Let’s be honest, the refs were NOT the reason that the Jets lost yesterday, but it was hard to watch the game and wonder if the refs had the slighted clue. Blown replays, potential phantom downs, flags thrown in caving to pleading players, missed late hits … it’s clear that after two weeks the scab refs are doing a poor job and anyone who says otherwise is naive or plain stupid.
Beyond the fact that teams are gaming the system to learn what refs aren’t calling and using it to their advantage, there’s an overall inefficiency that seems to pervade the scab refs. Drew Magary takes the problem head-on on Deadspin and a great expletive-laden argument on why this is such an issue. Here’s an exceprt.
The real problem is that these refs have virtually no authority on the field. Because what have they done to deserve it?
We count on officials to make fair calls every game, but the lockout has proven that refs also serve the critical function of managing the game. Keeping time. Calling penalties promptly. Not having to huddle every five f—— minutes to talk over issues that are a complete mystery to everyone watching. Without that competent management, the game itself grows ragged and listless, and the anger becomes conspicuous.
I watched the games in Week One out at a bar, and yesterday the Red Zone early and then the Jets-Steelers late and saw a TON of terrible officiating across those two weeks. Beyond just the bad calls, the number of times that coaches had to scream at the refs to get the downs right, penalties right, or clock right was absolutely abysmal. Players are pleading for flags more than in a Serie A match and games are grindingly slow as the refs are unable to quickly come to a call, and even when they do it’s questionable how much they’ll get them right without a coach’s assist. Players are getting in late shots, not getting penalized for pushes and punches after the whistle, there’s a level of chippiness that regular refs would never tolerate.
Jim Nantz on the CBS broadcast of the Jets game yesterday gave the refs a painfully transparent slap on the back as if the crews had been doing a good job. Maybe the NFL will give CBS a discount for that at their next contract renewal? The scab refs are terrible and everyone knows it. Roger Goodell and the NFL are saving pennies to endanger their players, infuriate their fans and essentially make the product worse for a minimal savings. There’s a reason that the refs in the NFL stay in the NFL, and there’s a reason why these crews aren’t getting it done. We’ll be seeing these same crews at least for three more weeks, and that’s three more weeks than they should be out there.