NEW YORK (WFAN) – Despite the many come-from-behind victories and superstar performances through two weeks of action, the undisputed story of the 2012 NFL season thus far has been the replacement officials.
Coaches, players and fans have universally ridiculed their performance through Week 2, and with no plan in sight to bring the regular officials back it could be an ugly, ugly football season.
“I’d put (the replacement officials’ performance) as poor,” former NFL Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. “There have been games where not much has happened, so it has gone relatively smoothly. But if something out of the ordinary has happened, it has really seemed to affect the pace of the game and the time that it takes to get things sorted out. You saw that on Monday night and in several other games, and that’s worrisome.”
Many predicted that the replacement referees would struggle out of the gate, as they have been plucked from the lower divisions of college football and high school. Just prior to the season opener, WFAN co-host Boomer Esiason called the situation “an unmitigated disaster.”
“I think it’s really tough for them,” Pereira said. “You have to know the rulebook 100 percent. If you don’t, if you have to think about the rules during the course of the game, you’ll never be able to react and officiate properly. And I think that’s what they’re running into in many cases here. They see something and then have to reflect, ‘Is it a foul?’ And then it creates this interruption of pace. I think we’ve all noticed that.”
Maybe more alarming than the missed calls is the apparent lack of respect that the refs have been the recipients of. It’s nearly impossible for a football game to run smoothly if there is constant contention between coaches and refs.
“I don’t think the players respect them, and I don’t think the coaches trust that things are being done right,” Pereira added. “I think the coaches on the sidelines are very concerned that (the refs) are doing it right. There’s no respect and no trust at this point. It will be interesting to see, based on how horrible last week was, if the league steps in and says, ‘OK, you have to take control!'”
Replacement refs were called on during a dispute in 2001, but they only worked for one week during the regular season before a deal was reached.
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