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September 25, 2012

NFL: We Stand Behind Touchdown Call In Seattle/Green Bay Game
Paul Ryan: These Replacement Refs Remind Me Of Obama

Above the Post Update: Football fans don't like incompetence, except when it comes to something trivial like the presidency.


"And you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy," he contended. "If you canít get it right, it is time to get out. I half think these refs work part-time for the Obama administration in the Budget Office. They see the national debt clock staring them in the face. They see a debt crisis, and they just ignore and pretend it didnít even happen. They are trying to pick the winners and losers, and they donít even do that very well.Ē

...

Beyond the rules, which I'll discuss in a second, there's something else going on.

The replacement refs have been causing fans consternation since the season began. But this weekend, the situation became something like a national furor.

Events are conspiring to make the replacement refs look bad. For example, this game-ending "field goal" -- or was it? It sort of doesn't look like a field goal to me, but then I'm not sure what the rule is for kicking over the post.

But that's a close call-- I think it's a wrong call. But events have conspired to give the replacement refs a tough call in a game-determining situation.

Then came last night's call. Another hard call. Another hard call I think they got wrong -- but note again how these replacement refs are sort of having the whole range of difficult, game-ending calls thrown at them.

So suddenly the regular refs -- previously despised -- are super-popular. But are we really certain the regular refs would have gotten these two calls right?

Anyway, the NFL now knows it cannot continue with the replacement refs. Their bargaining technique -- locking out the regular refs, replacing them, in order to force a labor settlement they preferred -- is doomed. Within a week or two they'll make that official.

The Regular Refs now know they have the whip-hand. They know that popular outrcy is going to wind up giving them almost everything they want. Who knows, they might even make fresh demands (or more forcibly demand older ones they'd soft-pedaled).

The NFL knows this, too. So this is brave-face stuff for the negotiations. The NFL is pretending they're perfectly happy with the replacement refs and would like to see them continue officiating. So suck on that, Old Refs.

But it's not true. It's getting embarrassing and they know their situation is untenable. They cannot risk fan interest in the league over a small-beans dispute with the refs.

So they're going to bluster about how the refs are getting it all right, but this is just a bluff for the final negotiations.

Meanwhile, having checked the rules and the NFL's statement, I'm not sure the interception-ruled-a-touchdown was a clear-cut a call as I first thought. The rules say that a catch by a jumping player is not completed until he touches down to the ground; that being the case, that means the offensive player has that time open to him to establish a simultaneous catch.

Still seems wrong to me, but it's a little more defensible. I guess.

Less defensible are all the horrific errors we're not talking about -- leaving a K-ball on the field for the offense to use (they're slippery as hell, and not supposed to be used, except for kicking), counting off penalties from the wrong yard line, giving coaches extra time-outs and challenges just because they ask for them, etc.

If the NFL Really Wants to Hold Out... They must pass an emergency rule granting coaches more challenges, and actually give these dumbass Replacement Refs the power to call their own video replay reviews on a lot more calls, including calls not typically reviewable (all these ludicrous pass interferences, both not called (but which clearly happened) and called (but which clearly did not happen).

And then they have to hire retired pro refs to man the replay booths.

They have to suspend the old rule that the games will be officiated primarily from the field. No, given these problems, they're going to have to shift to much more replay.

The games will last four and a half hours, but at least they won't be random follies.



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posted by Ace at 01:20 PM

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