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Ray Lewis says it’s time for refs to return


Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wasn’t the only member of the team to sound off on the absence of the locked-out officials after Sunday’s loss to the Eagles.  Linebacker Ray Lewis did the same.

“[T]he game is played the way the game is played, but there’s some serious calls the refs missed,” Lewis said in the locker room, via  “And that’s just the way it is, man, all around the league.  And that, for our league to be what it is, we have to correct that.  Because these games are critical.  And guys are giving everything they got all across the league, but there are calls that the regular refs, if they were here, we know the way calls would be made.  For the conversations to be had the way they had on the sidelines saying ‘If the real refs were here, that could would have been made.’  That shouldn’t happen.  That shouldn’t be the case around the league.  But it is.  And we have to deal with it.”

Lewis then complained specifically about a decision to reverse a call on the field that Eagles quarterback Mike Vick had fumbled the ball when trying to throw it.  And that’s where Lewis undermined his broader point, because it’s clear that Vick was trying to throw the ball.  Indeed, he was able to flick his wrist and put a partial spiral on the supposed fumble.

But Ray’s message seems to reflect a growing sentiment among players that the regular officials should return.  “The time is now,” Lewis said.  “How much longer are we gonna 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.”

As more high-profile players speak out, the question becomes whether more will do the same — and whether a tipping point will eventually be reached.  Until then, look for the league to continue to hunker down, circle the wagon, and wait for the locked-out officials to cry uncle.

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62 Responses to “Ray Lewis says it’s time for refs to return”
  1. voiceofreasonsays says: Sep 17, 2012 7:44 AM

    The Baltimore Ravens are an embarrassment to my state. Ray Lewis is a has been and was never better than London Fletcher at the top of their games.

  2. redguy12588 says: Sep 17, 2012 7:46 AM

    Surprised that no raven has suggested that the replacement refs are only out there to specifically screw over the ravens, because the league is always against the ravens. I hate the asinine “us against the world” mentality. It’s insulting to the hundreds of thousands of fans each team has.

  3. truthfactory says: Sep 17, 2012 7:50 AM

    How quickly people forget how we all used to bitch about the regular refs blown calls every Monday morning too…

    There will always be bad calls, but I’ve actually been impressed with how many tough calls they seem to get right. I honestly was expecting worse…

  4. packerman1968 says: Sep 17, 2012 7:50 AM

    If they had won…Big Mouth Ray…would not have said a thing.

  5. samapoc says: Sep 17, 2012 7:51 AM

    The replacement refs have looked consistently bad to me. I watch pro football because I enjoy the crispness of the play. The replacement refs seem to struggle with keeping a consistently clean and crisp game. They had a lot of trouble with spotting the ball in the Racens Eagles game. That’s not acceptable at any level, especially not the NFL level.

  6. mataug says: Sep 17, 2012 7:54 AM

    Replacement refs or not, every season every week, the losing team cry about the refs. My only complaint about the replacement refs is the time they are taking to make the calls. Ravens-Eagles went for more than 3.5 hours. Now I don’t mind watching more football, but the key word is football, not the refs taking their time to decide what to do.

  7. phillyphannn83 says: Sep 17, 2012 7:54 AM

    all I hear is waaaa waaaa waaaa. You don’t hear our guys complaining that they let the Ravens RG get away with about 25 false starts and he rest of the line with about 10 holding penalties. That’s 2 games in a row that the Eagles have been called for holding the entire game but the opposing team gets none. But our guys aren’t complaining, they just keep WINNING!

  8. jc1958cool says: Sep 17, 2012 7:56 AM

    ray ray will back stab’em

  9. kegrun says: Sep 17, 2012 7:57 AM

    The regular refs mighta made the wrong call also. Difference being the reg refs wouldn’t have reversed the call due to them being to stubborn.

  10. raybguilty says: Sep 17, 2012 8:01 AM

    For some reason, this interview jarred my memory on how to make the best WHINE —
    simply add sour grapes, and let ferment until next week!

  11. bmore44 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:03 AM

    That play wasnt a fumble but , Vick should of been called for Intentional grounding on the play. There was another play Vick was going down and threw ball away to avoid a sack, the ball wasnt near a receiver or crossed line of scrimmage. BS refs suck.

  12. rritter72 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:04 AM

    Lewis should be happy that the real officials weren’t in the game…cause they they would have called the crap the Ravens were doing. There were alot of late hits against Vick that weren’t called as well as holding by the Ravens O line. The calls were bad all around, but for the Ravens to act like that cost them the game is stupid. How many passes did he make in the second half?

