Replace the Replacements


Oct 9, 2011; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner appeals to officials after a call during the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. San Diego won 29-24. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Carpenean-US PRESSWIRE

For those of you that watched the game last night, you might be under the impression that it was officiated well. It might be easy to say that the replacement officials do just as good of a job as the original officials.

In my opinion, last night wasn’t too bad. There were some obvious missed holding calls and a couple plays where the defensive backs were allowed far too much contact past the “five yard zone.”

Mathias Kiwanuka, of the Giants, was quoted, on, as saying, ” I haven’t been held as much since I was a baby.”

Although my initial reaction was to laugh, holding calls are one of my main concerns involving the scab officials.

Offensive and defensive pass interference calls are both up there on my list of concerns as well.

In High School you can make contact with the receiver until the ball is in the air. You can’t grab a wideout, but you can re-route them until the ball leaves the quarterback’s hand. As we all know, that is not the case in the NFL.

One of the major problems I have seen in the preseason is the allowance of a play to go too far and then throw a false start flag.

In officiating, a false start flag is known as a blow and throw, or throw and blow. Blow the whistle to stop the play and throw the flag. You try do to so at the same time but you want to make sure to blow the whistle immediately.

We’ve all seen it hundreds of times when a defensive lineman sees a twitch from an opposing offensive line and immediately stands up and starts to point it out. Linebackers do so very often also. If the replacements continue to be late on the whistle, the issue becomes a matter of assignment for the o-line.

In the free blocking zone, one and a half yards to three yards on either side of the line of scrimmage, depending on the crew, the offensive line is allowed to cut block. Not while a lineman is engaged with another defender, but if he is one on one, he can cut block the defender. If he is already engaged then a chop block flag should be thrown.

What if a saavy, veteran d-line member starts pointing out an o-line member on the other side that jumps while an offensive lineman that has the job to cut block him follows through and cuts said defensive lineman? There goes the “CLs,” so to speak.

That may seem like an impossible situation but I could see it happening.

I’d have to incorporate that thinking with my biggest worry for having the replacements calling games.

My biggest concern is that the replacements will be easily swayed when facing a moment of indecision on any given play. Let’s face it, the amount of pressure being placed on the “new” officials is quite large. They have been put in a very tough position. I, personally, can’t imagine being thrust into the task of keeping a multi-billion dollar business in check.

That being said, I’m a blogger for a Chargers Fan site. Although I have made it known that I have officiated at the youth, middle school, and highschool levels, I refuse to pretend as though I would be prepared to call an NFL game.

My experience was primarily as the head linesman. You line up on the sideline at the line of scrimmage on the side of the field that the chains are on. I did “whitehat”, or referee, two Youth Superbowls but my ability to run made me a better use on the side.

The distance between the position of the officials and the fans, is one thing to note that would contradict my worry. At the levels of which I have officiated, the fans are, at times, within 3 to 20 yards directly behind you. However, the fact that the coaches and players are right there in your back pocket in the NFL leads me to believe that it is conceivable that they may be “talked into” calls.

I am not trying to be an alarmist but there are far more issues than I have listed that should make all fans, players, coaches, and organizations terrified about Goodell and company allowing scab officials to “help determine” the outcome of NFL games.

I can’t imagine Vegas is completely thrilled either. Only time will tell.  We’ll see.

Thanks a lot for reading.