NEW YORK (WFAN) — To former Giants quarterback and current NFL analyst Phil Simms, having replacement officials work pro games is a “no-win” situation.

The replacements have had a number of head-scratching moments already, including a holding penalty against Jayron Hosley in the Giants’ preseason opener that wide receiver Victor Cruz later called “mind-boggling.”

Hosley was returning a punt when he got the flag.

“I think it is a big, big deal,” Simms told WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on Wednesday. “I think we underestimate how good the officials that cover the games in the NFL, how good they are.”

LISTEN: Simms with Boomer & Carton

(You can download the entire interview HERE.)

The likelihood of replacement officials having to learn on the job — that is, when it really counts during the regular season — grows each day with Week 1 just around the corner and fans still waiting for a deal between the league and the NFL Referees Association.

“No matter what, even if they do a good job, the public and the media and the coaches and the players (are) going to scrutinize them so much that it’s going to be a huge deal Monday morning after the first Sunday of football,” said Simms. “I just think that there’s a no-win for the replacement officials.”

During an appearance this week on the CBS Sports Network, Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka acknowledged there were some hiccups from the officials but said he expected “some kind of a fall off.”

Kiwanuka told Jim Rome that he’s really more concerned with player safety, especially “if you have guys out there who are taking liberties with the lack of calls.”

Simms told Boomer and Carton that if he were in pads, he’d put the replacements to the test.

“It’s gonna be interesting,” he said. “I think if I was a player, and especially a defensive back, I’d be grabbing and holding and I’d dare those replacement officials to throw that flag on me.”

With the concussion debate still raging and with fallout lingering in the wake of Bountygate in New Orleans, can the NFL afford another potential hit to its integrity?

“I used to walk out there and … (the officials) had a sense of authority to them, and you know they were going to be in control,” said Simms. “I don’t know if you can have that now.”

What’s your take on the replacement refs? Be heard in the comments below…

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