LeSean McCoy: Replacement ref said “I need you for my fantasy team”

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As the storm rages regarding the replacement officials and the NFL wagons continue to circle tightly, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has pried open the latest can of worms in this never ending conundrum.

McCoy told 94WIP in Philly that, during Sunday’s win over the Ravens, a replacement official told McCoy, “I need you for my fantasy team.”

While it’s possible that it was said in jest, it’s the latest stain on the overall credibility and integrity of the replacement officials.  From the official who is a professional poker player to the official who was pulled from the Saints-Panthers game for being a rabid Saints fan (and posting about it on Facebook) to the official in the Seahawks-Cardinals game who had been getting paid by the Seahawks to officiate at practices, to the influence of fantasy football, the short-time replacements with no year-to-year interest in keeping their jobs are far more likely to be influenced by non-football factors than the locked-out officials.

That’s why the NFL should be concerned that one of the replacement officials (or maybe more) are working with organized crime.  If the NFL’s vetting failed to catch fairly obvious issues, what about the problems that someone actually took the time and effort to conceal?

UPDATE 11:40 a.m. ET:  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells PFT via email that officials are not permitted to play fantasy football.

86 responses to “LeSean McCoy: Replacement ref said “I need you for my fantasy team”

  1. in what context was this said?
    reaching for straws here, if you have ever watched soundFX you hear the refs joking with the players. im sure one of the regular reffs have said they need some player on their fantasy team as a joke.
    way to over react.

  2. And exactly how are any of the arguments listed in this article going to see the difference between regular refs and replacement refs?

  3. I’m not nearly as concerned about a fantasy quip as I am about the hour long first quarter the Keystone Cops presided over last night. And, yes, someone is going to get hurt. Crazy.

  4. I think it was more of a complement than anything malicious, but yeah, it continues to look bad for the NFL. Can you get any worse than Monday Night’s game? The Broncos deserved to lose, but that fumble was clearly recovered by the donkeys, a couple PI calls were phantom calls at the best. This whole thing is spiralling out of control and players are going to get hurt once a the scuffles turn into fights.

  5. The organized crime argument might not be as ridiculous as I had initially thought. The mob is known for no-show jobs, and that’s essentially what happened with the officials in the game last night.

  6. What’s the organized crime part about? Did I miss something or is Mike referring to the poker player?

  7. It is starting to feel like the league is running an NFL referee fantasy camp. “Sign up and you too can officiate an NFL game and hang out on the field with real NFL players! First 50 to sign up get a free ‘I was an NFL ref’ t-shirt.”

  8. Sorry why exactly should we assume an official might be working with organized crime? While poker is annoying to watch on TV its actually legal, just because you don’t understand a game well enough to play it successfully doesn’t mean u should ignorantly condemn it.

  9. This story will blow the lid off of the replacement officials as we know it.
    Also anyone involved in organized crime will tell you that organized crime does not exist.

  10. People are going to make this out to be more than it is. And while the replacement refs have been horrible, this is not an example. The fulltime refs always talked to these guys and always tried to get them on their side. They developed relationships. It keeps the game in line. Without this you end up having less control over the game. Again, this is a non issue that everyone is going to blow out of proportion.

  11. Seems like the credibility tide is changing in favor of the real refs.

    There is a high likelihood that someone with the employment flexibility of a replacement ref could be bought.

  12. Shouldn’t something like this be blamed on the NFL, not on the whole of replacement officials? Some of them are out there doing a really good job, and should probably be considered when this all blows over (cause Lord knows no one wants to see Jeff Triplette ever again).

    It’s getting tiring to hear all of the replacements lumped into the same group every day for every single mistake. I only hope that when the real officials come back, they’re held to the same standard that everyone is holding the replacements to.

  13. He’s the best runningback in the league (even gets compared to Barry Sanders). I can’t blame the ref for wanting him on his fantasy team… Tho why do the refs get to play fantasy football? kinda weird…

  14. Oh, come on! If you’re not a fan of the NFL then you shouldn’t be a referee. That’s like me applying to a job at PFT and not liking football. You have to have some kind of interest in the job you apply for, otherwise you wouldn’t be applying.

