Thirteen Calls the NFL Replacement Refs Need My Help With!
If you don't watch football, you might not know that the NFL and the regular referees are having a contract dispute (not much of a dispute - refs wanted more money, owners said "No!" and threw them out), and now the NFL is using "replacement" refs (euphamism for, "hey you, want to wear a cool, striped shirt, and get paid for it?") who seem to be having a little probably with the intracasies of the NFL game - either that or they don't know the rules of the game from a hole in the ground! So here are a few tips that might help them out:
1. Holding - Those two lineman out there aren't supposed to be hugging or dancing with each other. They aren't married and they ain't best of bros, ref! In the words of one defensive lineman - "I haven't been held that much since I was a baby!" Throw the hanky, ref - or tell them to get a room!
2. Hit on a Defenseless Player - The NFL is supposed to be a kinder, gentler game now. Concussions are Bad. So imagine my confusion as I watched the replacement ref throw a flag when a defense player gently "helped" an offensive player out of bounds (please!), but ignore when an offensive player took out a linebacker with a blatant blindside shot. Here my tip ref - if you can't figure out which hit you should thown the hanky on, just go with the one that resulted in a player laying unconcious on the field. Come on, man!
3. Unneccessary Roughness - All I can say on this - I watched a quarterback get tackled by his package - that has got to be unneccessary roughness, right?
4. Roughing the Passer - I admit that this one is tough on the regular refs, but with the replacement refs, you're more likely to see a flag for a phantom hit that never happened than for the real hit that almost takes the quarterback's head off. You don't have to be perfect, just be consistent!
5. Pass Interference - This one leaves me cringing every time the ball it thrown. Is the corner allowed to climb inside the receiver's uniform with him? Apparently so because I'm seeing it every game. At least that's better than the dreaded phantom interference call - when the corner never touches the receiver, and still gets flagged!
6. Illegal Use of Hands - Tip - if the defenseive lineman's helmet comes flying off, it's a good chance the offensive lineman was helping. And he wasn't doing it so they could kiss - might want to watch for that.
7. Illegal Contact - Okay, a corner or safety is allowed to "contact" the receiver within the first five yards. But giving him an all-over body massage? That might be a bit much, don't you think?
8. Blow the Whistle - It's simple. When the play is over, blow the whistle. Because here's a clue. NFL players are a bit Pavlovian. Whistle once, they go nuts. Whistle again, and they stop! It's like magic. If you forget to blow the whistle, someone will keep going until they rip someone's head off.
9. Stop the Fights Before They Start - NFL players tend to be a violent bunch. You refs better get a handle on the players from the first play. It's always easier to lighten up than tighten up! When there are about a dozen 300lb guys rolling around fighting, it's a little late to try and get things under control.
10. Was it a Penalty or Not? - Don't pick up the flag you just threw because you're tired of the coach over there on the sideline yelling at you! If you're right, you're right! If you're wrong, you shouldn't have thrown the flag in the first place.
11. Replay Isn't There to Correct Your Mistakes - Everyone knows you're hoping the coach will call for a review to fix your mistake. Shame on you!
12. Games are Already Long Enough - Well, to the fans, not really. Unless it's a night game and our team is playing and we have to stay up to watch it! But for the players, most definitely. Every time you have to stand around in a Zebra Huddle, asking each other what the rule is - remember, we have to get up at 5:15 in the morning! Get the call right - sooner rather later.
13. False Start - The easiest play in football to get right. If the 300lb guy moves first, he's wrong! If you say you didn't see a 300lb guy move - you need glasses or something!