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Replacement referees need some replacing as well

The NFL’s substitute teachers, I mean referees, need to be replaced with the real ones. Today.

Week two of the 2012 NFL season saw possibly the worst officiating since replacement referees were put in place this preseason. You saw so many non-calls and bad calls and plenty of thuggery all around. You even had one official replaced hours before a game because he posted the game assignment on Facebook. It’s safe to sat that the outcome of the Eagles-Ravens game,a 24-23 Philadelphia win, was affected by a bad offensive pass interference call on Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones in the end zone when Jones apparently scored without incident.

“The time is now,” Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. “How much longer are we going to keep going through this whole process? I don’t have the answer. I just know across the league teams and the league are being affected by it. It’s not just this game, it’s all across the league. And so if they want the league to have the same reputation it’s always had, they’ll address the problem. Get the regular referees in here and let the games play themselves out. We already have controversy enough with the regular refs calling the plays.”

Despite Lewis’ statement, the NFL insists that the replacement referees are doing a good job.

“Officiating is never perfect. The current officials have made great strides and are performing admirably under unprecedented scrutiny and great pressure,” Greg Aiello,the NFL’s vice president of communications told The Associated Press. “As we do every season, we will work to improve officiating and are confident that the game officials will show continued improvement.”

Mr. Aiello, here’s exactly how you do it, by negotiating with the union representing the referees to get a deal done so that the league can have quality officiating again. Though I agree they’re in a tough circumstance, they are pretty much substitute teachers who are having a tough time reaching the students (in this case,the players). The players are seeing how much they can get away with as long as the replacement referees are here.

From Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate’s cheap shot to Cowboys linebacker Shaun Lee to the Buccaneers going after Eli Manning’s knees on purpose to Redskins receiver Josh Morgan hucking the ball at Rams defensive back Cortland Finnegan, players are behaving badly and this kind of bad behavior wasn’t as rampant as it was when the regular officials were patrolling the fields on Sundays.

It’s crazy to think I would miss seeing the likes of Phil Luckett and Ed Hochuli out on the field every weekend this time of year,but I really do. It’s clear to me and so many football fans that the regular referees are without a doubt the best at what they do. Sure,it isn’t always perfect and might never be that way,but if there is one thing we know about them know that we didn’t before,it’s that they are a vital part of how the NFL is at the top of the game. I wish that was the case now with the substitute teachers who are in place, but unfortunately for the time being the integrity of the game, as well as player safety, has been risked.

The more bad officiating I see and hear about,the more I want the guys who do this on a regular basis back.

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September 2012
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