  13. yankeemofo says: Sep 17, 2012 8:04 AM

    Ray cares about the rules now? He sure didn’t in Atlanta in 1/31/2001…

  14. steelerdynasty2010 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:04 AM

    does he mean the real refs he and the rest of his team CONSISTENTLY whine and complain about? those refs?

  15. cleverbob says: Sep 17, 2012 8:06 AM

    To paraphrase:

    “The ref’s are terrible when the call doesn’t go my way”

  16. rgwhodey says: Sep 17, 2012 8:09 AM

    Last week you didn’t mention anything about the refs needing to return, or was it just not time yet Mr Ray?

  17. ianwetpantscom says: Sep 17, 2012 8:09 AM

    Memo to Ray Lewis: Roger Goodell does’nt care what you think, only what the owners think.

  18. jssgriffi says: Sep 17, 2012 8:10 AM

    Screw u murderer!! The refs are horrible but there want a call that made you guys lose it was the eagles defense that changed the game. That pass interference was pass interference. That fumble call wasnt even close to being a fumble. Go eff yourself you sound like a crybaby just like your “elite” qb flacco

  19. cleverbob says: Sep 17, 2012 8:10 AM

    Vick was outside of the pocket, so no intentional grounding. Looked like the play was a QB sprint, pass option. Just because the linemen reset on the left hash mark doesn’t mean the defined “pocket” also reset.

    Andy/Marty did the smart thing and removed the “option” on the next play call – take the snap and run forward.

  20. hmink96 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:13 AM

    A lot of You will not be saying these same things when these replacement refs take points off the board because of a blown call in a game, causing your team to lose. It will happen to everyone.

  21. sudz28 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:21 AM

    I agree with Ray’s overall sentiment, but he almost loses credibility to bring up the Vick reversed fumble call. It was indeed an incomplete pass, and what Lewis is essentially complaining about is that the Ravens didn’t get the benefit of an incorrect call!!

    Man up Lewis, you’re too old and too slow and the game has passed you by.

  22. stealersfannot says: Sep 17, 2012 8:22 AM

    I really wish that any complaints these guys have against the refs would be communicated to the league and not offered as the (or one of the) scapegoat(s) for a loss.

    It was a close game and very welldeserved win for the Eagles. Considering how pummeled Vick was, he still persevered and kept them in it.

    I do think it’s fair to question the last few play calls, but keep in mind that DeMeco Ryans was stuffing lil Ray consistently in the second quarter so there was no guarantee that running would work any better.

    Their defense steeled its spine while ours kept cedeing ground to Vick and Celek.

    Just some perspective here Ravens fans: the last time a team went undefeated and won a Super Bowl was decades ago. We lost to the Gabbert-led Jags last year and were still one catch shy of the Big Show. And if you’re gonna lose, make it a competetive loss where the other guys earn it, and you steal away with great game-tape to iron out your shortcomings for the long-haul.

  23. coughlinsredcheeks says: Sep 17, 2012 8:24 AM

    Why? So you can complain about the calls those refs make as well?

  24. napoleonblownapart6887 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:28 AM

    I completely agree with Ray on MOST of his assertions – he is clearly wrong about the Mike Vick fumble – but overall that was a poorly officiated game. As much as I love to give Ravens fans flak for whining about the refs screwing them over, they do have an axe to grind in this case in my opinion.

    With that being said, two things:
    1) Both teams have to play with bad refs and from what I have seen, bad calls have gone both ways in most games. You have to play well enough so that the refs can’t be a factor.
    2) What annoys me more than anything is how LATE these flags are coming in – tossing them well after the play is concluded. You have to see that players and coaches are lobbying for flags after the fact and are getting them… THAT concerns me more than anything

  25. crownofthehelmet says: Sep 17, 2012 8:30 AM

    Ray also has an influence over Joe. Elite quarterbacks say “I didn’t do enough to help my team – missed some throws I should have made”. Not “the refs were bad”.

    Ravens FO, please sign this guy long-term.

  26. eyeh8goodell says: Sep 17, 2012 8:30 AM

    Replacement officials have nothing to do with this. Ray Ray and the Ravens ALWAYS make excuses and blame the officials after a big loss. Always. They’ve been doing it for years. He and his teammates would be whining about the refs last night and this morning every bit as much even if the regular guys were in there. Nothing to see here, except the usual sore loser charade.

