The National Football League has become a laughing stock over the first two weeks of the season. (And, no I am not talking about the Oakland Raiders.)
The NFL replacement referee's are too busy following their fantasy football teams (LeSean McCoy on replacement refs and fantasy football) or trying to referee their favorite NFL teams.
Brian Stropolo was scheduled to be part of the crew as a side judge for the New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers game, but there was one problem: HE IS A SAINTS FAN!
Thank god for facebook or he would have called the game. The NFL became aware Stropolo was a Saints' fan hours before kickoff. They saw a picture of Stropolo posing with Saints' gear on when they checked his facebook page. This all started because Stropolo revealed his game assignment on facebook, which is an NFL violation. The NFL heard about this, and checked his facebook page and noticed him in Saints gear.
The replacement refs showed how inexperienced they really are this past Monday. (Just turn on ESPN, the game is still going on.) Okay, not really, but it sure felt like the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons played for hours upon hours.
Towards the end of the first quarter, Broncos' running back, Knowshon Moreno, fumbled and then things spiraled out of control. A Bronco came up with the ball out of the pile, yet the Falcons were awarded the football. It took the refs nearly ten minutes to sort out everything. Players from both teams got into a melee and players from the sidelines were on the field shoving each other.
Atlanta Falcons' defensive end, Ray Edwards, accidentally shoved a ref when he was getting into it with a Bronco and was not thrown out of the game. He was called for a 15-yard personal foul penalty, which was quite entertaining when the ref made the call.
He called a 15-yard penalty on 93-red. Red?? Are you kidding me, are you calling plays or are you calling penalties?
So far this year, including the pre-season, the Atlanta Falcons have been called red and Arizona. (Go to :08 of this video)
On top of this, the referee's misplaced the football on two separate occasions after penalties on Monday night.
In two weeks we have seen teams get four-timeouts in a half. Penalties get marked off incorrectly. Refs being intimidated by opposing players and coaches and losing total control of the game.
Okay, enough throwing the replacement refs under the bus.
This is not on them.
These are guys who were either retired, refereeing division-two, division-three, or community college football.
This is on the National Football League.
It's a joke.
Roger Goodell talks about player safety.
Yet, he allows refs who are clearly inexperience to be in charge of what goes on from goal-line to goal-line. We have already seen players get injured because they were not clear of what was going on.
In week one, Tennessee Titans quarterback, Jake Locker, hurt his shoulder making a tackle after an interception. The play was called for illegal procedure, but was not whistled dead. As Monday Night Football's Countdown crew says, "COME ON MAAAAAAN!"
The NFL is not going to budge on a new agreement with the regularly used officials because ratings are still as good as they were last year.
It's sad because Goodell always talks about player safety and the integrity of the game, which are both going out the window with the replacement refs.
Hall of Fame quarterback and current NFL analyst Steve Young said it right after Monday's game. The NFL doesn't care about any of that, all they care about is the ratings and the popularity of the game.
That is not going to take a hit with or without the original referees.
The National Football League has the money to pay the original refs. All they are asking for is an additional $50,000 to the average $150,000 salaries.
That is chump change for the NFL.
According to Forbes Magazine, the bump in pay for the refs would account for right around 1% of the league's revenue.
The National Football League doesn't care. They love having the power because there is no question the NFL is the most popular sport in America. It continues to boast the best ratings on national television every Thursday night, Sunday, and Monday night.
There are only two things that will fix this problem. NFL fans' must not watch football, which is NOT going to happen. The other is the refs need to budge and accept what the NFL is offering.
As fans, we better get use to seeing the replacement refs for at least the next few weeks. The replacement refs are scheduled throughout week five, and I would not be surprised to see them make it past week five this year.
NFL players and coaches will continue to intimidate the replacement refs every week.
You can't blame them.
The players and coaches are already at a disadvantage with inexperienced officials. Calls are being missed left and right.
The Baltimore Ravens are still wondering where the offensive interference was when Jacoby Jones caught a touchdown to put Baltimore up by two scores with under six minutes left in the game (they lost 24-23 to Philadelphia).
The San Francisco 49ers are wondering why an obvious block in the back penalty was picked up in the fourth quarter. Randall Cobb took a punt to the house in week one to cut the deficit to a one-score game. Even Cobb thought it was obvious he didn't waste his time doing a Lambeau Leap.
(Maybe the officials just don't like the Harbaugh family, hmmmm.)
We will continue to see easy calls missed. Refs saying a five-year penalty on the offense (Go to :14 of video.) They will continue to not even look the right way when making a call (Referee looking wrong way when announcing penalty.)
I feel sorry for the replacement refs because they are the laughing stock on social media sites and on radio talk shows. They are trying their hardest, but it is not close to good enough.
It's not on them, it's on Roger Goodell and the National Football League.
So when you hear Goodell talk about player safety and integrity of the game, it is a flat out lie.
If Goodell really meant what he preaches, the original refs would have been on the field during the first week on the regular season.