After watching the third week of the National Football League’s 2012-13 season, one thing is clear; fans everywhere were outraged at this year’s replacement referees.
Due to a dispute between professional referees and the NFL, a lockout emerged early in the season and replacement referees with little experience and training were called on to fill in.
Like many fans suspected, the replacements were not up to par for the task set at hand. With little respect from coaches and players and the heavy pressure to officiate games fairly and thoroughly, the replacements crumbled fast.
Numerous bad calls, lack of experience and the fact that these replacements couldn’t keep up with the fast pace game, spoke volumes to fans across America.
The game became inconsistent due to questionable calls, and not only did that affect game outcomes, but it put into question the NFL’s integrity.
One of the biggest outrages from fans happened at the Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers game on Sept. 24.
At the end of the game, Packers safety, M.D. Jennings, appeared to clearly intercept a Seahawks ball, but instead, a touchdown was awarded to Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, to win the game, in Seattle’s favor.
“The refs are blowing a lot of important games,” said Joey Ruiz, a San Francisco 49ers fan.
Ruiz, along with other 49er fans, witnessed another shady call by referees, in his team’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
During the fourth quarter, 49ers had no timeouts left, but Niners coach Jim Harbaugh, believed he did and threw a review flag anyway, in order to have his team’s record of timeouts reviewed.
After reviewing, it was decided that Harbaugh did not have an extra timeout, but was awarded one anyways.
Although this call didn’t affect the outcome of the game, it did put the replacement refs and NFL’s integrity into question, leaving a lot of fans wondering why the Niners were awarded an extra timeout for no reason.
Lastly, one of the biggest concerns in regards to the replacement’s inability to keep up with the game, is player safety.
In the Oakland Raiders game against Pittsburgh, Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was knocked unconscious after a helmet to helmet hit by a Pittsburgh defender. Helmet to helmet hits are considered a penalty in the NFL rulebook, yet no penalty call was made by officials standing nearby.
However, as bad as these replacements refs proved to be, fans have to remember, you get what you pay for. When you hire and pay for incompetence, you’re going to get just that.
The lockout ended on Sept. 26, two days after the questionable call at the Seattle vs. Green Bay game. Perhaps, the only upside to this football catastrophe, is that these replacements proved the need for the original referees, just as the originals had hoped.
The original referees came back the day after the lockout ended to officiate the Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens game to a standing ovation.
The original refs should thank the replacemetns for their ignorance because not only did the originals receive their jobs back, but a deal with the NFL was finalized to increase their pay from $149,000 in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013 and in 2019 the average will jump to $205,000.