  27. jpat2424 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:37 AM

    Shut up and play football

  28. imback03 says: Sep 17, 2012 8:39 AM

    You people must have crappy lives, to talk so much crap behind your keyboards. You wouldn’t ever say any of this stuff to Ray’s face, so just shut it. I don’t understand how people defend these terrible refs and league. I don’t blame the refs they are trying their best, they just aren’t up to the challenge. Another idiot move by dictator Goodell.

  29. rahavort says: Sep 17, 2012 8:43 AM

    I actually agree with what Lewis is saying…there were mistakes in almost all of the games that were played yesterday, whether it was calls that shouldn’t have been made, obvious other calls that should have been made. Regardless of who the refs are there is going to be controversy. But I think it’s time to get the refs back whose main jobs don’t consist of being insurance salesman.

  30. jaxcliff says: Sep 17, 2012 8:52 AM

    That pass was clearly not a fumble. It went forward with a spiral and Vick’s hand clearly flicked it forward. And it was definitely not intentional grounding, it was going towards an Eagles receiver but fell far short because Vick was accelerated backwards by the hit as he threw.

    So, in other words, Lewis’ choice of play to complain about shows he’s just complaining because they lost. While the replacement refs may not be as polished (yet), they’re getting the calls right in about the same proportion as the “real” refs, albeit a bit more slowly (so far).

  31. vincentbojackson says: Sep 17, 2012 8:57 AM

    The regular refs returning won’t give Ray his youth back. The intensity is still there but it’s becoming obvious he’s consistently a step or two late to the play.

  32. johnnybgood19 says: Sep 17, 2012 9:04 AM

    When I was 10, my coach told my team that some times you’ll have good refs and some times you’ll have bad ones and they are just part of the game and as long as they were equal good or equal bad for both sides then it was fair and we as a team had to learn to adapt to the conditions on the field…. Part of which was to not gripe about the calls….

    I guess Ray missed that talk from his 4th grade coach!

  33. makeham98 says: Sep 17, 2012 9:07 AM

    There is a replay system in place that corrected the fumble call, so who cares. Just losers whining.

  34. bobenxx says: Sep 17, 2012 9:14 AM

    Players always blame officials for making bad calls that cost them games. That is taking the easy way out.
    In reality it’s the missed tackle, the offsides, the false start, the unnecessary roughness penalty etc. that loses games.
    Players want officials to be 100% correct the whole game while the players make tons of mental errors along with dropped passes (tons of them) fumbles and just bonehead plays.
    If they would just own up to “We lost because the other 99.9% of the game” and not the one official’s penalty call.
    Maybe one day the players will take ownership of their losses. I think they spend too much time choreographing their touchdown celebrations then actual football practice. It is bad when they perfer to look like Idiots then players.
    So Ray. Own up to the other 99.9% of the game your team played. You lost. Get over it.

  35. steelerfanjo says: Sep 17, 2012 9:15 AM

    No one cares what Ray Lewis has to say. He is the worst human being in the NFL. He should be banned for life.

  36. cobibones13 says: Sep 17, 2012 9:28 AM

    It seems like Ray Lewis always cries to the media if he’s having bad games or his team loses close games.

    He wasn’t crying about the replacement refs last week. Not very “old school” of him, is it? lol

  37. fuzzynuts55 says: Sep 17, 2012 9:33 AM

    Def some bad calls.. by your coach!

  38. jfolland says: Sep 17, 2012 9:45 AM

    Couple of points after watching the entirety of this officiating debacle. First of all, as bad as the officiating was it did not cost the ravens the game. These replacement officials are clearly in over their heads. They don’t know where to spot the ball, don’t know how much yardage to walk off on penalties, lose control of the scuffles between players, take forever to make decisions, and are afraid to make a potentially game altering call. It seems as though they are trying too hard to be invisible that they refuse to throw a downfield defensive PI call, or call anything but offsetting personal fouls after the whistle. They have a difficult time just making everyday officiating decisions and lose control of the players at the drop of a hat. The eagles ravens game was a bit of a circus yesterday. Even with all that said, coming from a ravens fan, we still deserved to lose. Players need to quit running their mouths, start watching some film and get ready for a pissed off patriots team.

  39. somekat says: Sep 17, 2012 9:50 AM

    I say it’s time for overrated, over the hill lb’s, who disappear if they don’t have a pro bowl DT in front of them, to shut up and stop crying.

