Here we are halfway through week 2 in the NFL season and no relief in sight for the union to reach terms with the NFL to get the normal refs back on the field. Doesn't even seem that God Goodell even cares or worries about the integrity of his sport. The real question to ask is should we?
I took advantage of nfl.com's free replay and went back and watched most of week 1's games to see how the refs did. I looked for how many penalties were miscalled, plain missed, or magically made up. Last year I averaged out 3-4 calls per game that were questionable at best, and a couple really big snaffu's that cost teams victories in the end. So that's 196 regular season games played and maybe 2-3's outcome severely impacted by refereeing mistakes. Not really terrible on the whole, but annoying if you were a 49er fan or Raven Fan. So what's changed with the replacement refs?
Example 1. The 49er Packer Game had 15 missed or blown calls in it. 15 !!! Seahawks got given a 4th timeout and almost won a game they shouldn't have. On average their were 11 blown calls per game in week 1. Worst problem is the flags are coming out so late that you have no idea what they are doing for the 5 seconds after the play is over to figure out what the heck they saw, or who it was on. Then we get to this weekends games....
The ravens became the 1st team to get a win stolen from them by awful Refs this year. Blatantly bad calls all day with a viscious offensive P.I call near the end when the DB never looked for the ball and made contact with the receiver. Game Changer!! What is obvious is in week 2 DB's have been instructed to hand check and arm bar down the field without hesitation, because the refs won't call it often, and if they do throw a flag for P.I get it backwards!!!
What does all this mean for us the fans?? Games are taking on average 20 minutes longer, flow of the game is destroyed, and you are just waiting for another blatant mistake to cause windows to be broken and flatscreens thrown from balconies.
In conclusion, it is hard enough to be a lifelong football fan with all the downs and few ups to begin with. Just ask a Raider fan about the Brady tuck rule, or Niner fans if Bradshaw fumbled before the whistle. We expect mistakes to rip our hearts from our chests sometimes as sports fans. The difference is between it happening 2 percent of the time and 10-15 percent of the time. That just might be a price to high to pay to have any integrity in a sport that has enough going against it. I for one will be watching tonight's Lions/ Niner game hoping that the game I love can survive another blatant block in the back.