Fresh off what many are calling the replacement referees’ worst performance of the season, a former referee tore into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and said the officiating will get worse before it gets better.
“It’s obvious to me that (Goodell) just doesn’t even care,” said Jerry Markbreit, a fixture in the NFL for 23 years before retiring in 1998. “Otherwise, how could they replace professionalism with unprofessionalism in a game that’s so tough to work, even for the best officials in the land?” he said on ESPN Radio’s The Mike Lupica Show. “How could he care about it?”
Markbreit scoffed at the notion the replacement refs will get better as they gain experience.
“The management of the games gets tougher (in the coming weeks),” Markbreit said. “These guys have relied on competent, top-notch, terrific officials all these years. And now they have a bunch of amateurs out there and it’s going to fall apart.
“It’s not going to get better, as the commissioner said … It’s going to get worse.”
Criticism of the replacement refs reached new highs after Monday night’s Falcons-Broncos game in which the officials seemed to have trouble controlling the game, took too much time to decide calls and even marked off an 11-yard penalty for what should have been a 5-yard defensive holding penalty.
In addition to doubts about their competency, questions have been raised about the new refs’ impartiality.
A side judge, Brian Stropolo, was yanked from the New Orleans-Carolina game just before kickoff after it was discovered he had pro-Saints messages on his Facebook page.
And Eagles running back LeSean McCoy told a Philadelphia radio station that a referee told him that he needed him to do well for his fantasy team.
“I’ll be honest, they’re like fans,” McCoy said. “One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team like, ‘McCoy, come on, I need you for my fantasy.’ Ahhh, what?”
Here’s what some fans had to say in a recent AP video.
From a fan’s perspective, have you noticed a big difference in the quality of the officiating?