Replacement ref blunder in Bills-Redskins game was inexcusable


On one hand, it’s unfair to slam the replacement officials for harmless, superficial preseason errors like referring to “Atlanta” as “Arizona” (after all, they’re both seven-letter words with an “A” at the front and an “A” at the back) or giving the number of the ball carrier when announcing a holding penalty.

On the other hand, it’s shocking that a crew of officials concluded that a punt that clearly was downed in the field of play during the Redskins-Bills preseason game was a touchback.

I hadn’t seen the video until Wednesday morning, when NFL Network replayed the game.  The punt was clearly fielded and downed at the four yard line.  Making the mistake even more glaring is the fact that the call wasn’t a real-time brain fart; someone on the crew persuaded the referee during the change of possession that the ball had been touched in the end zone, and no one else on the crew was able to persuasively speak up.

This means that:  (1) the person who thought he saw the ball touched in the end zone has some sort of vision or cognitive impairment; (2) the rest of the crew wasn’t paying attention, or also has some sort of vision or cognitive impairment; (3) whoever on the crew saw what the rest of us saw was unable to make a persuasive case to the referee, who leads the crew and makes the finals decision; and/or (4) the referee made a bad decision to take the word of the official who has some sort of vision impairment or cognitive impairment.

Regardless of the reason(s), it’s an unacceptable outcome.  While the mistake was rectified via replay review, the Bills shouldn’t have been forced to use a challenge — and the game shouldn’t have been delayed by several minutes to fix a clear and obvious and inexcusable mistake.

While the league is feigning nonchalance regarding the possible problems that can arise when the replacement officials are handling real games, there has to be very real concern right now at 345 Park Avenue about the things that could go wrong.  Thus, for the good of the game, here’s hoping that the league considers a temporary expansion of the replay system to give the folks in the booth (who are the regular replay crews, not replacements) the ability to nudge the replacement officials away from making a mistake that could affect the outcome of a game.

Even better, here’s hoping they work this thing out.

39 responses to “Replacement ref blunder in Bills-Redskins game was inexcusable

  1. Yep. That same night the refs were doing bad in other games causing Belicheck to come out the next day publically supporting the real refs. It was horrendous on the replacements to say the least brother. Sure hope the regulars comeback for the regular season.

  2. The so called “professional” officials, have nothing to crow about either. To H#ll with their demand for pension rights. They make damn good money for something many would for a lot less. These guys whine like they are something special. Get over yourselves

  3. It is inexcusable.
    But at this point,it looks like we are stuck with these replacements for now. The real ones apparently don’t want more Refs hired to draw from or some be hired full time,etc.
    I really wish in the new agreement the head Ref has to participate in the post game press conference. I guarantee they’d strive to be better. Last year was horrendous.

    IF we are going to be stuck with these replacements, how about giving each team an extra challenge per game to compensate?

  4. Piling on the replacement refs has become it’s own cottage industry around here

  5. If I personally knew one of the replacement officials, let’s just say I’d place a large wager on whatever game they’re officiating that week. I’m sure I’m not the only person with this idea.

  6. “While the league is feigning nonchalance regarding the possible problems that can arise when the replacement officials are handling real games”

    The league is being consistent. They act the same way when the “Pro” ref’s make glaring, inexcusable mistakes.

    As I stated in a previous post, it will be interesting to see if everyone that is so “outraged” at the performance of the replacements is equally vocal when the “Pro”‘s make similar mistakes.

    Maybe I looked away when it happened, but I dont remember any of these people being this vocal when the “Pro”‘s made many (if not all) of the same type of mistakes during any game, much less a pre-season game.

  7. There have been plenty of inexcusable blunders by the “real/professional” referees. I can see the league sticking with the replacements, as they are no worse than what we had before. The integrity of the game isn’t affected when you got different bodies making the same stupid calls.

  8. We have at times seen equally glaring mistakes from the regular officials so don’t act like they have done any better.

    Furthermore this was the first time these people were out there and under intense scrutiny. With each passing week they will feel more comfortable and as a result do a better job.

  9. That wasn’t even the worst blunder. There was one in the Giants-Jaguars game where Ryan Perrilloux threw a pass after he stepped over the line of scrimmage (mind you there was less than 10 seconds remaining in the game).

