Posted September 17, 2012

Replacement refs in over their heads on ‘Monday Night Football’

Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos
Replacement referees

Questionable calls by replacement referees led to an ugly first-half scuffle. (Daniel Shirley/US Presswire)

The NFL’s replacement refs have come under increased fire in Week 2, and Monday night’s Denver-Atlanta game won’t do anything to turn down the heat.

The first half was a comedy of errors, starting with a pair of reversed calls — officials initially gave Michael Turner a touchdown on a 2nd-and-goal, then changed the decision after review; and later, John Fox successfully challenged a pass interference call because one of his defenders had tipped Matt Ryan’s pass before contact occurred. Late in the first half, Demaryius Thomas caught a pass and was ruled by the refs to be out of bounds, with the automatic booth review saving the day and ruling Thomas’ catch a good touchdown. And earlier on that drive, the officials marked off 11 yards after calling a five-yard defensive holding penalty on Atlanta with the Broncos facing 4th-and-1.

But the real officiating travesty took place late in the first quarter, when Denver’s Knowshon Moreno coughed up a fumble. After both teams scrambled for the loose ball on the ground, one of the Broncos player came away from the pile with it. Only the officials already had signaled an Atlanta recovery, which stood.

While that was going on, the two teams engaged in a brief scuffle near the Denver sideline. During that tiff, Atlanta’s Ray Edwards appeared to throw multiple punches — what should be an automatic ejection. The officials flagged Edwards 15 yards but allowed him to stay in the game (the penalty was announced as a call on “93, red”).

By the time all of that was sorted out, the game had been delayed for nearly 10 minutes.

Here’s a sample of how the Twitter world reacted to Monday’s debacle:

ESPN game announcers Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden did not hold back during the first half, either, with Tirico commenting several times on the questionable officiating and Gruden mentioning how hard the game was to watch with the constant stoppages.

And former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira, now an analyst for FOX, simply threw up his hands in exasperation:

99 comments
done1226
done1226

Rogers sacked 8 times in first half really.It looks like the refs weren't the only ones missing plays.

nmpapaskip
nmpapaskip

If your games are being ruined by the officiating, make some calls. Call the NFL, your Fox, CBS and NBC stations. I have had enough of the delays and the breaks stopping momentum when teams are driving for scores. I have made the calls to show my disgust. The answers may interest you when you receive them. How can this be called Professional football with Refs in training calling the games. Should be Unproffesional Football and the NFL should stand for the National Follies League. The replacements are doing the best they can but seriously is this what the networks pay the big bucks for or what we as consumers will accept week in and week out? Whether it is the teams and players taking advantage, an ill conceived NFL plan or lack of training for Zebras we are getting an inferior product.

MichaelMacIsaac
MichaelMacIsaac

Get off your high horses. The coaches and players are equally as guilty for taking advantage of the situation wherever possible. Yes, the referees should be more firm in their decisions, but that's it. All of this conversation is probably coming from folks who have never faced the pressure these individuals are under. They're doing a just fine job, and within a year, would be just as capable as any referee in town. So sick of hearing outcomes blamed on replacement refs, as if the regular refs were infallible.

RuKdingMe
RuKdingMe

Guaranteed, 2 weeks after the real refs are back, the next stories and comments will be, "geez, look at all the bad calls, let's get some of those replacements back"!

RuKdingMe
RuKdingMe

There have been missed calls, but there have also been some good calls - like the Brandon Lloyd sideline catch where he barely scraped the ground with his feet - that I'm not sure the real refs would been correct on.  "93, Red" should have been ejected, though, and Fox/DelRio should have been flagged, all of which would have shown the refs to be more in control and would have prevented some of the silliness.

 

wicked75
wicked75

just about every game i have ever watched since i was 8 has had 2 or 3 bad calls from refs. honestly don't care if they make a mistake or two. 9 times out of ten the call will ultimately get reversed if it was a bad call. i don't like the coaches and players arguing with them, to tell you the truth. they are out their whining like little babies every time something goes against them. omg. how dare you miss that split second call where even in replay the tipped ball came almost simultaneously with the defensive player putting the receiver in a bear hug. he was lucky the ball was tipped.