  15. You know, I know the replacement refs have made some serious gaffes, but think about it; was anybody really that happy with the old refs? I remember them screwing up calls to the point that people were saying they gave the Super Bowl to Pittburgh when the played Seattle. I say just use instant replay for ANY call that seems in doubt, and I mean everything; penalties, ball placement, etc. It would make the game longer, but at least you would get the calls right.

  16. I have no faith that the NFL’s investigations division is able to identify any official that is gambling on the games, including the one they’re reffing. Seem like they couldn’t care less how pathetic of a job these guys do or if they have alternate motives. They just line up the “good jobs” and “atta boys” while turning a blind eye to the rapidly declining quality of the game that they’re trying to pass off as the real deal. But hey, at least it’s not costing them money to continue to hose the fans and players.

  17. We just assume everything will get better with real refs. The problem with these guys is they didn’t really vet them at all, not that they’re significantly worse at reffing the game. Last year’s Lions-Saints game was probably the worst called game I’ve ever seen and that was done by the full times. I think we’re just assuming the grass will be greener with the normal refs but I doubt that’ll be the case.

  18. he didn’t say “fantasy team”. Quote what he said not what you wanted him to say. From the article it’s obvious the ref has a fantasy involving McCoy.

  19. This stuff is great. A part of me is actually enjoying this because all of the fights and cheap shots make it feel like watching a game in the fifties and sixties. I keep waiting for Frank Gifford and Y.A. Tittle to show up.q

  20. that game last night took 4 & 1/2 freaking hours..

    ppl keep saying they hope the real refs will be held to the same standard as the replacements..

    barring a catastrophic injury or weather delay, I’ve NEVER seen a game move that slowly, and it was caused ENTIRELY by the incompetence of the replacements.

    another thing.. ppl keep saying they’re waiting for the replacements to affect the outcome of a game..

    look no further than the phantom offensive pass interference call in BAL/PHI (that wasn’t even flagged, but somehow still called). Ravens lose a touchdown to a terrible call, Eagles go on to win by 1 point.. if that’s not affecting the outcome, I really don’t want to find out what is.

  21. Just so it’s clear- Brian Orakpo was already lost for the season on an unflagged late hit in STL. It’s not a matter of WHEN someone gets hurt due to incompetence, but how many will be injured.

  22. While I want the regular guys back, too, this is just light banter with a player, which has been happening between referees and players/coaches for a long time.

  23. It seems that on Sunday night on Football Night in America there was complaining going on about the replacements not calling illegal contact downfield. This morning ESPN is touting stats showing how many more pass interference calls have been called over last year. There is no excuse for the replacements not enforcing the right penalty yardage. However, if an entire sideline is going to bitch and moan about every call that goes against them, to the point that they come onto the field of play, can’t that be blamed for slowing down the game as well? So are they calling too many or not enough? Was it the replacements fault last night that Fox was advised by someone to challenge the 12 man call? What are they supposed to do ignore him? Or just change their mind and say yep you’re probably right there was only 11. I can’t imagine the uproar we would have this morning if they would have thrown everyone out of the game lastnight that needed to be. Funny how it’s also the teams that lose that are complaining the most. Bet Ray Lewis doesn’t bitch if he stops the Eagles on the final drive.

  24. Entering the World Series of Poker does not automatically make her a “professional poker player”. Talk about taking something out of context. It’s scary to think I watch a game run by a bunch of simpletons.

  25. This has become a circus show, and the media is feeding the trollolz.

    Basically, you can’t have a life and be an NFL ref at the same time. I guess the “regular” refs didn’t have a life outside of officiating.

    These types of articles are putting the ‘regular’ refs in some sort of a pedistal even though we all know they blow calls left and right throughout the season. Don’t believe me? Go on Youtube and watch the hundreds of videos of regular refs clearly F’n up easy calls; from calling the wrong side of the coin to phantom pass interference calls.

    If NO news was made about the replacement REFS subbing in for regular REFS this season, very few people would know the damn difference. Suddenly, everyone is an expert in the NFL rule books.

  26. Lol at that update the “officials are not permitted to play fantasy football.” People are not permitted to drink and drive or murder people either, but there goes Michael Turner and O.J….

  27. Steve Young hit the nail on the head… the NFL doesn’t care. The refs are demand inelastic. We are all going to continue to tune in, buy tickets, buy merchandise, and overall still pay attention.

    I was hoping the ratings hit that must’ve occurred towards the end of the 1st quarter would open some eyes.

