What’s up RaiderNation? Its time for another weekly edition of “My Two Cents”. This week, I am going to talk about something that is really beginning to bother me, and that is the replacement officials. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see one of our games get decided by a blown call. Sure, I know blown calls happen all of the time, but I don’t believe I have ever seen as many head scratchers in a full season as I have seen in the first 3 weeks of pre-season with these replacement refs. Here are some examples of what I am talking about:
It all started before the very first play of the 2012 preseason. During the coin toss of the Hall of Fame game between the Saints and the Cardinals, the official mistakenly announced that the Saints had won the coin toss, when in fact it was the Cardinals who won. It started going downhill from there.
Lets take a look at a call that occurred in week 1 of the preseason. In the game between Buffalo and Washington, with 3:49 left in the 1st quarter and Buffalo inside their own 45, Moorman punts a 49 yard punt that is downed just inside the 5. But the replacement refs rule that it was downed in the end zone and that it was a touch-back, and spotted the ball at the 20. Chan Gailey challenged the play and the call was overturned, but he had to use one of his challenge flags to overturn a call that anyone can clearly see was not even close. But don’t take my word on it, you be the judge (my apologies for the poor quality):
There were more questionable calls in week 2, but lets skip ahead to week 3. In the game between the Giants and the Bears, on the last play of the first quarter, The Giants had the ball on their own 15 with a 3rd and 15. On the play, Eli Manning is forced to throw the ball away to avoid a sack. The refs called a pass interference penalty against Chicago, which was questionable as the pass was thrown way over Rueben Randle’s head, and was in no way a catch-able ball. But what really made the call laughable is the fact that despite the fact that it was not the end of the half or the end of the game, they ruled that the next play would be played with no time left on the clock in the 1st quarter. At least history was made as it was the first time in the history of the NFL that the 1st quarter ended twice in 1 game.
Also in week 3, in the Chargers’ game against the Vikings, Eric Weddle clearly strips the ball from a still standing Lex Hilliard. The Chargers recovered the fumble only to have the refs rule the ball was down by contact. The only problem with that call was that the only part of Hilliard that was touching the ground when the ball was stripped, was his feet as he was still standing. In that same game, San Diego DB DeAndrew Pressley intercepted a ball that was ruled an incomplete pass. It was quite plainly an interceptions, and although after Norv Turner challenged the call it was overturned, that was 2 challenge flags he had to throw to get obviously bad calls overturned. Now the fact that this happened to San Diego would typically make me laugh, but I am looking at the big picture here.
Then there was the Cardinals’ game against the Titans. In that game, the Titans were guilty of having 12 defenders on the field when the Card’s snapped the ball. On the play, there was a holding call on the Cardinals and the refs called off-setting penalties. The only problem is that it is not off-setting penalties as the 12 men on the field by the defense nullifies the play.
Now I could go on and on here. Not knowing how many time-outs were left, Calling Atlanta Arizona twice in the same game (and Arizona was playing in that game), calling an unsportsmanlike conduct call on a player who did the Clay Matthews muscle flex after sacking the QB, etc. And while many of these seem like calls that are unlikely to influence a game, the point I am trying to make is that there has been a myriad of them, many of which could be game changers, and we are not even through the 3rd week of preseason. As I said at the beginning of this article, I do not want to see my Raiders lose because some ref whose last job was in the Lingerie Football League, blowing a call that costs us the game (the tuck rule comes to mind here).
Look, I am not a fan of labor unions, strikes, or big business sticking it to the little guy. I understand that the refs feel they deserve more than they are making, and I agree, at least to an extent. I also understand that the NFL cannot just cave in to a group of contracted employees who are trying to hold them hostage. But I also know that the NFL is a multi-billion dollar business, and we the fans are their consumers. They get their money from us watching the football games on TV, listening to them on the radio, and going to the games in person. They make their money off NFL products that we purchase such as jerseys, jackets, and so many other items. We deserve to be given a quality product, with quality players AND officials.
So I only have this to say to the NFL; please, settle this dispute between you and the regular refs, and do it before the season starts!! You owe it to us fans!!!
Well, that is it for this week my Raider brothers and sisters. Check back next Saturday for another edition of “My Two Cents?. Peace out RaiderNation!!
Questions? Comments? Email me at OldTimer@silverandblackdaily.com