Friday, 28 September 2012 00:00
What will forever be remembered as the symbol of the replacement official saga in the National Football League is the image of two referees standing in the end zone over a crowd of Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks – and both men in stripes are signaling different calls.
The real loser wasn’t Green Bay – who were given a raw deal following a series of questionable calls and non-calls on Seattle’s final drive – but the replacement officials themselves. The abuse directed toward these men, who are likely just middle-class workers and diehard football fans just like the rest of us, was, pun intended, uncalled for.
The replacement refs stepped in to make sure football was delivered to its fans. The replacement refs threw themselves into unfamiliar environments under the highest stress level possible with coworkers they likely never met before in order for the season to start on time. How are they at fault?
Clearly, the referees were overmatched and underprepared for professional football. That much was obvious throughout the NFL’s first three weeks. The history books may include an asterisk to include the fact that regular referees didn’t step in until week four, who knows? What we do know is that football returned on schedule and yes, replacement refs we should be thanking for that.