My
My

News flash "Questionable calls by replacement referees led to an ugly first-half scuffle.".. So we had no scuffle  before.. Stop the BS people..None of us get pension even when we work fulltime.. I am with the league on this.. Cannot believe I am saying this but a fact.. Pension plans killed our competitiveness with low cost countries. 

My
My

Solution for next week would be for Goodell to send a memo to the teams that anyone expressing disrespect to the refs would be flagged with no hesitation.. Game will end in 2 hours..I am sure..

My
My

The game was slow. I will give you that. But the refs made the same mistake that the regulars usually make. I am a diehard Bronco fan from Denver. I think media is crying becoz their darling Manning lost.. I wonder if we would have the same reaction from the self styled "Pundits who never stepped on to an NFL field to play " if my team had won.. 

My
My

Are the refs really bad or the media is just upset that their darling Manning lost?

Tim4
Tim4

What the NFL needs is a true minor league. Not practice squads, not the CFL or the AFL, but a real league that plays by exactly the same rules, but only has players who didn't make the cut for the major league teams.

 

In that league, therefore, referees who don't make the NFL cut can practice their trade too, learning how so that they can be considered for the next vacancy in the NFL. But the NFL and this minor league - call it the NFL B League - would agree that refs in the minors are in a different union than refs in the majors.  What this accomplishes is to have refs available who don't need much training if an NFL ref gets sick or injured, if one retires, or if there's a contract dispute. Yes, your B-League refs will not be as good as the main league refs, but they'd have been working in the same rules set at the very least.

jweller3
jweller3

Every writer and sportscaster is jumping on the bandwagon.  The regular refs were really no better.  Every little thing that happens on the field is being over-shrutinized just to have something to tallk about.  The coaches and players are all trying to use the situation to intimidate the refs.  Just shut up and play ball. 

MichaelStephens
MichaelStephens

The regular refs get a free pass on their weekly "blown calls" even when they go "under the hood" and still make the wrong call.    These refs are just as good (or bad) as the strikers.

BuddyHolly
BuddyHolly

Shouldn't the coaches take some of the responsibility of controlling the players also?  Bench them for a few plays and see if that makes a difference.

Chris8
Chris8

Why all the hate towards the refs.  They're trying, and it's obvious they're in way over their heads.  But the fault lies with the league.  Because of their poor structure and planning there wasn't anything in place to replaces the regulars refs so they scrambled to find anyone they could, and these are the ones they found.

 

No doubt the refs have been messing up, but that's because football is a hard game to officiate, and it sure as hell doesn't help that all the different levels of the game have various rules and lack consistency.  The players, coaches, and fans sure aren't making their jobs any easier either.

 

Be angry if you like, but why not direct the problem at the people responsible: The league suits. 

vince2
vince2

I think a lot of the criticism is nonsense - the reason replay is part of the system is because of all the important calls blown by the regular officials - but the officiating has become horrendous in too many games.  Those guys last night looked scared to death.  They make stupid calls, they make inconsistent calls, every time something happens the ref runs back and forth between the coaches to explain themselves.  It is unbearable to watch. So I turned it off.

FrankBond
FrankBond

As a fan, I'm often baffled when players make stupid plays based on rules that apply to every level of the game. The live ball/dead ball status of a punt...the onside kick and when IT can be touched, etc. are rules that apply from Pop Warner to the NFL. When a pro player screws that up, I'm wondering why he didn't learn that in JV...or high school varsity...or college. So these replacement refs, where did they COME FROM? While lower divisions of the college game may not be as fast or as quick as the NFL, what is missing is a thorough understanding the basic rules of the game. Is it simply a temperament issue? Not ready for prime time? It doesn't matter. At this point, the NFL cannot say that it is concerned with player safety and yet allow  this poor caliber of officiating to continue. It's only a matter of time before some catastrophe takes place.

stahmosh
stahmosh

There's way too much negativity concerning the replacement refs.  I think I remember once a call by a "real" ref being overturned.  I'm particularly surprised by the action of the coaches, who "are" the NFL, and of the Broadcasters (Steve Young), who "present" the NFL.  While I don't expect sugar coating, I do expect them not to harp on each and every "mistake" as if there was never a mistake made by the "real" refs.