    Has Baltimore EVER lost a game they didn’t blame on the refs and the otehr team “playing dirty”? This team is a joke, and there is a reason they won’t win crap. They got lucky playing the worst opponent ni the superbowl in the last 20 years when the beat the Giants that year. They will NEVER win anything else, because their defense has no heart.

    Tough guys….til someone hits them back

  40. jonevans83 says: Sep 17, 2012 9:54 AM

    If Ray want’s to stand up for the replacement refs, we can just get replacement Players. I already have Keanu Reeves nabbed for my team.

  41. somekat says: Sep 17, 2012 10:00 AM

    That play wasnt a fumble but , Vick should of been called for Intentional grounding on the play. There was another play Vick was going down and threw ball away to avoid a sack, the ball wasnt near a receiver or crossed line of scrimmage. BS refs suck.

    If Vick is getting hit when the ball is release, therefore it only goes 2 yards, you can’t call intentional grounding. The word “intentional” means something (I know taht’s hard to grasp in the Bmore school system), but if you are getting hit when you throw it and it comes out bad, that is not “intentional”

    But good job doing your best Ray Lewis impression, and crying about being dominated by a better team

  42. nobisoreal says: Sep 17, 2012 10:05 AM

    Guess no one is going to mention the game winning touchdown pass being overturned by a BS OFFENSIVE pass interference penalty. That’s the play that affected the game the most. That was not something you call at that point in the game. I think it’s time to let Pass Interference become reviewable because that ruins more games than anything else.

  43. melikefootball says: Sep 17, 2012 10:05 AM

    Always the same when Ravens lose,, Ray Ray cries as well as Hairball. The Ravens allowed the Eagles to win, not the refs.

  44. somekat says: Sep 17, 2012 10:06 AM

    I actually agree with what Lewis is saying…there were mistakes in almost all of the games that were played yesterday, whether it was calls that shouldn’t have been made, obvious other calls that should have been made. Regardless of who the refs are there is going to be controversy. But I think it’s time to get the refs back whose main jobs don’t consist of being insurance salesman.


    There is a total of 10 “regular” NFL referees who currently do not have a job. The rest of them, it is not their main job.
    No different that the replacement refs

  45. Political Hippo says: Sep 17, 2012 10:15 AM

    Ray always has an excuse.

  46. Brittany says: Sep 17, 2012 10:18 AM

    Ray would have been better bringing up the far, far worse overturn of a game-winning TD from Flacco to Jones.

    Eagles corners are mugging Ravens receivers all day because the scab officials are not calling it. Then suddenly both Jones and the defender get handsy and a touchdown is reversed?

    It’s ludicrous. I was actually stunned by that call. It’s the sort of thing you know the real refs would not have made. Not only petty, but game-altering.

  47. artvan15 says: Sep 17, 2012 10:20 AM

    Quit blaming the replacement refs. They are doing a decent job and haven’t changed the outcome of any games. The announcers and the players are blowing everything out of proportion.

    When the regular refs come back they will be complaining about them.

  48. dontstabmeray says: Sep 17, 2012 10:23 AM

    Dear Ray Ray,
    Your “vaunted” defense gave up almost 500 yards. You are old and slow. Your “elite” quarterback was 5 for 28 in the second half. Maybe, just maybe, your team isn’t as good as you think. Then you have an angry Patriots team coming in for a visit next week. I can’t remember when they lost two in a row. Have fun covering Gronk.

  49. trojanwarrior007 says: Sep 17, 2012 10:31 AM

    the regular refs will either cave and come back on the NFL’s terms or will be completely replaced permanently. the replacement refs are doing a decent enough job.

  50. steelers4life says: Sep 17, 2012 10:40 AM

    Same ole Ravens. Always crying about the refs, the other team or something. How about blaming yourselvds for believing the hype that you were that good and that teams would rollover and let you win. Or even better how about stopping the Eagles on their last drive. Or even better than that, how about Joke Flaccid driving down the field and getting a field to end the game. Stop your whining Ratbirds!

  51. phillyphannn83 says: Sep 17, 2012 10:48 AM

    the reason for the pass interference call is because the receiver pushed off Nnamdi’s facemask and turned his helmet sideways. It was way too obvious to miss but I’m sure the local announcers on the BMore radio and post game shows didn’t point that out.

  52. Stiller43 says: Sep 17, 2012 10:51 AM

    If he wants to place blame, look at his qb completing 8/25 in the second half and the coordinator running rice (a GREAT rb, coming from a steelers fan) like 8 times in the same stretch. If the ravens feed rice, theyll win most games with their D

  53. scotchrocks says: Sep 17, 2012 11:08 AM

    Every team cries about the refs when they think the breaks didn’t go their way.

