More proof that replacement officials can’t take the heat

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It’s become increasingly clear in recent weeks that the replacement officials aren’t ready for the biggest stage in the sport they’ve chosen.

The problem seems to be that the junior junior varsity can’t adjust to the pressure of making (or not making) calls at the NFL level.  From the size and speed of the players to the voices of the coaches to the taunts of the fans in attendance to the blanket of TV cameras, there’s a sense of paralysis that routinely keeps the replacements from making quick, efficient, and confident decisions.

They want to get it right, but they can’t get it right quickly.  And that’s not something one four-game preseason on the job will fix, at least not for the full complement of replacements.

Peter King shares in MMQB an anecdote from one of the final preseason games that the league should find troubling, to say the least:  “Official calls defensive pass-interference in front of the penalized team’s bench.  Head coach lambastes the official.  Official picks up the flag, tells the coach he’s not going to make the call.  Coach is stunned.  Imagine what will happen when something’s actually at stake.”

And so, with the games that count only two days away, the league needs to find a way to thicken the skin of the replacements, getting them to tune out the coaches and the players and the crowd and the millions of eyes crawling on their skin and treat the game like it’s a game at the level to which they’re more accustomed.

It would be far easier, relatively speaking, to find a way to get the real officials back on the job.  Here’s hoping that happens.

33 responses to “More proof that replacement officials can’t take the heat

  1. “They want to get it right, but they can’t get it right quickly.”

    So same as the regular refs.

  2. How pissed would you be if you were the opposing coach in that situation? Not pissed at the coach yelling, cause you know – that’s what they do -, but at the ref who pussed out on making a legit call. I’d probably have tried to fight him.

  3. I’d like to see the regular officials back. With three additional crews so the ineffective crews can be benched and replaced if their performance doesn’t improve. The non-call above might have changed the outcome of a game. We know that Scott Green made a non-call that changed the outcome of a PLAYOFF game. He’s still employed. Ed Hoculi’s crew makes call that change the outcome of games. They still get assigned games. Why would we want them back? I don’t – not without a mechanism to finally replace them.

  4. Pay the officials!! How can you say you are worried about player safety and have these CFL officials umping the games?! Steppin over dollars to pick up dimes on this one Goodell. You have to see the big picture with player safety here.

  5. Imagine all the flags that will be thrown simply because a player motions for it. Nothing pisses me off worse than when a player demands (and gets) a flag.

  6. If the NFLRA didn’t bully the D I officials out of being the replacements than this wouldn’t be an issue. The NFL needs to have accountability with its officiating and if we can get through this season I’m sure the better officials will apply for the NFL

  7. All refs mess up, including the regular ones. All refs blow calls that change the outcome of games.

    The replacements won’t be as good. You know what? I don’t care.

    The game is players, not refs. If the regular refs never return, it’ll be all the same to me.

  8. I don’t see why any ref nowadays in any sport would have thin skin. Whether it is fans, coaches, players or overbearing parents, the ref will always be subjected to ridicule and heckling regardless of their officiating.

    If they are intimidated by that, they shouldn’t be reffing.

  9. Mannn… I can already see what’s coming:

    Replacements officiate Wednesday night (Cowboys-Giants) and do a terrible job.

    Two media hot spots/massive fan bases absolutely lose their minds.

    NFL realizes what they’ve done and makes concessions in negotiations; gets real refs back by Sunday in time for rest of week 1 schedule

    Cowboys and Giants fans get even more pissed because they were the only ones who had to deal w/ replacements.

    Should be entertaining.

  10. The horrible officiating is actually ruining the games. Last Vikings game was a joke,,the NFL should do anything to get the real refs back before the season becomes a comedy of errors counts for nothing!

  11. I’m also hoping the regulars get back on the field. But from what I’ve read they are being unreasonable. Until they soften their stance on some long overdue changes, especially on accountability. it’s going to be sloppy.

  12. So how much is the NFLRA paying you Mike? I mean you incessantly carry on about how bad the replacements are, surely you have a reason. The regular refs aren’t that great in my opinion so the quality of the product isn’t greatly impacted. I say roll with the replacements, they’ll get better. And the regulars are so disillusioned that they think they should be above such scrutiny that you’ve put the replacements through.

