Skip to main content

Stop Making Excuses for the NFL Replacement Refs

I saw this headline on ESPN the other day:

“Flags by replacement, regular refs about the same”

Excuse me for swearing, but so what? How does that have anything to do with…well, anything? It’s like ESPN decided they were going to throw out a red herring just to confuse people and/or trick them into thinking that the NFL is actually not screwing over the fans and the game by employing referees who are unfit to ref Pop Warner.

The idea that the number of flags thrown by replacement refs is in any way the issue is laughable. If I knew that the average number of flags thrown by an actual official was 15, I could take the field as a ref and throw 15 flags whenever I felt like it. At the end of the game, ESPN could conduct its stupid study and see that, hell, when Kevin refs the amount of flags thrown is about the same as the amount of flags thrown when the regular refs are out there.

Looks like there’s no problem. Move along. Everything is just kosher.

Riddle me this – if five of the flags thrown were for bad calls, and they missed five other calls during the course of the game, are we still on the same plane? Are the replacement refs still doing their job if they got 10 calls wrong, but still managed to throw the same amount of flags as the average?

No, obviously. It’s a ridiculous study that proves nothing. Literally, nothing. It has zero benefit to football fans or society in general, other than to throw people off the scent of how laughably bad the replacement refs have actually been. But what the hell? Let’s run in on the front page of ESPN. Maybe some of the fans who are less…intelligent…will see it and spread the false message around the water cooler at work.

Let’s just put this in laymen’s terms: No matter what study comes out or who says what, the eye test is the ultimate barometer here. And, the eye test has told us one thing – these refs are freaking terrible.

I’ve also heard this one a lot:

“Well I don’t know if I agree with a call, but we can’t put ourselves in a position where one call can make the difference in the game.”

You know what that argument is like? It’s like someone rear-ending me on the highway and then I say, “Well, I shouldn’t have put myself in a position to be hit by driving in the high-speed lane.”

It’s absolutely nonsensical. I get the gist – we sucked during most of the game, and if we had made a few more plays earlier we wouldn’t have been in that spot anyway.

But so what? Why does that excuse bad calls that decide games? Every team could have done something differently during any game. Nobody plays a perfect game. And, when you get two good teams playing, a lot of times the game is close simply because the teams are relatively even, not because anything did anything wrong. At that point, when a ref’s bad call decides the outcome, it’s the ref’s fault that the game didn’t end the way it should have. It has nothing to do with making mistakes earlier in the game.

The Patriots had a game-winning touchdown called back last week because of an absolute BS holding call on Rob Gronkoswki. Instead of the touchdown, they settled for a field goal attempt and Stephen Gostkowski missed it. The Patriots lost.

Now I ask you, how is that not on the refs? The Patriots played poorly all game, and I kept hearing that they “didn’t deserve to win” anyway. Okay…fine…but you still should have won.

There are things that shouldn’t be subjective in the game, like the calls on the field. Those should be done correctly and, if they were done correctly in that game, the Patriots would have won. Simple as that. The earlier mistakes weren’t good, and they certainly didn’t instill any confidence going forward, but they don’t excuse a bad call that decided the game.

The people who say that the Patriots didn’t deserve to win the game must also believe that the Cardinals did deserve to win. So a team that fumbles the ball on 3rd-and-13 on a toss play in its own territory when it really should be taking a knee and basically ending the game deserves to win? It’s a flawed argument. The team that wins usually deserves to win, unless something that was out of that team’s control was incorrectly messed up. Like the Gronkowski holding call.

Sorry, I need to take an Alka Seltzer or something. I just blacked out for that whole rant.

Related Content

Week 2 In The Books

You Don’t Mess With Bill

What We Learned From Last Night’s Bears/Packers Game

If I Were There Bobby, I’d Punch You In The Mouth


Popular Video