  28. I think people forget how horrible the normal officials were. (See: 2009 NFC Championship game.)

    The media and broadcasters and players, all card carrying union members are going over the top to criticise and make life hard on the replacement refs. Give these guys a break… the previous refs weren’t that good either.

  29. The NFL has a vetting process for the real refs. They hired these replacements so fast that they still haven’t done proper background checks. It would not surprise me one bit if it came out that one or more of the replacements was betting or shaving points .

  30. I’m no Denver fan whatsoever, but watching last night’s game made me think the refs were motivated in some sort of way to have Atlanta win. The calls against them and ignoring the ones on Atlanta were beyond shocking.

  31. The NFL is a great organization. I think we all have wondered at one time or another at how meticulously the NFL has controlled what happens both on and off the field. Mindful of this, I think the NFL has found itself in a bit of a pickle.

    They (NFL) are afraid to fully come out and say that the replacement officials aren’t performing as well as those they replaced (believe me – I know its tough on the replacement officials), but they also aren’t taking steps to ensure that the replacements are adequately trained AND they certainly are losing the PR battle when something like this allegedly occurs (of course the replacements play fantasy football – but to say it…eek). My point – the NFL is doing a poor job of controlling/training the replacements – which is uncharacteristic of this organization.

    Regardless – replacements or not – the NFL should do a better job to protect the integrity of the league during this labor dispute.

  32. This scenario absolutely needs to present itself on FX’s series “the League”. It will make for a great episode or series of episodes.

  33. I’ve been speaking out not necessarily for the replacemments, rather for the NFL and their stance. I believe the replacements will improve and the regulars are greedy while unwilling to be held accountable.
    However, these replacements have a chance to show themselves as men and competent professionals and i just can’t believe a vrown man would say something like this, or not tell the league he’s a fan of the team he.s assigned
    Is there no integritg in this world anymore?

  34. A perfect example of “someone is going to get hurt because of this” could be seen Sunday night in San Francisco.

    Late in the game, Stafford drops back, is hit, goes down to a knee, and the play is dead right there (down by contact). But, no whistle blows, so he gets up, drops back further, and then takes another hit.

    The thing is, the play was challenged…by the Lions, who didn’t want to give up the additional six yards that Stafford lost by taking a second sack on the same play.

    Had Stafford actually done something like throw for a first down, the play would have been challenged by SF, and nullified, because he was very clearly down the first time.

    Had Stafford suffered a knee injury on the second takedown, this would be the lead story on every NFL site and negotiations with the regular refs would be underway.

  35. The replacements are fine and are doing a good job, because Goodell says so. What a flipping disgrace this whole thing is.

  36. People can complain all they want about the refs as long as fans keep watching nothing major will change.

    Ratings are higher than ever and fans are as football crazed as ever. If you actually think complaining on a message board calling the league arrogant (which they are) and shortsighted is going to matter you’re deluding yourselves.

    If you don’t like it don’t watch that’s the only way the league’s mind will change. But I think we all know that no matter how bad these replacement officials are we will all still watch and the league is laughing all the way to the bank.

  37. where did this come from?

    “That’s why the NFL should be concerned that one of the replacement officials (or maybe more) are working with organized crime.”

    i haven’t heard anything about this. is this something that is made up just to be more dramatic or has this actually happened this year?

  38. “Stiller43 says: Sep 18, 2012 12:05 PM
    It was probably a joke…get over it”

    Joking about the integrity of the game is no laughing matter when billions of dollars are stake. Why do you think pro sports are so militant when it comes to gambling? Why do you think that the TSA freaks out even if you “joke” about bombs?

    In your schoolboy “humor” you may think it’s funny to you and your lowbrow buddies, but not to normal and rationale people with a lot at stake.

  39. Here’s an idea to end the lockout. Why doesn’t the ref’s union picket the games? Surly the players union will honor the picket line of another brother union. Right? That’s what meakes unions so powerful and great right? Sticking together?

  40. zn0rseman:

    You NAILED it, brother. They’re fabricating problems at an alarming rate. The tool bags on the show formally known as “Inside the NFL” were all crying, in unison, for the “real” refs to come back. Yet, cited not a single fact as to why.

    These guys have made some mistakes, but holy cow the union shirts make just as many, every single game.

