The NFL pre-season opened up in early August this year with replacement referees. The NFL promised that they would solve the lockout with the regular referees by the time the regular season started. With that in mind fans were not as worried when they saw a bad call in preseason games. However, now that the NFL has yet to solve the problem and the lockout is going to continue at least until week 5 of the regular season, fans, players, and coaches are realizing just how bad these replacements are.
Even the regular referees make mistakes on calls, but these guys are missing the easiest calls in the rule book. Rules such as: how many players can be on the field, how many timeouts a team can have, and the fact that you can’t challenge a play if you are already out of timeouts. Mistakes have also been made in how to spot the ball or enforcing penalties. This weekend the Titans were given an extra 12 yards on a penalty and the Redskins lost almost 30 yards on a 15 yard penalty.
With all of these mistakes, up until last night, they had not cost a team a game. With 9 seconds left the Seahawks had the ball down by less than a touchdown. The quarterback scrambles, and as time expires, he releases a 40 yard Hail Mary throw into the end zone. The Seahawks receiver did not get called for offensive pass interference before the ball was thrown, but the throw was also obviously intercepted by the Packers. The Seahawks receiver put his hand on the ball to make it look like he had caught the ball. The referees were obviously confused because two of them were standing next to each other in the end zone. They both signaled different things. The play was then reviewed as all scoring plays now have to be in the NFL. The more disappointing thing is that even with the help of the review, they still let the touchdown call stand. Ultimately, that poor call cost the Packers the game.
Although, as a Bears fan, the fact that the Packers technically lost last night helps the Bears. It feels weird to benefit from such a poor call. If the NFL does not get the regular referees back soon, I can’t help but believe this will be one of many games they decide on bad calls. In fact, this game would have been the second game that the referees decided already this year if Seahawks wide receiver, Braylon Edwards, had caught a Touchdown pass in the end zone in week 1.That play was the result of the referees’ ignorance that the Seahawks had gotten that play with the help of a fourth timeout. With all of these mistakes, it is almost becoming hard to watch football.
*By the time this article was published, the professional refs were back officiating games.