NEW YORK (WFAN) – With negotiations at a standstill, the NFL told its 32 teams in a memo Wednesday that the locked out officials won’t be on the field for Week 1. Replacement referees will instead open the regular season.
And then the replacements, right on cue, provided plenty of ammunition Wednesday night for their shaky performance during the Giants’ preseason finale against New England.
It could get interesting, football fans.
“I’ll tell you what you want to take out of it — that the referees are going to be brutal,” former Jets quarterback and WFAN co-host Boomer Esiason said Thursday morning.
Listen to Boomer’s comments:
The officials, led by crew chief Don King, had more than a couple head-scratching moments on Wednesday. The lowlight may have come after a punt by Steve Weatherford, which featured three announcements by King and a lengthy interruption in play.
The eventual call? A pair of penalties against the Giants.
“The replacement referees are going to be an unmitigated disaster,” said Esiason. “I don’t care what anybody says. Whether they get the calls right or they get the calls wrong, the games are going to be long. There’s going to be a lot of discussion. Guys have got to make sure they’ve got certain things right. Timing is going to be off.
“And I thought, if that were a regular-season game last night, Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin would have exploded on the sidelines.”
That could have been a taste of things to come at MetLife Stadium. Esiason’s morning show co-host, Craig Carton, said the NFL will have “a major problem on its hands,” especially if the replacement refs negatively affect the outcome of the Giants-Cowboys season opener on Sept. 5.
Several Big Blue players have already weighed in on the replacement officials. After the preseason opener, wide receiver Victor Cruz called one holding penalty “mind-boggling.” On ROME, Mathias Kiwanuka wondered about player safety “if you have guys out there who are taking liberties with the lack of calls.”
Even former Giants quarterback Phil Simms recently told Boomer and Carton that it’s a “no-win” situation.
After all, the NFL has many rules and nuances. Some of these officials aren’t exactly used to speaking in front of 75,000 rabid football fans, never mind a national television audience.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Esiason. “It is ridiculous that the NFL is going to allow replacement officials on the field (in the regular season).”
That’s a pretty strong statement from Boomer. Do you agree? Be heard in the comments below…