Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Shutdown Corner

Replacement officials continue to make a mockery of the NFL

View photo



"We expected going in, just like the players going through the preseason, that every week they would get better. The first week, we had some rough spots and we got better from the first week to the second week and we expect to get better this week, too, and on and on. This is the third week and it seems to me they've had a pretty solid first half. Uneventful, that's exactly what you want. That's the improvement we expect ... these current officials are the ones out there and we'll work with them." -- NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson.

"These officials have been trained. We've been working with them. We think they'll do a very credible job." -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Gentlemen, there are some things you just can't spin.

And one of those things is the simple fact that the NFL's replacement officials are turning the nation's most popular and visible sport into a complete and utter joke. Through the preseason, replacement refs, put in place due to a labor impasse between the league and the NFL Referees' Association, have bungled the simplest things -- clock management, where to spot the ball, and which signal corresponds with a penalty. Official Craig Ochoa even had trouble remembering which city he was in when calling the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 9.

[Video: The fastest fantasy risers among the rookies]

After a few attendant goofs in Thursday night's games -- most notably in the Tennessee Titans-Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals-Green Bay Packers games -- the beer league refs were at it again. This time, they showed their inexperience with extremely embarrassing calls in two games. First, this knee-slapper in the game between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears:

As much as we can figure, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman ended the first quarter with a defensive pass interference penalty. NFL rules stipulate that a game or a half cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the penalty is declined by the offense. The refs, led by referee David White, seemed to understand that much. What they failed to understand was that the first quarter is not tied to the same rules. And because they did not realize that, the Giants got an extra untimed play at the end of the first quarter. On a play that started at 0:00 of the first quarter according to the official gamebook, Eli Manning threw a nine-yard pass to Domenik Hixon.

"For the second time in this game, we've come to the end of the first quarter," announcer Greg Gumbel quipped.

[Also: Ryan Tannehill struggles in first game as Dolphins' starter]

Then, there was this beaut in the second quarter of the Vikings-Chargers game. With 12:27 left in the first half, Vikings running back Lex Hilliard lost control of the ball while still fully upright after a tackle by Chargers safety Eric Weddle. Nonetheless, Wayne Elliot's crew called Hilliard down by contact, and Chargers head coach Norv Turner had to throw the challenge flag. After a very long time indeed, the officials saw fit to reverse their decision. We're waiting for the video on this one, so we'll go with the eyewitness account of Mark Craig of the Star-Tribune:

A disgusted [Chargers head coach Norv] Turner whipped his red challenge flag high into the air before the Vikings had a chance to snap the next play into action. The ruling was overturned, giving the Chargers the ball at the Vikings' 31-yard line. Seven plays later, they kicked a 34-yard field goal to take a 6-0 lead.

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe may have put it best on his Twitter account:

The NFL really needs to kiss and make up with the refs. These replacements are horrible. Frankly, it's kind of embarrassing. I'm sure they're trying hard, but they're just not good. So many blown calls tonight in both directions.

Speaking of ball control and blown calls, let's play a game of, "What Is an Interception, Anyway?"

[Also: Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson shines in first NFL preseason start]

Chargers defensive back DeAndre Presley would like to know. And we would like to know why it takes three flippin' years to make a correct decision on a call that is crushingly obvious.

Now, consider this -- even though Norv's challenges were both correct, he had just one remaining in the game, because he had expended those first two. If the NFL is going to continue on with officials at this level of incompetence, the least it could do is to give the coaches an automatic challenge on every single play.

The most the NFL could do would be to come to terms with the real officials, because this is going to get very ugly when the regular season starts and the games actually count.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Pat Forde: NCAA probe targets Memphis-area football players
Jeff Passan: Big risks for Dodgers, Red Sox in potential blockbuster deal
Eric Adelson: Stem cell treatment could be the future of performance-enhancement
Shine: Christian woman fired from Burger King for wearing skirt

View Comments (1047)

Recommended for You

  • Former CB Brian Baucham Sues USC and Lane Kiffin

    Former USC Trojans' cornerback Brian Baucham is suing the university and ex-coach Lane Kiffin, according to an Associated Press report. In the September 2012 game, Brian Baucham collapsed during the second half and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance. Baucham hadn't played in USC's previous…

    SB Nation
  • Mark Cuban made comments about the NFL six months ago and he was right

    Peter King of Sports Illustrated looks back at the comments from Maverick owner Mark Cuban about the future of the NFL. ESPN's Marc Stein has a great write up about the premiere of the Berlin Tall's new movie.

    SB Nation
  • Rumor Roundup (Sept. 23, 2014): Sting, Austin Aries, Cesaro and the future of the Bellas

    Speculating on the rumors surrounding pro wrestling is a favored pastime of many fans, perhaps second only to actually watching the matches. In this daily column, we take a look at the latest rumors being churned out by the pro wrestling rumor mill. None of this has been confirmed as legitimate…

    SB Nation
  • DeSean Jackson doesn't realize the Washington Redskins lost to the Eagles

    Apparently Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson did not realize his team lost to the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday. Yeah, Jackson scored, he taunted Eagles players and fans, and he got his 'revenge' on this play. Check the scoreboard, DeSean.

