The first three weeks of the NFL season have been filled with great games and plenty of surprises. But following Monday’s controversial game in Seattle, perhaps the only story on anyone’s mind will be the league’s replacement referees.
The crew officiating the game in Seattle pitting the Seahawks versus the Green Bay Packers made an atrocious call at the end of the game on a hail mary play, giving the victory to the Seahawks. It was just the latest in a bad week of officiating. The concern among owners when they locked out the regular officials had to be if the replacement cost a team a game – well it’s happened and could have ramifications for the rest of the season.
I honestly don’t think the replacement referees can be blamed; they have been put in a virtually impossible situation to succeed. They are not equipped or prepared to handle the speed of the NFL game (some of these refs were working high school games and even in the lingerie league for crying out loud). But there is no question that the most popular sport in the U.S. has taken a huge PR hit with this fiasco. I know people are still watching the games and heading to stadiums each week, but the watered down product has probably left many of the more casual fans looking for something else to enjoy.
The Twitter reactions to last night’s game, from players to journalists, was really what Twitter is about – instant reaction to a breaking story. Here are some of the best with some definitely NSFW:
Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints (@drewbrees): “I love this league and love the game of football, but tonight’s debacle hurts me greatly. This is NOT the league we’re supposed to represent.”
Josh Sitton, OL Green Bay Packers (@jsitton71): “The nfl needs to come to gb and apologize to us for fucking us! These refs r bums!”
T.J. Lang, OL Green Bay Packers (@TJLang70): “Fuck it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.”
Mark Cuban, Owner Dallas Mavericks (@mcuban): ” I would love to see what my reaction would be if a Mavs game ended like #MNF. #Expensive #NBAtime.”
Chris Rock, Comedian (@chrisrock): “If you’re holding your baby & I walk up and hug it, according to the NFL replacement refs, you have to give me your baby. #MNF [Green Bay].”
That was just a sampling of the reactions from around the league and by others around the world. The NFL on Tuesday made a statement that the referees missed an offensive pass interference call but that the game result would stand. And the countdown continues to get the regular referees back on the field. The question now: as a fan, do you care and will you still watch?