NFL referees are being criticized for another set of high-profile blunders this week, leading to a chaotic Sunday of football.
As ESPN.com noted, replacement NFL referees admitted they blew two calls in Minnesota’s victory over San Francisco, and a number of other questionable calls may have affected the outcome of other games.
In the Minnesota-San Francisco game, referee Ken Roan said he twice granted 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh video challenges after Harbaugh called timeout, despite the fact that challenges are not supposed to be allowed in that situation. Both challenges came within a span of six plays late in the game.
“What I told him was, ‘Well you challenged it not knowing what the result of the play was going to be,'” Roan said. “So I granted him the challenge and we went and looked at it. That was wrong. I should not have.”
“My interpretation of it was that he could do that based upon the time factors and not knowing it was a challengeable play to begin with when he called timeout,” Roan added. “If you don’t have a timeout to lose, you can’t make a challenge.”
There were other mistakes, like referees who walked off too many yardage on penalties in the Lions-Titans and Bengals-Redskins games.
The problems with the NFL referees led to a strange sequence at the end of the Bengals-Redskins game. As Robert Griffin III spiked the ball to stop the clock with 7 seconds left, tight end Fred Davis was called for a 5-yard false start penalty. One of the referees then incorrectly signaled for a 10-second runoff, which would have ended the game, and the team was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when they argued the call.
When the dust settled, the referees tacked on 25 yards worth of penalties against the Redskins instead of the 20 that remained, leaving the team in a 3rd-and-50 situation.
“They threw the flag at us, and there was half of the (Bengals) team on the field,” Shanahan said. “I was disappointed in that.”
The ineptitude of the replacement NFL referees has gained strong criticism from a number of sportswriters, and a search of “replacement referees” on Twitter yields nearly unending complaints. As Forbes contributor Darren Heitner wrote, their performance is starting to affect the integrity of the league.
The result of constant replacement referee missteps is an abundance of questions asking whether the integrity of the NFL game is in serious jeopardy. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines integrity as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” For a league that has been hell-bent to prevent the demise of its product, its hard-line approach in the ongoing negotiations with the NFL Referees Association is apocryphal.
What do you think about the performance of replacement NFL referees?