Replacement officials returned to the NFL for the first time since 2001, and the NFL Referees Association was paying close attention.
And the NFLRA was taking notes.
And the NFLRA has now publicized those notes, summarizing the mistakes made by the crew assigned to the Hall of Fame game.
“Professional NFL officials are graded after every game,” NFLRA counsel Michael Arnold said in a release. “Several of the NFL Referee Association’s officials who grade for Division-I college conferences did a review of the Hall of Fame Game working from a recording of the television feed. Normally, there would be an opportunity to also view the ‘Coaches’ Tape, which provides two views of every play, but multiple costly errors were still evident. Numerous errors in field mechanics, game administration and even the coin toss negatively impacted the quality of the game.”
The NFLRA then identified 10 significant errors, from the non-call of a Saints touchdown to the failure to flag Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown for holding in the end zone to a failure to call a touchback on a punt downed inside the Saints’ one yard line to a failure to flag a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless punt returner.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the NFLRA continues to grade the preseason games in which the replacement officials work.
And, yes, the regular officials make plenty of mistakes. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the mistakes by the men (and one woman) who necessarily aren’t the best of the best.
If, after all, they were among the best of the best, they’d currently be locked out by the league.