Just A Reminder: The Replacement Refs Will Screw The Daylights Out Of Your Favorite Team In Week 1
Just thought I'd pop in and let you know that the NFL, a league that makes over $9 billion in annual revenue, still hasn't reached a labor agreement with its actual, experienced referees. As a result, replacement refs have been used throughout the preseason, and they've made a habit of leaving specks of shit on the usually-comfortable bed that is your NFL-watching experience.
Make no mistake: If no agreement is reached before the start of the regular season, these guys will mess something up in a big moment in Week 1. And when that happens, it's entirely likely that their mistake comes during crunch time, hurts your team, and costs them their first win of the season. This is simply how these things work: The replacement refs will screw your team, because the universe hates you and never wants your city to win any Super Bowls.
Let's start with this useful little nugget from Shutdown Corner, which I've included specifically to scare the bejesus out of you:
Many of these officials come from the high school or college sub-division level, one was fired from the Pac-10 back when it was the Pac-10 in a sweep-through of underqualified refs, another was fired from his teaching job for sending hate crime-level mail, and another may have been fired from the Lingerie Football League.
Yep. Hate-crimers and the LFL's unwanted scraps could very well be holding your team's balls in their hands during a decisive two minute drill in just over two weeks. And, like a well-rested male rabbit who's come upon a gaggle of oblivious lady rabbits, they are going to absolutely screw the daylights out of your favorite team as you sit there, horrified.
That's just how these things work.
We haven't seen anything especially catastrophic yet from the replacements, but we have seen some alarming misses that, had they happened in the final few minutes of a prime time regular season game, would've caused at least a few fanbases to go into spontaneous cardiac arrest. Some of the latest examples:
- During Thursday night's Cardinals-Titans game, the refs seemingly forgot how many timeouts each team had.
- Also during Cards-Titans, they assumed that a holding penalty against the Cardinals should offset a penalty for 12 men on the field against the Titans (it shouldn't).
- During the Packers-Bengals game, they displayed a poor understanding of the defenseless receiver rule, mistakenly calling Bengals safety Taylor Mays for a 15-yard penalty on a hit that was legal.
There have been some pretty bad misses, but none of them really pop out at you as game-changers. The call on Mays, in fact, was easily one that an actual referee could've fudged up. The problem is, though, that these little mistakes are piling up at a rate exponentially higher than they would had the actual referees been on the field. Meaning that the chances of phantom pass interferences and holding no-calls at key moments is also going up (the replacements have actually been doing a worse job as the preseason has worn on, according to some coaches). It's only a matter of time before a mistake by a replacement ref costs a team a game.
Hopefully, this whole "We're not going to pay the refs the extra money they want, which, amortized over a year and spread over 32 owners, is pretty much nothing" strategy the NFL is employing is simple brinkmanship: If a deal with the real referees is reached prior to September 5th, when the Giants host the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium, then we're all good.
But if it isn't, then your team is totally going to be the one that gets screwed.
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