  13. Maybe the new refs won’t blow a bradshaw fumble call. In the nfc championship game this year. All refs suck.

  14. “The horrible officiating is actually ruining the games. Last Vikings game was a joke,,the NFL should do anything to get the real refs back before the season becomes a comedy of errors counts for nothing!”

    Vikings don’t need replacement refs to make any of their games a joke.

  15. I think that anecdote came from the Rams/Ravens game on Thursday. Harbaugh only had to scream at a ref for a few seconds to get him to pick up the flag. This has the potential to be catastrophic for the NFL, especially if Vegas starts complaining about it.

  16. I understand that these replacement refs aren’t nearly as experienced, and arguably not as competent as the regular refs. But Florio, your constant union pandering (both to players and refs) has grown really tiring. The NFL can hire and fire whoever it pleases. That doesn’t have to meet with your approval, or even the approval of the fans. It is, after all, THEIR business, not yours, and not mine. If the replacement refs are inferior, they will at least be inferior across the board and not only in one conference or one division. And they will get better. It’s not like the regular refs never made egregious errors.

  17. Maybe they ought to start throwing bad sportsmanship flags when they complain about the officiating? That might shut them up.

  18. I’ve always heard the old pro’s saying something along the lines of…The best game a ref can have is when you don’t even notice him.

  19. I love the “The real refs make mistakes too so the replacements are just fine” argument.

    Real players drop balls, throw bad passes, miss blocks and tackles and don’t always know all the plays.
    They might as well just use replacement players too. Right?
    One team will win and one team will lose regardless of who the players are so they don’t matter.

  20. So Peter King says it happened but gives no details of which ref or even which game. Even if it did happen the ref could have changed his mind independent of the coach’s tirade, happens all the time with regular refs. The only reason any serious fan reads King is to get the background for reading KSK. PK writing about his personal travel plans and coffee drinking and then trying to pass it off as a football article is a complete joke!

  21. Same thing happened in the Alabama – Michigan game. Ref threw a flag for pass interference in front of the Alabama bench and Saban went ballistic on the ref. That same ref picked up the flag 30 seconds later.

    That was a veteran Big 12 officiating crew that did that game. What’s the point of this story? All refs make mistakes.

    Keep in mind, it was a veteran NFL officiating crew that botched a coin toss in a thanksgiving day game a few years back.

  22. Everyone likely agrees that we all aren’t down with bad calls. Most, among us, want the game called straight.

    And thing is – the regular refs have a long checkered history of botching calls themselves, so I do not look at them as some form of highly elite officiating saviors.

    I prefer people who want to work, strive and excel. Mistakes will come either way — they have for all eternity.

  23. The real officials are out there. The only thing stopping the old officials from working is their union.

  24. I’ve always heard the old pro’s saying something along the lines of…The best game a ref can have is when you don’t even notice him.

    That is perfect!!!!! When is the last time anyone and their best buddy had a cold one and said, “Dude, that was the best officiated game ever!”

  25. blackbug99 says:
    Sep 3, 2012 7:02 PM
    That is perfect!!!!! When is the last time anyone and their best buddy had a cold one and said, “Dude, that was the best officiated game ever!”

    It did seem the college games last weekend went more smoothly than NFL games w/replacement officials have during the exhibition season.

  26. Of course the regular refs make mistakes, they are human. But if you can’t see the drop off in ability of these ‘JV’ guys, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.
    Cant really say who’s right or wrong here, but I’ve always wondered why the refs weren’t full time employees.
    It’s a damn shame.

  27. I don’t understand this. Its not rocket science. Why is it so hard to find suitable replacements? Half the real refs are really old and I don’t think they see all that well. Where did they find these replacements that they are so awful at such an easy job.

  28. Somehow, many in the media are going ballz out to paint the picture that the replacement refs are incompetent clowns.

    And after that, the players picked up on it.

    But bear in mind that the old refs stubbed their toes repeatedly.

    The term “over-officious jerk” was coined by a very wise Harvard-gratuated achiever – and it was directed at the “regular refs.”

    Speaking of Marv Levy-isms, “where would you rather be than right here – right now???” Evidently, that doesn’t apply to the regular refs.

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