Replacement referees’ bad calls are ruining games, possibly seasons

The NFL is facing another lockout by the NFL Referee Association. This type of lockout is less publicized because it isn’t obvious who is being locked out. We frequently complain about NFL referees for terrible missed calls that actually happen less than we’d like to believe when it’s our team on the line. Though we complain that we’ve never been presented with an alternative, it’s obvious that we all miss our “replaced” referees.

This past Monday’s football game, the Broncos ended the first half with a score to get on the board and cut the lead to 13 points. To start the second half, the Falcons came out strong and marched down the field with the Denver defense on their heels running a no huddle and looking ready to score.

On a crucial first and goal on the Giants’ 10-yard line, Matt Ryan was barking orders and checks with the Denver defense scrambling to get set. Then the play was blown dead because the referees incorrectly placed the ball. The previous play ended with a 5-yard penalty for holding to be added on to where the runner was down after a 4-yard run. You could say that this was an honest mistake but these are professionals and this moment could have ruined an otherwise perfect drive.

Examples like these are going to pile up this season. The backlash from the replacement referees is growing with each week and game announcers are making it their between-snap conversation, as well as working it into their half time shows. After this dismal week two, NFL Live on ESPN compiled a video of the worst moments of the weekend for the referees.

Though these first two weeks of the NFL season have been very exciting, there has been a tall shadow covering this season. The officiating has been the worst it’s been in a number of years. It seems as if every game has a call that is glaringly incorrect; this consistency is cause for worry. If this is an issue in the second week of the season, then what is going to happen when a close call means the difference between a winning record and a losing record in week 10? It’s possible that this lockout won’t even last that long, which would be the best outcome. It could last all season, and we could see the fates of teams hanging in the balance by questionable calls.