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Hey NFL, How About Now

September 25, 2012 - Al Stephenson
I fully intended to write this yesterday afternoon. My suggestion was going to be that it was time the NFL replaced the replacement refs with the real thing. Had I written this before last night's debacle in Seattle, I would have seemed prophetic indeed. The perfect storm that came to fruition at the conclusion of the Packers-Seahawks game, might just be the impetus the NFL needs to get a settlement with the officials union. I just don't get to say "I told you so!"

You have been watching the NFL games this season. Using officials from the Division II and Division III of the college ranks has been a disaster. Before I go into the most disturbing aspects of their officiating, let me say this. I believe these officials are honest, hard working and dedicated people. Then again so am I, and you certainly would not want me officiating NFL games.

That being said, two things bothers me most about the replacement refs. One is the late flag. It seemed to me that if a player came up after a play and protested vociferously enough, a flag would come flying no matter how long it had been since a violation had taken place. Secondly, it seemed the replacement refs were not sure of many rules and sideline huddles delayed the games unnecessarily. Mind you, there were other problems associated with the untrained (for the NFL) refs, but these were the two most obvious to this football fan.

Critics of the replacement refs have become more vocal as the season has wore on and the last two NFL games will likely get the talks between the NFL and the officals union moving this week. Sunday night in the Patriots-Ravens game, there were enough flags thrown to choke the proverbial horse, yet Chris Collinsworth was begging for more flags at the beginning of the game. As players were getting real chippy with each other, Collinsworth claimed the referees needed to get control of the game by throwing a few penalty flags. The must have heard him.

Then last night's final play took place. An obvious offensive pass interference call was ignored (yes, I know this could happen with regular refs and it's been a bone of contention with me for years) and then what appeared to be an interception was ruled the game winning touchdown catch. I'm betting Green Bay Packer fans are still seething about the end to last night's game. They will be for a long time to come.

The view from my seat suggests that it is time for the NFL to get the regular refs back on the field. Will this put an end to all the consternation with officials? Of course not. But it has to be better than the embarrassment the NFL is facing with the current situation.


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