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Washington34 - 37Philadelphia
    Game Recap
  • Play

    LeBron & CP3 -- Train Together By Day ... Party Together By Night

    Work hard, play hard ... that's the way it was for LeBron James and Chris Paul Sunday -- who hit the gym together during the day and the CLUB together at night. LeBron and CP3 spent their Sunday training at the gym at UCLA with Bron's Cleveland Cavs teammate Tristan Thompson ... and even posted a…

  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. needs to own hypocrisy, treat his fighters like he treats himself

    The five members of the Nevada Athletic Commission would be well advised to do a search of the Internet and read Floyd Mayweather's own words from May 1, 2012, as they question him Tuesday. Chairman Francisco Aguilar ordered Mayweather, not only the world's best pound-for-pound boxer but the owner…

    Yahoo Sports
  • Report: Steelers signing James Harrison after losing Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones

    In order to bolster their linebacking depth, the Pittsburgh Steelers are signing former NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison. The Pittsburgh Steelers had a convincing 37-19 win over the Carolina Panther on Sunday, but it was costly. Jarvis Jones was placed on IR-Recall after suffering a…

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Tennessee7 - 33Cincinnati
    Game Recap
  • GIF: Brock Lesnar Curb Stomped by Seth Rollins at WWE Night of Champions 2014

    At some point or another it was decided that the finish to the Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena rematch at Night of Champions on Sept. 21, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee would feature a run-in from Seth Rollins. It was also decided that Lesnar, vulnerable thanks to Cena spamming finishers for the last 10…

    SB Nation
  • Wayne Simmonds was ejected because his opponent was too slow

    Wayne Simmonds was kicked out of the third period against the Leafs on Monday night in the preseason opener. Korbinian Holzer of the Maple Leafs was really not alright with the above hit from Wayne Simmonds during the third period of the Flyers game against Toronto on Monday night. Simmonds gave…

    SB Nation
  • Gerald Wallace's contract is like a lottery ticket for the Boston Celtics

    Gerald Wallace was stoic last season. Wallace's three-year, $30.3 million contract was criticized by Celtics fans in a Bill Simmons piece published on Grantland. Eric in Springfield, Massachusetts: "Instead of a jersey number, could the Celtics convince Wallace to wear all the first-rounders we got…

    SB Nation
  • Darnell Dockett has tickets for Cardinals fan getting in a brawl with 49ers fans

    Sunday was kind of a wild day at the 49ers-Cardinals game. Aside from just the loss, 49ers and Cardinals fans got into a nasty brawl in the stands. It's a really nasty fight, with quite a bit of blood on the ground as the fight wrapped up. It seemed

    SB Nation
  • Undertaker rumors of poor health seemingly debunked by his wife, Michelle McCool

    Over the weekend, a weird rumor started making the rounds that Undertaker is in poor health or bad shape or whatever other term you want to use to signify someone is not doing well physically. The source for this was, apparently, Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred Durst, who reportedly dedicated a song…

    SB Nation
  • What's Your Definition of Success?

    Success means different things for different people, that’s why we’ve started “The Success Project”.

  • Diamondbacks to name new GM Thursday

    The Diamondbacks' search for a new head honcho seems to be coming to an end. The Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be nearing a decision on who their new general manager will be, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the club plans to announce their choice on Thursday. Per Nightengale, former…

    SB Nation
    Tue, Sep 23
    5:10 PM PDT
    Arizona at Minnesota
    Preview Game
  • View

    Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti faces the media (11 photos)

    All of the parties involved in the Ray Rice elevator-assault scandal are being called to account for their actions, or inactions, and the Baltimore Ravens, Rice's now-former team, are now in the spotlight. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti held a press conference

    Yahoo Sports
    Sun, Sep 21
    Baltimore23 - 21Cleveland
    Game Recap
  • Manning exposed: Seahawks win, Richard Sherman continues his season of subdued dominance

    Not nearly as easy as the Super Bowl, Seattle ended up just being a little better at defense than Denver was. Going into the Seattle Seahawks game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, we had a very convenient frame of reference as far as what we might expect to see. After all, no other two teams…

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Denver20 - 26Seattle
    Game Recap
  • Frank Gore almost speechless with disappointment following 49ers loss

    49ers running back Frank Gore met with the media after the 49ers Week 3 loss. San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore spoke with the media following Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and he was almost speechless. Gore was asked about his limited use (6 carries in the game).

    SB Nation
  • Man Told to Sell Lamborghini Golf Cart or Lose Wife

    RELATED: See photos of another great Lamborghini from 1999 – the Diablo GTR The 36-volt Lamborghini golf cart comes fitted with leather seats, which he confirms he will be sure to fart on as much as possible, as well an auxiliary charger, spare seat, manual, spare parts, and a headrest, which he…

  • Gareth Bale kicks the ball at Luka Modric's face

    You know what hurts more than seeing Gareth Bale and Luka Modric scoring amazing goals and winning trophies like we always hoped they would do for Tottenham Hotspur? Watching them turn on each other. GARETH BALE KICKED THE BALL AT LUKA MODRIC'S

    SB Nation