Now Where’d the Replacement Refs Go When We Needed Them?

Since the return of the “professional” referees to the NFL games, I have seen some behaviors and calls that seem to show the long shadow of the replacement refs we had to start the season.

The Pittsburgh – New York game yesterday had quite a few “questionable” calls… No, I can’t say that. “Questionable” means that given the benefit of the doubt, you could call them right. These calls were just plain wrong. And even with the benefit of going “under the hood” and seeing the play again in slo-mo from multiple angles, they still got it wrong.

It was so bad that many comments on nfl.com implied that it appeared obvious to many that Goodell had “fixed” the game. Well, he did have a meeting earlier in the week with the owners of the Giants… nah!

I don’t think it was an attempt to “fix” the game as I am certain the refs could have gotten even worse if they had really been trying to insure a Giants victory.

But even without Goodell’s collusion, the game was not called very well.

The game with the Redskins and Carolina did not fare any better, though their officiating crew seem to be cut from the same cloth. It was so bad that on one call, with the Carolina player racing down the sideline, the side judge blew the whistle – apparently thinking the player had stepped out of bounds.

Now, we have been told for years that the whistle ends the play, regardless of what went on before, after, or during. A multitude of officiating sins over the years have been wiped aside because of this all important factor.

So, when the whistle blew, most the players stopped the action, except the player running down the sideline. Nobody stopped him – hey, the play was whistled “over”, you know? – and he ran for a touchdown. And, yes, it was then “called” a touchdown.

When did the magic whistle come to mean so little? (And why haven’t I seen the memo?)

The real refs returned after a truly miserable Monday Night Football game and looked a little rusty the first week back. But rather that getting better, they looked rustier the next week. This weekend, they looked even worse.

I don’t think Goodell is using his zombie zebra army to fix any games or to stack the playoff deck, but it certainly seems to be more of the continuing stench from earlier in the season.

Can it be that the replacement refs and these guys are really one any the same? Can it be that the replacement refs never really left us because they are still here in the real zebra outfits?

But that makes even less sense than the game-fixing conspiracy theory and a bit more decidedly south of weird for my taste.

Still, it makes you wonder how badly the replacements could have done in these games. And I cannot believe they could have been any worse than what we got.

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