The NFL replacement referees have made some bad calls and delayed games by up to 45 minutes.
They convene on the most basic of penalties to discuss what happened and to make a unanimous decision.
And in the Week 3 Monday Night Football game, in which the Seattle Seahawks hosted the Green Bay Packers, the refs blew it.
There are no more excuses.
Breakdown of a Bad Call
On the last play of last night’s game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson scrambled away from the Packers’ pass rush and heaved a final throw into the end zone.
Golden Tate was surrounded by five Green Bay defensive backs. Tate shoved cornerback Sam Shields in the back, which sent Shields to the ground, and the officials missed the blatant offensive pass interference.
But it got even worse.
Safety M.D. Jennings was in the back of the pack, timed his jump right, and caught the ball, which should have ended the game in a 12-7 Green Bay Packers win. However, Golden Tate also grabbed onto the ball on the way down, but after Jennings had secured the pass.
The officials called the play “joint possession,” which goes to the offensive player by rule, similarly to “tie goes to the runner” in baseball.
However, there was a fundamental issue with the call: joint possession can only be applied when both players catch the pass at the same time. Tate only had one arm on the ball, which he possessed well after Jennings had intercepted Wilson.
The referees called the play a Seattle touchdown and sent it upstairs to the booth for a review, where the call was confirmed.
The Green Bay Packers and their coaching staff left the field before the call was upheld. Then the Seahawks left the field before the referees forced players from both teams to come back for the extra point.
The sight of eleven random Packers players that Coach Mike McKarthy had convinced to return to the field for the final play was honorable, but it left a sour taste in my mouth. The players were seen coming out of the locker room putting their jerseys back on and had to dig through piles of helmets to find their own.
Green Bay had won a tough game on the road and the replacement referees blew it.
Enough is Enough
They botched two calls on the final play alone, and having both teams leave the playing field before the game was officially over did not help their case at all.
Russell Wilson and Golden Tate made heroic individual efforts to give their team the W, but missed calls aided them tremendously. If this isn’t enough of an impetus to settle the dispute between the officials and the NFL, I don’t know what it could possibly take to resolve the issue.
The Packers certainly have the right to appeal, and the replacement referees will get torn to pieces in the following days by the media. What happens if the Packers don’t make the playoffs because they are one win short of winning the division or a wild card spot?
The referees have missed penalties throughout the season and delayed the games by unreasonable amounts, but this is the last straw.
When the outcome of the game is directly influenced by the officials’ inability to make the right call, it is time for them to go. They can go back to their regular jobs, and the regular referees, who have been practicing their craft during their time off, can right this sinking ship that is the NFL’s officiating.