By the way, I think Steve Young said it was only $2million (to settle), but I didn't see him reaching for his wallet at the time.

mudd901
mudd901

The problem with the Replacement Refs is not that they make bad calls, it's that they looked confused and have poor communication. Every single time a fumble recovery happens and there is a pile of bodies on top of it, I am amazed that anyone can make a determination of who has the ball. But what I have noticed more often than not is that these Refs have absolutely no control of the game. It's bad enough the players have no respect for them but it is even worse that the Refs do not establish control in these games early. Think about that fumble, players started to fight and come off of benches, a flag was thrown but there was only one penalty called even though the Ref got bumped by the player who got penalized didn't get thrown out of the game and no Bronco got penalized. Clearly both players where engaging each other but only one penalty was called. The same issues happened in the Skins/Rams game, Giants/Bucs and Eagles/Ravens, no control, no offsetting penalties, nothing.

diane
diane

I don't know who is worst - the replacement refs or the replacement sports announcers? Oh, the announcers are the same? The ones who look at a replay and get it wrong over half of the time? The same announcers that attack the regular NFL refs any chance they get?  That's why we mute our TV and advertisers are screwed. There are 22 players on the field at all times. The number of combinations and permutations of player interaction over time and the rules over a play that lasts 10 seconds is astronomical, maybe 10,000,000,000,000,000! What do you expect of humans? Then consider, that 80% of the infractions are players violating the rules! Blame the refs for missing one in a billion is kind of stupid. Maybe players should be ejected for pass interference! unsportsmanlike conduct. Let's help the refs by eliminating the players who are screwing up the game. Then there are the sports announcers and analysts who typically predict winners and losers at a 50% rate. Hire a monkey to replace these idiots.

Whatever
Whatever

The real problem seems to be that the officials are so worried about getting every  call correct that they aren't controlling the game. They are second-guessing themselves all the time, and instead of making a call they call a conference. Some of the calls are understandable:  the two Atlanta touchdowns which were called incorrectly were very difficult, particularly the Demaryius Thomas TD catch. However, not taking charge during the fumble and not ejecting the Denver player was ridiculous. That's basic stuff.

Thomas12
Thomas12

I'm a referee however I don't work the NFL.  When I watch a game I watch the officials more than the game so that I can learn things from them such as mechanics, techniques to dealing with coaches, game administration etc.  Watching last night really was an embarrassment to my avocation.  The crew did not communicate effectively with each other, did not manage the actions of players and coaches during dead ball periods, did not communicate with each other on proper penalty administration, did not remain consistent in what was and was not considered a foul.  It appeared to me as though this crew had never worked together before and each member was not part of the overall team.  Before every game my crew spends about 2 hours discussing all of the responsibilities for each crew member, mechanics, positioning, administration, and game management.  This crew did not appear to have had a proper pre-game.  I can understand the call on the TD pass near the end of the first half.  This was a very difficult call to make.  Beyond that there isn't much in the way of excuses.  

BillHenderson
BillHenderson

I could watch the game, but couldn't listen to the announcers...Yea, they're replacement refs...we get it...just call the game.

 

And why was it the ref's fault that Fox can't count to 12? The refs called it right and yet the announcers acted like it was their fault Denver screwed up.

JDR
JDR

Have the replacement refs cost any team the game yet?  NO. 

NewtonFig
NewtonFig

all refs make as many mistakes on any given weekend.  what hogwash

jweller3
jweller3

 @nmpapaskip

 My game watching isn't being ruined by the refs.....it's being ruined by the constant nagging by the announcers.....

cohlinger
cohlinger

 @MichaelMacIsaac Did you even watch the MNF game?  If that is what you would consider acceptable refereeing you are honestly not paying attention.  Are "regular" referees infallible? Certainly not; but the replacements are a huge step down.  I quit watching the game at halftime because it was such a poor product 

snapjack
snapjack

 @MichaelMacIsaac What is weird is you haven't given us a reason why we should stick with obviously inferior refs. This is the NFL not some lingerie league. Why should we give them a year!! Another thing, players and coaches have always tried to take advantage of whatever situation.