    The Eagles cry when the refs don’t keep Vick from getting hit “too hard.”

    The Steelers cry when they think the league and the refs are over penalizing and fining them.

    Any fan saying that Ray and the Ravens’ fans are only complaining about the refs because they lost will be doing the same thing in the coming weeks. So I guess that makes Ray and the fans just like everyone else.

    One last point:

    Complaining about the refs is a part of the game. It always has been and always will be. Hell, bad calls get talked about more than great plays.

  54. michaelda1 says: Sep 17, 2012 11:13 AM

    There are always plenty of opportunities to win a game, so blame should never fall on officiating. I question why, however, when there had been plenty of contact between receivers and the secondary all game, that they chose to throw the flag at such a crucial moment. Let them play or don’t, just don’t change your interpretation of the rules at a time when the game is at stake.

    Correct call on Vick’s “fumble” (I can’t believe that was the original call) would have been grounding. Then again, if you wrap him up, this conversation isn’t happening.

    I don’t watch a lot of Eagles games, but is that guy Coleman always a punk? It seemed like he was instigating after the whistle all game.

  55. Show Me Your TDs says: Sep 17, 2012 11:20 AM

    Ravens offensive had plenty of time to make a game winning driving. Plus they had two timeouts. But in true flacco form he made two Terrible throws and that was the game. What a Whiney bitch team. They certainly had no problems with a ref bad call last week when they gave boldin a TD that wasn’t even a catch. If you’re going to accept bad calls when they go in your favor at least take it like a man when they don’t.

  56. ravenseattheirownpoop says: Sep 17, 2012 12:10 PM

    Amen. I couldn’t agree more. That doesn’t happen often.

  57. ravenseattheirownpoop says: Sep 17, 2012 12:14 PM

    Hurry up and sign Flacco!!! Hahahahahahahah!!!!

  58. bobonmycob says: Sep 17, 2012 12:25 PM

    imback03 says:
    Sep 17, 2012 8:39 AM
    You people must have crappy lives, to talk so much crap behind your keyboards. You wouldn’t ever say any of this stuff to Ray’s face, so just shut it

    Well imback03 you are just a coward then (I have a better word for you but cant use it here). I would most certainly tell Ray Lewis he’s an overrated joke to his face. Let him hit me, I will be a rich man. He’s probably stupid enough to take the punch too. Just because Lewis killed somebody and comes off as a tough guy does not mean he sleeps on leopard print sheets and had posters of Elton John in his bedroom. Get over yourself COWARD.

  59. johnnyb1976 says: Sep 17, 2012 1:04 PM

    Every time the ratbirds lose they always ALWAYS blame it on the refs. God forbid that the other team plays well, or is better than them.

  60. nickynick04 says: Sep 17, 2012 1:09 PM

    phillyphannn83 says:Sep 17, 2012 7:54 AM

    all I hear is waaaa waaaa waaaa. You don’t hear our guys complaining that they let the Ravens RG get away with about 25 false starts and he rest of the line with about 10 holding penalties. That’s 2 games in a row that the Eagles have been called for holding the entire game but the opposing team gets none. But our guys aren’t complaining, they just keep WINNING!

    I am no Ravens fan,,,,But THE DYNASTY as vick calls them is going no where. The beat the worse team in the league by one point, the Browns,,,and snuck by an overrated ravens team…..with all of that unused cap money… you guys know where that goes ? that is TV money that goes into the owner’s pocket…Laurie is a scumbag owner

  61. footballchic777 says: Sep 17, 2012 2:05 PM

    Alot of the players complaining are the ones who are recipients of help from the “real” refs. These refs are not as good as the other refs: speed, knowledge of calls, etc, but they do seem to be calling it the same for both teams. I coached for years and always told my kids, give as good as you get. Every refs calls differently, whether it is holding, strike zone, illegal screen! All sports….you adjust to the way the game is being call.

  62. bdawkins52 says: Sep 17, 2012 5:30 PM

    Did the Ravens-Eagles game have two 2 min warnings? Did the Seahawks have 4 time outs Week 1? Can anybody spot a damn ball correctly? Will the refs learn the difference between illegal contact and pass interference? These refs have been horrible and the proof is the number of increased fighting and chippiness around the league … whistles blow too late, they are hesitant in all of their calls, and soon someone is going to get seriously hurt.

    NFL is a contradiction because they clearly do not care about player safety, just $$$.

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