Posted September 25, 2012

Replacement refs stumble through more issues in Week 3

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Leslie Frazier was not happy about the 49ers wrongly getting two challenges late in their game. (Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE)

Another week and another set of mistakes from the replacement officials.

While none of the incidents directly impacted a game’s outcome, there were again several moments that stood out, ranging from the humorous to the inexplicable.

Hat’s off to you: We’ll start on the lighter side of this whole situation, then work our way to the more troublesome issues — you know, the ones that keep popping up and make us think, “Why don’t the officials know the rules?”

First up, a one-in-a-million moment from Dallas. As Tony Romo scrambled and tried to find a receiver downfield, Kevin Ogletree briefly broke open in the end zone and tried to cut back to where Romo could find him. Only, as he planted to break, Ogletree slipped … on an official’s hat.

Huh? The absurd moment, courtesy of SBNation:



Officials throw their hats for two reasons: 1. If there is a play that results in several penalties (think an after-the-whistle fight), they sometimes use their caps as an extra flag; and 2. When a player steps out of bounds, then comes back in — if that player wasn’t forced out and is the first to touch the ball, it’s a penalty.

However, the usual approach is to drop the hat on the sideline in the latter case (which appears to be why the hat was thrown in the first place here). Why did this replacement official opt to whip his hat several yards into the end zone? It’s a mystery that may never be solved.

GALLERY: REPLACEMENT REFS UNDER FIRE

Can you repeat that?: There have been some odd moments with refs on the mic this year, from the official last Monday night calling a penalty on “93, red” to calls being made without distinguishing who committed the foul at all.

Jerry Hughes, officiating the Rams-Bears game Sunday, had a pretty harmless slip-up … but plenty of people noticed it anyway. After reviewing a potential fumble, Hughes announced his ruling and gave the ball to “St. Louie.”

Unless Hughes is starring in a revival of the old Judy Garland musical, that’s generally not how St. Louis is pronounced.

I challenge your challenge: Two weeks ago, the Seahawks were mistakenly given an extra timeout in a close game against Arizona. Sunday, referee Ken Roan essentially allowed San Francisco to utilize a fourth timeout after Jim Harbaugh threw a challenge flag.

What is it with the NFC West?

With the Vikings ahead late in the fourth quarter, Harbaugh called his third and final timeout following a Toby Gerhart run. Roan then allowed Harbaugh not one, but two challenges, despite San Francisco not possessing the timeout necessary to call for a review.

Both plays in question came after Gerhart runs — Roan deemed the first one a fumble and then erroneously gave San Francisco a timeout back, allowing Harbaugh to pull the same trick later. The second play was not ruled a fumble.

• (Not) working overtime: We may never know exactly where the Lions’ final play wound up in an OT loss to Tennessee — Detroit fumbled a snap on 4th-and-inches from the 7, recovered close to the line of scrimmage and were somehow spotted outside the 8.

But the bigger mess in this game came earlier in OT.

On a 2nd-and-18 from his own 44, Titans QB Jake Locker fired a strike down the middle to Craig Stevens for an apparent 24-yard gain. At the end of that play, Lions LB Stephen Tulloch was flagged for a personal foul, as he hit Stevens in the helmet while he tried to make the catch. The flag appeared to be legit — as did the catch.

But after the replay booth called for a review of the catch, the ref overturned it (wrong), then announced it would be third down (wrong) and finally marked off 27 yards for the personal foul (wrong).

Had the play been called correctly, Stevens would have been given the catch at the 32 and the 15-yard penalty would have moved it to the 17. With the play being ruled incomplete, the 15-yard penalty ought to have given Tennessee a first down at the Lions’ 41. Instead, Tennessee lined up for its next play at Detroit’s 29 — a weird mix of rulings.

• Washington’s woes: The Redskins trailed by seven very late in their game against Cincinnati, but marched to the Bengals’ 19. So how did Washington end up running its final play from its own 46 — a good 35 yards back?

Well, Robert Griffin III was sacked back at the 34 and Fred Davis was then whistled for a false start, so that accounts for 20. The other 15 came courtesy of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that we later found out was attributed to Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Some of the confusion in the matter came about because of the false start. In a normal circumstance in the final minutes, that penalty results in a 10-second runoff, which would have ended the game; however, since Griffin had spiked the ball on the prior play and the clock was already stopped, there was no runoff.

“At the end of the game there were two officials on the sideline that said the game was over,” Shanahan said, according to Grant Paulsen. “They threw the flag on us when there was half of their football team on the field. I was disappointed in that.”

Griffin’s final shot at a tying touchdown, a long Hail Mary, fell incomplete.

32 comments
actheeke
actheeke

As long as the real officials are not working the games, any talk from the NFL and Goodell regarding player safety and putting a good product on the field for the fans is not credible.  Money for the refs now and in the future, a minor amount compared with revenues, is jeopardizing a game we love. 

crz2bhappy
crz2bhappy

i saw 2 or 3 massive helmet to helmet hits that were not flagged..........cowboys romo, and that guy from raiders.

these non-calls are way more disturbing than all this other crap

fangers32
fangers32

That last play in the Bengals/Redskins game should never have been run in the first place, as the refs failed to run 10 seconds off the clock when Redskins touched onside kick before it went ten yards.  Clock should have been set to 0:57, never was.  Time would have ran out before the play redskins all upset about even run.

