The Giants are like the rest of us — tired of replacement officials.
While coaches and most players have tried to soft-pedal the issue, a number of Giants players laid the blame on the league for letting it get this far.
“There’s no doubt the integrity of the game has been compromised not having the regular officials out there,” Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “We’ve got to get that taken care of.”
Brow-beating the poor saps who had little time to train themselves up from third- or fourth-tier status to the highest level of the game is pointless anymore, and most are tired of it.
That’s why it’s interesting to hear the Giants put it back on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I am not necessarily mad at the replacement officials,” said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. “I am more upset with the NFL for not handling this and taking care of this in due time.”
The Giants might get a solid crew for their Thursday night prime-time game against the Panthers, but after Monday’s Falcons-Broncos debacle, it’s hard to expect anything but chaos anymore.
And that’s where it becomes an issue for players, who at the end of the day are going to be more worried about their own safety.
“That, I think, has to be the most important thing,” Kiwanuka said. “I don’t think you can levy tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines in a week against players talking about ‘Player safety this, player safety that’ and not officials who can account for it. Because we’re human at the end of the day and if you let people get away with stuff they’re going to continue to do it.”
“When you look around at some of the calls being missed, player safety is the big issue. If you’re a guy who rushes the passer in certain situations, you want to know that the guys on offense aren’t going to try to take a chop block on you because they know they’re going to get away with it.”
Players are clearly pushing the boundaries, and safety Kenny Phillips said he watched Buccaneers defensive backs “walk Victor Cruz like he was a dog. He had his jersey the whole way up the field and they didn’t call anything.”
At this point, the complaints are interesting, but pointless. The league seems to have dug in on the issue, willing to withstand the criticism in favor of the larger war they want to win.