    The two biggest things right now. The losers are crying about it more and more (no surprise there) and the players and coaches are taking advantage of that situation, and acting out during the games. The beginning of last night’s game was larthargic. But it wasn’t because the refs were incompetent. It was because the stupid players kept getting in pissy little fights on every play, and the John Fox kept barging onto the field.

  41. I am sure it was the ref that called the offensive pass interference with 4:00 to go that would have sealed the game for the Ravens. I knew the fix was in.

  42. Goodell knows he has us over a barrel. No matter what they do, we will not quit watching. We are NFL junkies.

    I just hate that the GOP-types will do anything to bust up unions to keep more of the profit and to keep the workers at each others throats for the crumbs that fall off their tables.

  43. “Joking about the integrity of the game is no laughing matter when billions of dollars are stake. Why do you think pro sports are so militant when it comes to gambling? Why do you think that the TSA freaks out even if you “joke” about bombs?”

    Dude…..you just tied the NFL lockout to terrorists killing hundreds/thousands of people. It is NOT the same. also, it is billions of dollars vs trillions of dollars (lawsuits, damages, worldwide markets – not to mention human lives which you can’t put a dollar value on)

  44. This has got to stop. It is getting out of hand, and it is an embarrassment to the league. The league is funded by us fans. Yet they don’t care what we thing because they know we will just take it and continue to buy tickets and merchandise . It is the facts. Like Steve Young said last night, THEY DON’T CARE.

  45. Fun is over. Each side has proven that they need each other. NFL is risking major future embarrassment. This article makes a good point. What is to stop a replacement ref from taking a bribe from organized crime or a gambling outfit? They have no long term security and this is their best or only shot to have a nice pay day. That would be a major black eye for a league that is still nursing a few shiners..

  46. md228010 says:
    Sep 18, 2012 1:12 PM
    Refs cost Peyton the game…

    By shining a laser pointer in his eyes before he threw or did one of them sneak Manning a Mickey and put a muscle relaxer in his Gatorade so he’d throw passes with the arm strength of his dad, Archie…? Just curious.

    That game was as shoddy as it gets for officiating.

  47. Personally I don’t think players should be allowed to play fantasy football either.

    You’re up 34-10 in the 4th quarter. What’s to stop you from allowing a TD pass to “your” wr on your fantasy team…

    It’s the appearance of impropriety that is unsettling to me.

  48. Didnt the entire ravens defense complain about the reg refs insulting them in 2007 during a game against the undefeated pats when the ravens had a chance to win? Oh but this is far worse

  49. Well the real refs dont have much incentive to keep their jobs either. They have other jobs and have made enough money to last them… Unlike players like warren sapp who make much more than them and then run out. Playing in the nfl for one year would set up most people for life.

  50. panthers34 says: Sep 18, 2012 11:52 AM

    This stuff is great. A part of me is actually enjoying this because all of the fights and cheap shots make it feel like watching a game in the fifties and sixties. I keep waiting for Frank Gifford and Y.A. Tittle to show up.q
    Right, fights and cheap shots are groovy until you consider how much larger, stronger, and faster these players are than players were fifty years ago.

    That’s not a knock on your favorite Hall-of-Famers, that’s just a fact. Sports science and technology; physical therapy; and strength and conditioning training have developed and advanced parallel to the growth of the NFL, and it’s simply unarguable that modern players are, on average, dramatically bigger, faster and stronger than they used to be.

    Which is why, as much fun as scrappy football can be, it has no place in today’s NFL, where any after-the-flag scuffle has the chance of ending a career, which is not fun for anybody.

  51. maximus929 says: Sep 18, 2012 1:56 PM

    Personally I don’t think players should be allowed to play fantasy football either.

    You’re up 34-10 in the 4th quarter. What’s to stop you from allowing a TD pass to “your” wr on your fantasy team…

    It’s the appearance of impropriety that is unsettling to me.
    What’s to stop you? Jeez, I dunno, your paycheck? Your family’s welfare and your quality of life after football? A TD allowed drops millions of dollars off of a DB’s future contracts over the rest of his career.

    I agree with your central idea, I just don’t think there are a lot (or really any) players who would choose fantasy points over real dollars and/or wins.

    Take MJD’s kneel down at the 1 yard line a couple years ago. He had a whole press conference snippet apologizing to his fantasy owners for not scoring on that run. Yeah, it was meant in humor, but the point is that players will choose real football over fantasy football 100 percent of the time.

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