Not a Hard Call: This Is Crazy

Dear NFL,

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have done what I thought was impossible: Make referees sympathetic.

Using replacement officials has shown fans just how truly difficult it is to call a game. It’s put a great big spotlight on the childish bullying that coaches and players occasionally engage in as they try to get their way. It’s put an even bigger spotlight on the important role officials play in guarding the integrity of the game.

When the actual officials return, they will be welcomed as conquering heroes…Until they throw a flag, that is.


As someone who has worn stripes, it is truly good to see referees get their due. However, I’m even more grateful for the new, cottage industry of replacement ref humor.

Some of the humor has been purely unintentional, like notoriously anti-union Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker voicing support for the officials, following the controversial call that resulted in Green Bay’s loss to Seattle.

There’s the fact that the Lingerie Football League has acknowledged that some of the replacement refs came from crews they fired. (Bonus points for the fact that soft pedaling their criticism really makes it sound far, far worse.)

“Because of the LFL’s perception it is that much more critical for us to hire officiating crews that are competent, not only for the credibility of our game but to keep our athletes safer.”

The Mid-States Football League (MSFL) is being a little less subtle, holding a “Replacment Referee Night” when the Racine Raiders play the Roscoe Rush.

Then, of course, there are the parody songs, and there have been tweets. Oh, the tweets!

The replacement refs are even causing my man, Beau Bishop to flip-flop like he’s running for office.

But, hey, at least Beau is willing to reverse a call upon further review. The NFL could learn something from him.


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