The Replacement Refs
Everybody is making such a fuss about the replacement referees this season. Maybe I’m just a jaded Jets fan, but the regular guys suck at their job anyway. Not for nothing, but the “Pro” refs were doing such a terrible job over the years that the Coach’s Challenge was instituted. It’s even been expanded because they’re always blowing calls in the end zone and the NFL decided it wasn’t fair to charge the coaches one challenge for something the refs often reverse on review anyway. On top of that, if a coach challenges and wins two calls in a game, he’s rewarded with a third challenge. It’s true that challenges slow down the game and kills that natural feel of the game. Some say that there should be room for human error. It isn’t about just getting the play right, it’s about convincing the ref you got the play right.
So the old regime isn’t getting all the calls they’ve come to rely on. Sure, there was a holding call that was missed in the Giants/Cowboys game. In fairness, the Pro Refs could’ve missed that too. There was also the phantom time out in the Cardinals game. That was probably the worst of week 1. Its the only call from this weekend that I’d say the Pros would’ve gotten right. Every other bad call has been poorly called by the Pros countless times. It’s an even playing field now. I’ve always felt the refs were homers – there were teams that always got the benefit of the doubt while others were playing with a much tighter strike zone. You always hear that “Best Teams Under .500” list, aka Spoilers. They’re the teams who always had the ball-bounce-the-other-way. I guarantee you, those very same teams never got away with holding or pushing off on a defender. Like the refs have one set of glasses for one team, and a newer set for the other.
I, for one, am enjoying this. The Jets, especially pre Woody Johnson, were hated by the refs. Maybe they had it out for Hess, but the poor old Jets have lost plenty of games due to bad calls. These scabs are under way too much pressure to play favorites. That’s good news for Gang Green, bad news for Big Blue. You don’t think Eli would’ve gotten some “Roughing the Brady” calls this season? Absolutely he would. People tune in to watch Tom Brady and people love to watch a winner like Eli. The Pro Refs know that it’s their jobs to protect these guys even at the cost of fairness. Nobody is ever called with a “leading with the helmet/unnecessary roughness” when The Sanchise gets obliterated. And wasn’t the Tuck Rule invented, or at least dusted off, to benefit Tom Brady on a snowy day against the Raiders in Bean Town? That rule may have been in the books for ages, but I’ve never seen it called in a game. Not once.
The refs didn’t cost the Giants the game against the Cowboys; they just weren’t as well rested as the rest of the league. I’m sure the Pro Refs will be back by mid-season, but the replacements are doing a damn fine job and I think the League sees that. I think the League is thinking, they can wait these guys out. Had the replacements really bungled week 1, the strike would be over in time for the Bears/Packers game Thursday night. I’m in no hurry.
“The Replacement Refs” written by guest blogger