JamesR.Scheibe
JamesR.Scheibe

It's time to turn off the television, not because I don't enjoy football but because I do.  It's apparent the NFL isn't taking the poor officiating and the resultant loss of integrity to the game seriously.  Maybe if a significant portion of the viewing public turns off their televisions until the officials come back an advertiser or two might talk to the commissioner.  Turn off your television tonight, Thursday, and Sunday.

MichaelMacIsaac
MichaelMacIsaac

I've been saying all along that the focus on the refs is ridiculous, that it's dooming them to fail, that the regular refs wouldn't get this much scrutiny, and that the coaches and players are equally as blameworthy for the way they treat them... but I don't know. The refs really aren't getting any better yet, and I thought they would by now.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Saying the regular refs make mistakes doesn't excuse the errors of the replacement refs. These guys are dreadful and it's quite permissible to point that out. RG Zero (Roger Goodell) is failing in his responsibility to ensure a quality performance from the officials. And that IS his responsibility.

tigercub88
tigercub88

On ESPN this morning, the ticker at the bottom of the screen was scrolling mistakes made by the replacement referees. Can we expect to see this feature continue if and when the union refs return? Or is this just part of an overally propaganda plan instituted by all of the unionized workers at both CNNSI and ESPN? Also, I seem to recall a union referee throwing a bean bag and blinding an NFL player, ending his career, a few years back. I haven't seen one of the replacement refs do THAT yet, have you?

Carter2
Carter2

How did the Unionized refs Become qualified? Give these replacement reps enough time and they will be better qualified than the ones they are replacing, and I don't remember the striking refs being that much better. Once again it is Media Propaganda.

tguer2430
tguer2430

I like these refs; they make the game unpredictable

ScottBair
ScottBair

How about the Jet game where an incomplete pass was ruled complete or the hold that wasn't called? Fox was fined by the NFL for criticizing the refs. Who's fining the NFL?

 

dolphfin85
dolphfin85

Not too bothereed with the decisions that the relpacement ref's are making, what I have  a big problem with is the taking 5 mins to spot the ball. Enough is enough NFL, get the REAl ref's back

angry_buddha
angry_buddha

The Bucs had to burn 2 challenges proving the Tony Romo fumbled on two different sacks.  One of them, if called correctly on the field, was an uncontested fumble return for a touchdown.  The review got it right and the Bucs offense got theball... but the Bucs offense is less adept at scoring than is their defense... The refs clearly screwed Tampa Bay on that one.

Richard23
Richard23

RE: "While none of the incidents directly impacted a game’s outcome . . ."

 

Is this a joke?  The replacement refs completely bungled the call on Pierre Thomas' fantastic TD catch against the Chiefs in the first half.  The play was ruled a touchdown on the field, and head referee Don King - making an assumption because there was no conclusive evidence that the ball had hit the ground (because it was blocked by Thomas' forearm in the most direct angle) - reversed the call, erroneously claiming that the ball had "bounced off the ground" (again, he ASSUMED the ball had bounced off the ground, making his claim factually incorrect) - and taking away 6 points from the Saints.  Since it is obvious you don't know enough about the NFL to write this column responsibly, Mr. Burke, allow me to remind you that NFL officials are supposed to overturn calls ONLY when there is CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE; this was not the case here, and Mr. King screwed the Saints out of an extremely important touchdown (and Mr. Thomas a place in ESPN's Top Ten plays of the day).  Take into account the missed field goal by Garrett Hartley later on that same drive, and Mr. King's blown call cost the Saints 6 or 7 points - meaning there is a very good chance that this game never even sees overtime in the first place.

 

But, no, Mr. Burke, not counting THAT colossal blunder, I guess none of the incidents of replacement referee incompetence directly impacted a game's outcome.

JamesCoyne
JamesCoyne

That Ravens/Patroits game should have been a classic. The refs did an awful job. 11 first downs as a result of penalty. Thats insane. That altered the balance of the entire game. I'm not a fan of either team, but all the players were robbed. The only good that will come from it will be the presser that Bill Belichick gives. The mans been in the game since the stone age, and maybe if he, and Coughlin, and Shanahan and some of the other sold schoolers press the media and in turn the NFL, they'll get a deal done. It's not fair to the players, or the fans. 

 

jweller3
jweller3

Collinsworth and Michaels are total hypocrites.  They complained the entire 1st half that the refs weren't throwing any flags and that the game was getting out of hand.  In the 2nd half, they complain that they are throwing too many flags and then nitpicking the calls in slo-mo.  Shut up all call the game.....................

BobKincheloe
BobKincheloe

well we had a week 3 ! without the replacement refs NO FOOTBALL !

emmartin
emmartin

At first I was against all of the replacement refs.  But now I say keep 'em.  They add a hilarity to the No Fun League that its long been missing.