What's wrong with bringing back the refs we had the last ten years? 

Talk about someone needing to get off their high horse indeed.

LeightonH
LeightonH

 @wicked75 It isn't the fact that they are missing calls. It is the calls they are missing. They are missing big calls while calling tick tacky penalties. I can think of one such play in the Dallas-Seattle game that demonstrated BOTH such errors, on the same play. Golden Tate cut back and blind sided Sean Lee, helmet to helmet(which bloodied Lee), yet they called a foul on a Dallas defender for a weak little shove on the ball carrier, shoving him out of bounds. The ball carrier was still in bounds when the "shove" occurred, yet they flagged Dallas for a late hit, and let the hit on Sean Lee ride. This was pathetic. The Denver game was even more pathetic. That was the worse officiating I have ever seen. Nobody expects perfection, but I could have called a better game than that crew....

FrissellHill
FrissellHill

@FrankBond The stage is immeasurably more significant than any other for starters. The speed of the game, 60-80k people, cameras, and need to make quick decisions for three to four hours non-stop is stressful. I don't care how good you are at your job; if you suddenly had to do it with thirty million people watching you it may cause some problems.

mudd901
mudd901

 @stahmosh They still need to control the games, the pushing and shoving are getting way out of hand and the Refs aren't doing anything.

lnkevin09
lnkevin09

 @diane What do you expect of humans?.....

We expect humans who don't know football should NOT be football refs. Get it???

snapjack
snapjack

 @diane I'd say your response is even worse than that of which you complain.

My
My

 @BillHenderson Well said.. One of the two announcers jumped on the refs with a one word remark as soon as Fox threw the challenge.. Give me a break..Looks as if a payment had been made to some of these media guys from the Refs on strike..

Vid
Vid

 @BillHenderson The problem is, especially last night, the refs became the game.

 

Replacement refs will make more mistakes than the regular crews, we get that... but they need to keep it at an acceptable level and to stay out of the game pace.

lnkevin09
lnkevin09

 @JDR Have you watched any footballs lately or just made a stupid wild guess??

finkelmana
finkelmana

 @JDR Yes.  Had the unsportsmanlike conduct been called on both players on the Resdkins/Rams game, the penalties would have offset and the Redskins might have tied the game.

 

FloydMacGillicutty
FloydMacGillicutty

 @JDR What a dum8 thing to say.  In a 27-21 game, you have the brass to ask that?  Each play does not happen in a vacuum.

BoardPoster
BoardPoster

 @JDR By giving the Falcons the ball when Moreno fumbled and the Broncos came up with the ball, maybe

lnkevin09
lnkevin09

 @NewtonFig drink and drive all you want; NO worry! accident happens every day!

FrissellHill
FrissellHill

They are not on strike. They are locked out by their employers.

BillHenderson
BillHenderson

 @Vid Agreed, but here is my point, if no one knew they were replacement refs ... how many people (fans) would notice? ;-)

 

My gut says that the vast majority would simply be saying, "gee, i guess the game has gotten too fast for the refs."

sdw10
sdw10

 @BoardPoster  @JDR Come on BoardPoster, put down your homer glasses for two seconds.  The ball was yanked out of the Falcons players hands after possession was already called for Atlanta, you're grasping at straws.  You want to pull that bush league crap then I'll say the same could be true of the Falcons getting jobbed 6 yards extra on a penalty that might have cost them a touchdown...see I can play too.  Officiating was horrible, but they got the big calls right and at least the replay worked like it was supposed to.  We need our refs back asap.

Phillip A
Phillip A

 @snapjack  @sdw10  @BoardPoster  @JDR They had a replay on my TV and 74 recovered the ball at the beginning of pile up and he had it at the end. No 'homer glasses'. If the ball was yanked out of anyone's hands, it was yanked out of his hands. It was a bad call. Plain and simple. Not saying it could have changed the outcome of the game, but it was the wrong call. 

snapjack
snapjack

 @sdw10  @BoardPoster  @JDR Who knows if they got it right, they just made a call and stuck with it. No replay was used or shown on TV.

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