    The penalty should have resulted in a 5 yard penalty, loss of down, AND 10 second runoff. The first two were called, but somehow the 10 second runoff wasn’t enforced, thus allowing one final play with about 2 seconds left in the game.

    Had The Giants won on a hail mary, it would have been an illegal win.

  10. Everyone thinks these refs are just average guys like you and I, these guys do have refering experience before. are they nervous, hell yes. but dont tell me that every week there isnt a head scratching experience with the regular refs. tell me how many times Ed Hulk Hochuli with his tight shirts has made mistakes. here is one similar to the Arizona mess up. here is the famous fumble/pass
    the new refs are going to get better, and that is scary for the reg refs. trhe NFL wants permanent refs, the regular refs do not want to give up there day job. I think the reg refs should be scared that if these “scrub” refs show enough and are willing for this to be their only job and can put more effort into being trained than the Part Time reg refs. i dont blame the replacement refs, i htink they could be good and in the long run if this is their full time job they could be better.

  11. No excuses. However, until you know about what you speak of or have walked (run on the field)) in the shoes of one of these guys, it is easy to criticize. It is one thing to know the rules from a “couch” stand point…’s quite another matter learn the rule book, put it to memory and then to put it into practice. Nevermind even moreso to do it on such a grand scale.

  12. The NFL’s conduct in the referee negotiations has been abysmal. The replacement refs and officials don’t know NFL rules and the games have become embarrassments. All I want to hear at this point is that SOME progress is being made.

    I shudder at the thought of games that count using these officials. (as if the pros aren’t bad enough, I long for their return)

  13. Is it just me, or does it seem like a huge contradiction when the League gives out punishments to “protect the integrity of the game” yet has no problem letting these replacement officials referee regular season games?

  14. The replacement ref thing isn’t going to be an issue until one of them seriously alters the result of a game in the regular season. Right now, players, coaches and, more importantly, viewers, simply don’t care. (they should, but they don’t)

  15. So when the striking officials come back, I hope it makes news like this. And, is called inexcusable!!! Cause I know they never make inexcusable mistakes that cause teams to make unnecessary challenges….

  16. Sorry to see this so many days later, i watched the game it was clearly inexcusable. any one defending the call by talkign about the regular refs a) didnt see the play or B) also has said eye sight impairment. a pop warner ref could make that call. Every game i watch with those refs makes me nervous for the real games. how many teams can lose a win if they ref 2 weeks due to bad officiating, not to mention the slow down of games due to them being confused as hell.

    the ref in the giants game missed an obvious pass interference in the end zone on the field goal drive, i didnt have the game in HD and could see it blatently. when a reciever is going for the ball and only gets 1 hand up when the DB is all over him its an easy call. We woulda won the game with a td there as opposed to a FG. i was glad to see all the monday night c’mon mans were for the refs.

    Bring back smedium shirt hocculi

  17. This was only ONE of the horrific calls in that game. The Bills recievers were being dragged to the ground and there was never a call…I think the thing that fooled the one official on the touchback call was one of the Bills gunners passed the guy who downed the ball, got close to the endzone, put the brakes on and stepped over the line. He wasn’t involved with touching the ball, but acted as if him going into the endzone would have caused a touchback. Some ref saw that and figued he was the guy with the ball…

  18. in a perfect world no coach should ever have to use a challenge. at least these guys got it right after the review. the nflra guys are not much better. the new guys will get better with experience and confidence

  19. Greg jennings bobbled touchdown and Jake ballards touchdown that was called back. Illegal hit to the head when rodgers helment isnt even touched. Jennings fumble which WAS REVIEWED and still the refs who made the playoffs(call it payoffs) still got the wrong call. You won’t talk about those plays but will talk about every little thing the replacement refs do. Those 4 calls were horrible. One changed a game from being 42-32 to 38-35 doesn’t that ruin the integraty of the game? Then packers are 14-2 and giants are 9-7 with wins over ne and Gb. And for players talking about the replacements not knowing all the rules of the game.

    giants-49ers I wanna say 2003 but may be wrong. Giants lining up for a game winning field goal. A lineman lines up as an eligible reciever. The play blows up, the lineman runs a route and is pulled down by his collar while trying to make a catch. Pass interference is called so giants get another shot at the kick. But wait the eligibile receiver who checked in before the play was ruled ineligible. Off set penaltys game over giants lose due to the refs not being able to do the job they are paid to do. Many of the mistakes are just as bad as a guy in his first game making a bad call

  20. I can’t tell the difference in horrible officiating between replacements and guys that have been there for a while. The blunders are equally the same. Replace them all

  21. If the idiotic calls these replacement refs are making are going to affect the outcomes of regular season games then I want the regular season to be postponed until the NFLRA lockout has been resolved. I want my team to win or lose on their own merits and not because some ed it up.

