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NFL replacement refs can't win

NFLREF091712_opt1BY GINA G. SCALA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY

As a lifelong football fan, I learned long ago there’s going to be calls I don’t like and times I’d give nothing more than to shove my eye glasses in the refs face and scream “get your eyes checked” at the top of my lungs.

For the diehard fan (you know the people that refer to their favorite team as “we” and whose mood can be dictated by victory or defeat), part of the football experience is playing Monday morning quarterback; complaining about bad calls and how it sometimes seems the ref/commentators (yes, Chris Collinsworth I am talking about you) favors a certain player or team.

That being said; two weeks into the latest National Football League season there isn’t a fan around at a loss for words to complain about the play calling and in a lot of instances, the lack of play calling.

Whether they want to admit it, even the league bigwigs are aware of the problems; why else would they issue a memo warning coaches about bullying replacement refs? As a fellow human being, I give the replacement refs a lot of credit for stepping up and, for the most part, taking the crazy fans at face value. But, and this is a big but, as a football fan don’t cross me and make a decision that’s going to cost my team a victory; they can do that on their own (better than most teams, sometimes. GO BIG BLUE).

Instead of sitting back today reflecting on the Giants come from behind victory against former Rutgers University football coach Greg Schiano’s Tampa Bay Bucs, I find myself seeking all the info I can get on the plethora of bad, dumb and game-changing calls (some that impact my Giants; no less).

Here’s a look back (and remember it is only week two):

1. Replacement side judge Brian Stropolo was replaced with alternate Tim Keese hours before the New Orleans Saints took on the Carolina Panthers after ESPN informed the league Stropolo was a Saints fan. Stropolo, who had photos of himself in Saints gear on his Facebook page, was part of the replacement refs calling the opening game between the Super Bowl Champs and the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants lost that game.

2. In Steelers country, the replacement refs called pass interference against the home team, but several violent hits weren’t called.

3. The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles game ran amok almost from the beginning with countless official conferences and replays. It was, as one Philadelphia-area columnist put it “a long, dirty game.” The Eagles won. They are 2-0, while the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys are in a three-way tie with a 1-1 record.

"No man with a brain could witness what took place at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday afternoon and come to the conclusion that 'the replacements' did anything close to a credible job. They were, in fact, embarrassingly bad in a variety of ways and if Goodell allows the folly to continue deep into the season he will be eroding his own shaky credibility," Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote.

4. On Monday, the first quarter of the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos game took an hour to complete, laregely thanks to the incapability of the refs to keep the game moving. At one point, the refs took too long to break up a pileup. A fight between the players ensued with Broncos coach John Fox out on the field and in the face of a Falcons player.

In June, the NFL Referees Association was locked out and talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have gone nowhere.

"I'm officially over it. I know it just began, but it's time for it to end and you all know what I'm talking about. I don't really care what the issues are or which side has the more legitimate argument, the NFL needs the real referees back on the field,” Fox’s Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former head of officials, said.

 

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