NFL Replacement Refs Deserve a Break

Finger pointing at the fall guys has become the norm in the NFL.

It’s no big secret to sports fans that the NFL is currently using replacement referees to officiate their games. This became the dreaded reality of the NFL ever since the labor dispute between the NFL and the official refs turned into a lockout. Ever since the announcement was made, media, fans, and team members have all been whispering about how bad the games are going to be.

From the get go, little was expected of the replacements outside of blundering calls, and missed fouls. In some cases, it really seemed audiences were more interested in watching the refs for mistakes, rather than the players. Botched pass play? Let’s look for a missed holding call an official ref would have never missed! Foul taking back a big gain? Clearly the fault is the replacement making a judgement call an official would have never screwed up. The replacements have had these kinds of scrutiny driven comments on every game, no matter the outcome. This, coming from the same fan base that has been largely claiming the games are being rigged by the officials for years. Blind hatred is being directed at what has become the easiest scapegoat to pick on. All sides are united, a rare occurrence, in attacking these men who’ve been handed their cards, and can’t do anything about it. The flop, turn, and river have already been laid on the table, and people are expecting them to win with a seven high, the absolute weakest hand in poker.

To be fair, mistakes have been made. You can point to them, but don’t fool yourselves into thinking official refs would have resulted in a largely different outcome. You also cannot rightfully blame the replacements for the state of things. They didn’t picket line the NFL offices and force the officials out. They didn’t feed dirty money to the owners to stonewall the negotiations. It was the NFL and the Official Refs that couldn’t come to an agreement. It was the NFL and Official Refs that got the league into this officiating situation. So, don’t go blaming the replacements for sour milk. It’s the people they’re replacing that left it out of the fridge in the first place.

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