NFL assigns replacement refs for next week, but controversy remains

The SportsXchange

Although the NFL seemed satisfied with the work of the replacement officials in Week 1 and has already assigned them to cover Week 2 games, by the end of the day there was plenty controversy and one conspicuous mistake.

Ray Anderson, executive vice president of football operations, said, according to NFL.com, that Sunday's early games "went well with no major issue."

But the replacement officials received considerable criticism Sunday and barely avoided a catastrophe that could have changed the outcome of the game between Seattle and Arizona.

During the San Francisco-Green Bay game, FOX analyst Troy Aikman repeatedly noted that the officials were inconsistent, especially in pass interference calls, and were late on almost every call they did make.

In Arizona, the officials made an obvious mistake by granting the Seahawks a fourth timeout with 30 seconds left. The Cardinals held on for a 20-16 victory only because the Seahawks failed to score on three more plays inside the 10-yard line.

There was a long discussion after the timeout was called before the official explanation for granting the time out was announced: "Seattle did have a timeout to use. Their third timeout was a result of an incomplete pass followed by an injury. The clock was not running, they were not charged with that timeout. This is their third and final timeout."

At issue was a previous clock stoppage with 47 seconds left when Seattle's Mike Baldwin was injured during an incomplete pass play. FOX's Mike Pereira, formerly NFL's head of officials, said that the Seahawks should have been charged their third and final timeout on that play, regardless of whether the clock was stopped because of the incompletion.

The NFL Players Association sent a letter to the NFL saying that, because of concerns about player safety, the regular officials should be reinstated immediately, an NFLPA spokesman told NFL.com.

The NFL apparently has ignored that wish by assigning replacement officials for next weekend's games.
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