Any NFL fan who watched the Monday Night Football game last night between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons saw first hand how badly the replacement referee situation has become in the league. The replacement referees lost control of the game, seemingly had very little knowledge of the NFL rules as ball placement came into question and pass interference calls were questionable at best.
Prior to the start of Sunday’s game between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, the NFL removed side judge Brian Stropolo from the field prior to the game after it was determined that on his Facebook page, he posted several pictures of himself in Saints apparel. The league was in damage control and wanted to remove Stropolo in case there was some sort of image of impropriety in the game.
Now comes the latest bizarre tale of the replacement referees. In a radio interview in Philadelphia yesterday, Eagles RB LeSean McCoy said that the referees seemed a little star struck on the field. McCoy claims that Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis tried to intimidate an official with a scare tactic after a questionable call. McCoy reports that the referee started to stutter.
But McCoy made one interesting comment according to CBSPhilly.com. “They’re like fans (replacement referees), kind of. I’ll be honest, they’re like fans. One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team, like ‘McCoy, come on, I need you for my fantasy.”
Unless there is no investigation into this, there is no way to guarantee what McCoy said on Monday is the actual truth. NFL players have been very vocal about trying to force the NFL owners to agree to a new contract with the locked out regular referees.
I have no way to substantiate McCoy’s claims, but anyone who watched the first half of Monday Night’s game realizes how badly this situation needs to be resolved. It was an embarrassing display of the NFL last evening but post game comments made by Steve Young make perfect sense.
As long as people continue to watch the NFL in record setting numbers, the league is under no pressure to get an agreement done with the regular referees.