PatriciaWelch
PatriciaWelch

The ref's continue to stumble??  What a statement!!!! They fell on their face's!!!  Are they not required to read the NFL rule book? What about the non call on Heyward-Bey when he got knocked out with a helmut to helmut hit in the end zone during the Pittsburgh game?  I am not a Raider's fan but I dont't like to see anyone carted off the field especially when it was a hit like that & no flag was thrown!  Atrocious!  They can't see the scoreboard & know if a team has no more time out's & still give them a challenge?!  Come on guy's, if you wanna play with the big boy's then hone up your knowledge of the game!  How many more player's are going to get hurt due to this ineptitude?? No wonder there are so many injury's in highschool & college football!  This is ridiculous! They should be required to spend all week or more reading the rule book & then be tested before they can even step on to the field!

BrianKlick1
BrianKlick1

Someone should also write about the horrendous official game clock management of the Skins / Bengals game.  I noticed a few spotted it on twitter - but on the last Skins drive, the clock kept running after a Skins receiver caught and ran out of bounds.   No one noticed.   And then later on the drive, the ref on the mic said to subtract and reset the game clock to a certain time, and it was never done, adding a few seconds to the Skins drive ... so it evened out in the end.  And in another instance, a player was injured on the field, trainers came over, and the clock kept running for a good 10-15 seconds more before finally stopping.  Whoever was running that official game clock was just horrible.

Ken6
Ken6

What about writers making errors? You wrote "If their is a play that results in several penalties...."

 

Shouldn't "their" be "there"?

 

Please throw a flag on yourself, and don't make fun of others who make mistakes.

JevonTruex
JevonTruex

 @fangers32 Good point but if you watched the game and the clock you would have noticed that there were several plays where Redskins receivers made it out of bounds on that last drive... did the clock stop?  Nope.  There should have been more time on the clock to begin with.

tigercub88
tigercub88

The criticism and fines rule applies to ALL referees, union or non. What is your point? There is a coordinated effort by the UNIONIZED employees covering these games to over-emphasize mistakes by the replacement officials and pretend that the union officlals didn't blow calls each and every game. If the union refs and the NFL don't settle their dispute, by Week 6 or 7, the replacement refs will have enough time to learn/adjust and the actual performance on game day won't be all that different.

tigercub88
tigercub88

The replay officials are pemanent employees of the NFL and are not on strike.

tigercub88
tigercub88

Amen to that. Collingsworth and Michaels are UNION guys so the replacement refs are screwed no matter what they do. I even heard Bryan Gumbel, another UNION guy, call them "scabs" on what was supposed to be an objective report. Look for more of the same as the union cartel closes ranks to promote their own agenda.

JamesCoyne
JamesCoyne

 @BobKincheloe  @PatriciaWelch No Bob, these guys are affecting the quality of the game, Missing calls is one thing, and it's going to happen, but what we're seeing now is a disgrace. Any fan of the game can see that, what skin do you have in this that you take the part of these amateurs?

DavidSumner
DavidSumner

Are you being intentionally daft? The topic is football, but the writer makes his living with this medium. Between the writer and the editor, this was missed. It can be corrected and I hope it is... but Ken6 is right on the money. I think you're the dumbass. 

tigercub88
tigercub88

 @JamesCoyne  @BobKincheloe  @PatriciaWelch My "skin" in this game is that is sickens me that the Refs union is striking so that a bunch of part time workers can extort even more gold plated benefits from the NFL. Remember, ALL of these guys have other jobs with salaries and benefits and yet the 3 biggest issues they are demanding from the NFL are 1) to keep a defined benefit pension versus, what most people have, a defined contribution plan (in other words, the refs pay nothing and get a guaranteed pension for life), 2) the NFL is trying to phase in FULL TIME officials to improve the overall quality of officiating by having full time professionals who focus on the job of officiating (the current guys, of course oppose this because it would prevent the current "double dipping"), and 3) the NFL has proposed increasing the number of officiating crews from 17 to 20 which would actually increase the number of total officials while giving the NFL more flexibility in assessing officials' performance and asking poor performers to sit out weeks to fix identified performance issues (again, the union doesn't want to let the NFL put any official in the "penalty box" no matter how poorly they perform). You know what really isn't a major issue? Compensation. The NFL has already offered the officials a substantial raise over their current salaries.

JamesCoyne
JamesCoyne

 @DavidSumner then really, if you agree, the comment should have read in the following manner.

 

"What's does this have to do with football, dumb-ass!?"

 

The answer is nothing, and professional writers often have to churn out several articles, in a very short time period, and rely on the editorial staffs to catch things like that. So get the F over it, and let's talk about how crap these replacement d bags are, and how it's f-ing with the quality of the game. 

 

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  4. [...] for some calls during the game. (He faces a possible fine for the contact.) And SI.com’s Chris Burke detailed some of the other Week 3 controversies, including one referee awarding the San Francisco 49ers a fourth [...]