Replacement ref issues plumbed new depths during this past NFL weekend, digging yet another new hole with the controversial ending to the Seattle-Green Bay game.
Green Bay appeared to have intercepted the ball on the final play of the game -- a fourth-and-10 from the Packers' 24 -- but Seattle's Golden Tate was ruled to also have possession and the Seahawks won with a last-second TD, 14-12.
Packer fans -- and there may be more of them in America than for any other team -- are furious. This could be a good thing, leading to more pressure on the NFL to settle the ongoing labor dispute with the refs.
But look, I don't blame the refs here. I blame the NFL. The NFL has put its replacements into an impossible situation. It's a little like a NASCAR team saying, OK, you look like you can drive a car on I-85 at 70 mph pretty well. Let's enter you in the next Sprint Cup race. Good luck!
Of course, a wreck is going to occur. But who is really at fault? The NFL needs to pony up to pay its real refs, who are well-paid by American standards but on the poverty level compared to NFL players and coaches. It's not like the league doesn't have the money.
In the meantime, the refs are absolutely being abused, getting the full-on substitute teacher treatment. Former Panther coach John Fox has already been fined $30,000 for getting after them too much, and the fine for Bill Belichick should be substantially more than that for putting his hands on one at the end of the New England-Baltimore game Sunday night. Kyle Shanahan, the Washington assistant, ran into the tunnel to rip the crew and should draw a huge fine, too.
Here's what the NFL should do: Use all the fines levied to help pay the real refs. Get the real guys back on the job. And, while you're at it, give the replacement refs a bonus and an apology for putting them in this untenable situation. Then send them on their merry way.
Two more notes:
1) In Tuesday's newspaper and online, my colleague Tom Sorensen and I debate the merits of Cam Newton's "Superman" celebration. Check it out at www.charobs.com.
2) The Panthers play Seattle and former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson, who now has the Seahawks off to a 2-1 start, in their next home game Oct.7th at 4:05 p.m. in Charlotte. The Seahawks' pass rush produced eight sacks of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers Monday night -- all in the first half. It will be quite a challenge for the Panthers' offensive line.
Read more here: http://scottfowlerobs.blogspot.com/2012/09/shame-on-nfl-for-putting-replacement.html#storylink=cpy