Commentary: NFL Replacement Officials Are Ruining the Game

FootballSportsNFLGreen Bay PackersRoger GoodellSeattle SeahawksSam Shields

Embarrassing, pathetic, frustrating and ridiculous.

All words fans, players, coaches and the media are using to describe the job the NFL replacement officials are doing while filling in for the "normal" officials.

The latest debacle came in Monday night's Packers-Seahawks game in Seattle.

Officials missed calls, and on the final play - cost the Packers a victory.

The NFL released this statement on the play on Tuesday:

In Monday's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone.

Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.

While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.

 When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player.

The result of the play was a touchdown. Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball.

In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable.

That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone. Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood.

The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.

While the NFL sorts out its contract negotiations with "real" officials, the game is suffering. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said an official handed him a kicking ball before last night's two-point conversion attempt. In Sunday's Detroit-Tennessee game, officials walked off a penalty - allowing the Titans to win.

Everyone makes mistakes, but time after time replacement officials are destroying the game and they are not being held accountable. They are ruining the integrity, and the fans and players are suffering.

The NFL's Mission Statement is, "To challenge National Football League players to be lifelong learners while pursuing continuous improvement in family relations, social interactions, personal growth and career development during and beyond their careers as NFL players."

Instead you've got players turning to Twitter, dropping f-bombs and cussing out the league, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the officials.

Where did the respect and the class go?

The NFL also prides itself on making money. How many millions of dollars are being lost while this continues over the integrity of the game? And all for what - a .03-percent raise for experienced, professional officials? A deserving pention for hard-working officials that sacrifice time and energy away from their families each weekend??

There are only 121 REAL NFL officials. The average REAL NFL official has over 10 years of experience. Before this past season, an NFL officiating crew never had more than one rookie work on staff at an NFL game. Now, there are rookies all over the field, making decisions and losing control of the game.

How is Vegas handling the NFL replacement ref outrage?

Mirage Las Vegas COO Scott Sibella says those that may regularly bet on games, are likely to shy away from continuing with those gambles.

"The NFL has so much integrity and professionalism and that's why people wager on games," said Sibella. "After last night people might think twice before laying down a wager because of the simple calls might be missed."

Roger Goodell works for 32 NFL owners. Where are they? Any one of them can step up and say, "Stop this!!" Where is their integrity?

Money, power, respect, class, integrity, professionalism. Words that describe what is being tainted in the game many of us grew up knowing and loving.

Hard-working fans, players, coaches and officials deserve better than this.

The NFL needs to handle this before doctors see their patients blood-pressure medications come in requests by the millions.







Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times