  22. i recall the refs making an error last year that put a dagger in the Bills season. Against the Jets George Wilson had an int that DID NOT hit the ground. Not one angle had indisputable evidence to over turn the call that WAS MADE ON THE FIELD but because the NFL wants to favor the NY Jets the play was overturned. Dagger.

  23. Pushing this pro-Union narrative down our throats everyday isn’t going to change any minds or make the old refs magically seem competent when they never were.

  24. @harrisonhits2
    According to you, if refs get better after each week, then the real refs would be perfect by now….

    I feel like I am the only one that wants the real refs back. I know they are not perfect, just like Brees or Brady are not perfect. However, they are miles ahead of these guys. An nfl team makes more money after one game then we will make in our life combined. Why would they not want to pay to significantly increase the quality of the game.

  25. At halftime of the Bills/Skins game Gailey had to run over and stop the ref’s from letting Washington run a play when time had run out. They were awful for both sides. The Skins got boned also. These guys gotta go.

  26. I liked how, in the Dallas game, Romo had to show the Referee where the NFL hash marks are. A play ended in the dirt infield area of the baseball diamond at Oakland. The ref, apparently used to college hash marks, spotted the ball way outside. After Romo’s chat he picked it back up and spotted it appropriately.

    Just a couple plays later, following a Dallas punt, a member of the Cowboys kicking team made contact with a ball in the field of the play near the 10, but didn’t catch it cleanly. The ball bounced towards the sideline, eventually going out of bounds at the 2. The official on that side of the field picked it up and placed it on the sideline as if to spot the ball there at the 2. During the commercial, the ball was apparently moved and correctly spotted where the first Dallas player made contact near the 10.

    At least the replay officials are the real thing. They have a separate contract from the officials on the field, so at least when bad calls are challenged we should end up with mostly the correct result.

  27. It comes down to the fact that everybody in any profession makes mistakes. That being said I would rather have an experienced doctor performing my surgery rather than a less qualified replacement. Yes the pro refs make mistakes and bad calls, but they are going to do so less frequently.

  28. I saw that game, there were so many false starts over twitches and “breathing too hard” type moves, and yet there were at least 2 times of blatant pass interference that were not called, both on 3rd downs and stopped drives.

  29. Instead of attacking all the refs why not conclude this one guy probably is over his head? When blogging became or started becoming popular there were serious blunders made by some. Should we have dismissed all bloggers as inept because of others who were not skilled enough to be an appropriately informed source of info?

  30. well said ftcsubs.
    this is what the preseason is for, so players and refs can get back into the swing of things. these refs were going around to differant training camps refing the practices and trying to get better. i think when the season does start we wont here anything more than we would with the old refs {who get the big calls wrong}.

  31. We were watching the game live (thanks to the internet) and if you watch the Head Ref come out from under the reply booth you see him say to the other Ref “Not Even Close”

    These guys are going to cost someone a game or two.

    As well as all the wasted challanges

  32. I saw this when it happened and it was unbelievable…..and he didn’t realize his mistake! Totally absurd! The NFL and Refs need to come to an agreement now, and get these guys off the field. Most have been sufficient, but is sufficient what we want?

  33. Inexperience, nerves and rule difference between the NFL and college rules can cause someone to “think” and not automatically react because they have to mentally check themselves. All this takes place in a split second. Easy to criticize but difficult to be on the field in these circumstances. Crews take time to develop. All that being said it would be nice to have the regular officiating crews return.

  34. @hulkhogansays: Hey Brother, since your always trolling on the niner blog I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you that I plan to light you up mid season when your team is tanking and BOB isn’t the second coming. Stop talking trash and you’ll be left alone otherwise it’ll be all day everyday till you learn to humble yourself. Since that’s not gonna happen you’ll be hearing from the Niner Nation. Good luck sunshine

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