Given the absence of any game-deciding calls or protracted delays or Keystone cop clusterfudges during Week One, the perception is that the replacement officials did an acceptable job.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn’t agree with that perception.
In his weekly visit with Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin, Rodgers was candid regarding the officiating in the 30-22 loss.
“They’re under a lot of scrutiny,” Rodgers said in reference to the replacements, “and the one’s we had last week deserved the scrutiny. You have to understand the rules.”
Rodgers wasn’t looking for an excuse for his team’s loss. Indeed, the only call he specifically mentioned fueled a Green Bay touchdown via a block in the back that wasn’t called.
“You have to try to curtail some of your frustration I think,” Rodgers said. “It’s just frustrating when you’re positive that there’s either a missed call, or that the rule was not interpreted the way that it’s supposed to be interpreted. There were multiple instances of that, and when you watch the film back it’s frustrating.
“That being said, there were just some bizarre calls on both sides. Anybody who watches the TV copy, I mean I saw it from the sidelines, but we scored a touchdown on a legit block in the back. I don’t know what happened on that. It has to hopefully get better.”
Despite those concerns, the NFL has benefited from the reality that, based on the images pumped into TVs throughout the country, the officials look the part, act the part, and sound the part. Brushing off mistakes by pointing out that the regular officials make mistakes, too, the league has crafted a simple but highly effective P.R. strategy that will keep fans from reacting in the only way that matters — by not buying tickets and/or not watching games.
Even with high-profile players like Rodgers speaking out, only a major gaffe that directly influences the outcome of a game will even begin to move the needle.
We’re not saying it’s right, but it’s reality. And so the locked-out officials can wait for a major blunder that prompts a fan outcry — or the locked-out officials can get back to work.