Opinion: Replacement refs “tarnishing” NFL

Sep 18, 2012, 10:24 AM | Updated: 10:31 am

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“This is now the on field product in the NFL that is being tarnished and embarrassed,” said Mike Salk about the replacement referees. (AP image)

When a replacement referee marked off a five yard penalty 11 yards down field in Monday night’s NFL game, it was just the latest in a series of gaffes marring the first two weeks of the season. And Brock and Salk are among the scores of critics calling on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to bring the lockout to an end.

“What a travesty that was to watch. Roger Goodell should be ashamed,” said co-host Mike Salk.

Among the issues are pay, staffing levels and pension, with the NFL seeking to freeze retirement funding for referees. With officials refusing to buy off on the cut backs, the league has locked them out and brought in mostly high school and junior college referees in their place. The result has been numerous blown calls, cheap shots and interminable delays as the replacements struggle to keep the games in check.

“You’re watching substitute teachers not being able to officiate, not being able to dictate, not being able to communicate what you’re doing,” said co-host Brock Huard.

“This is now the on field product in the NFL that is being tarnished and embarrassed,” said Salk. “And when you’re looking through the Twitter feed last night and you see 10, 12 Tweets in a row from people you respect from Peter King, from Adam Schefter from Darren Rovell, from former players from people around the country, from other talk show hosts from fans and every one of them is saying alright enough’s enough Roger, let your ego go and just get over it.”

While the NFL claims the replacement referees are doing an acceptable job and have shown improvement, Brock and Salk said it’s clear they are simply not up to the task.

“These are single A, minor league players that are getting thrown into the bigs, and they can’t do it. They can’t administrate the rules. And it is affecting your product,” said Huard.

While there were no overwhelmingly bad calls that impacted either of the Seahawks first two games, Salk argues they’ve been affected indirectly, saying rival Arizona could easily be 1-1 if not for a “very bad call” against Rob Gronkowski that negated a go ahead touchdown for the Patriots.

“There’s no time to wait for the replacements to improve. It’s embarrassing now,” said Salk.

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Opinion: Replacement refs “tarnishing” NFL