NFL replacement refs to start season; continue to make a mockery of the game (VIDEO)
On Wednesday, the NFL sent out a memo to all 32 teams to let everyone know that the replacement referees will start the season on September 5th. In it, the league’s Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson attempted to claim with a straight face that the current replacement refs are doing an adequate job, and that they feel confident entering the season with a second-rate collection of former Canadian and Lingerie Football League officials:
In light of the current state of negotiations, we will have replacement crews on the field when the regular season begins. The replacements have undergone extensive training and evaluation, and have shown steady improvement during the preseason. We will continue the training with each crew and they will work as much of the regular season as necessary. The replacement officials are dedicated and enthusiastic, have worked very hard to improve, and have persevered despite the attacks on their qualifications and performance. We are all grateful for their service to the NFL.
Obviously, Ray hasn’t been watching the same pre-season games that we all have, because these replacements are clearly not ready for primetime. And despite being directed by the NFL to remain silent on the subject, players and coaches throughout the league have been vocal in their support of the full-time refs. There is a genuine concern from many parties about the integrity of the game – and particularly player safety – if these clowns are allowed to officiate a regular season contest, when everyone is going full-speed, and there is actually something at stake. The league says it will attempt to mitigate this by placing veteran former referees in the booth as “officiating supervisors”, who will attempt to guide the replacements, as well as with expanded use of instant replay on all turnovers and scoring plays.
With the labor negotiations between the league and the NFLRA at a standstill, this is hopefully just a tactic to put pressure on the regular refs to accept their offer and get back to work. But in the mean time, these replacement referees continue to make a mockery of the game, and only prove to strengthen the NFLRA’s stance that the full-time professionals are desperately needed back on the field.
In response to the memo, the NFLRA issued their own statement:
“We are not surprised that the NFL was not going to reach out to us,” the NFLRA said in a statement. “However, this is consistent with the NFL’s negotiating strategy, which has been ‘take it or leave it’ and lock them out. It now appears the NFL is willing to forego any attempt to reach a deal in the last seven (7) days before opening night. It is unfortunate because the Referees want to get back on the field. Our members have been engaged in extensive preparations and are ready to go.
“If the NFL is serious about negotiating, we are ready, but we can’t negotiate with ourselves.”
During last night’s Giants-Patriots snoozefest, the replacements put forth yet another example of their “dedicated and enthusiastic” work … one that starkly contradicts what the league would have you believe about their state of preparedness for the rigors of an NFL season.
VIDEO & BONUS GIF AFTER THE JUMP
With 6:08 remaining in the 4th quarter, the Giants punted to the Patriots, flags were thrown on the play … and that’s when the wheels fell off. The replacement refs gathered on the field, Bill Belichick got into the mix, and crew chief Don King (I swear, that’s his name) got on the mic to explain the call:
“We have fouls by both teams during the kick,” said King. “We have illegal shift by the kicking team. After the kick … (pause as he is interrupted by another official, telling him that both penalties are on the kicking team) … we have a 15-yard penalty (motions to Patriots). Chosen to re-kick (points to Giants) … five-yard penalty.”
Confusion reigned on the field. But as the Giants set themselves to re-kick, the whistle blew again, essentially so the refs could get together and figure their sh!t out. Belichick and Tom Coughlin were absolutely beside themselves watching this all unfold, as minutes passed before King attempted to clarify, which really only made things worse:
“Correction on the reporting of the foul. Both teams were on a … both off- … uh … both fouls were on the kicking team. Five-yard penalty.”
If it wasn’t all so depressing, this would have been high comedy.
Bottom line: the NFL needs to stop playing hardball and get the full-time refs back on the field. Otherwise, all of their talk over the past few years about wanting to uphold and preserve the integrity of the game, and player safety being priority number one, is nothing but hot air. We’re literally talking about $100k per team to fund the NFLRA’s proposal … it’s time for the owners and Mr. Goodell to put their money where their mouths are, and stop messing around.
Watch the video for yourselves, and let us know in the comments if you think these guys are ready for the NFL:
If nothing else, the ridiculous scene gave us this GIF, which adequately summarizes the replacement referees experience:
Oh yeah, there’s this one too:
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