety and if anything awful happens during the replacement refs’ era the media won’t let Goodell live it down.

Owners should push Goodell to reach an agreement with the officials before anything happens to one of the players. I’m a bit shocked they weren’t more vocal prior to the season began. They may not play the game, but owners have a lot at stake and are taking a big gamble with these replacement refs. The bottom line is that this lockout needs to end and the regular officials have to return to work as soon as possible. For this to happen though, both sides have to resume talks. So once again, I’ll plead to the commish. Sit down with the officials and get them back on the field. As good as you have been at your job, you Mr. Goodell are looking more and more like a tyrant or dictator. This isn’t Burger King where you always get it your way. Be reasonable. Be responsible. Be the commissioner of the NFL and get this deal done.

Other NFL Referee Lockout Articles

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The Refs are horrible to the point Im losing interest in watching 
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