The Inept NFL Replacement Officials

The NFL replacement officials are terrible. There's no other way to describe them. Not only do they blow calls; they also don't know the rules and aren't even aware of which city they're in. Where did Roger Goodell get these people from? Did they ever watch a single football game?

Something must be done about this. I've compiled a list of the many of the dumb things these replacement officials have done this preseason. Please tweet this page out so Goodell does something about this ASAP!

Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

Week 4: Raiders at Seahawks

Jerry Frump, the guy who was scared of the football two weeks ago at New England, was the head official in this contest. He made a very confusing announcement in the second quarter:

"The ruling on the field is a muffed punt... (5-second pause)... Possession of the ball was not... (5-second pause)... Obtained before fr... the man was out of bounds... First-and-10 for Oakland."

Curt Menefee, calling the plays for the Seahawks' broadcast, laughed and said, "I'll be honest with you, I don't understand the explanation."

Week 4: Chargers at 49ers

Philip Rivers committed an obvious intentional grounding late in the first quarter. There was no flag on the field, however, prompting an enraged Jim Harbaugh to start yelling. Rivers didn't like what Harbaugh was saying, apparently, because he shouted back. The two men then screamed at each other for a good 30 seconds. Following this, the ball mysteriously went from the 10- to the 26-yard line. The confused 49er announcers then said, "Well, I guess they walked off the intentional grounding, but the officials never announced the penalty."

Week 4: Ravens at Rams

There was a direct snap to Isaiah Pead sometime during the first half. The play went for no gain, but it didn't matter because the Rams were whistled for an illegal formation. Jeff Fisher went nuts. You could hear him shouting for minutes, "That's not an illegal formation! That's an unbalanced formation!" The perplexed official, who apparently didn't recognize the correct rule, looked like he wanted to exit the stadium.

Week 4: Jets at Eagles

Nick Foles heaved the ball at his offensive lineman in attempt to throw it away early on. It should have been intentional grounding or an illegal touching of a forward pass. The officials didn't call anything. On the very next play, which was an Eagles' punt, the refs called a hold on the punting team until Andy Reid yelled at them, prompting them to change their mind.

Later on, Chad Hall had an obvious fumble that was ruled down by the contact on the field. As the play was reviewed, the homer Eagle announcers conceded that it was a turnover. However, the official came back and simply said, "The ruling on the field stands" with no further explanation. The shocked Eagle homer announcers said, "Whoa, really?" The Eagles scored a touchdown on the very next play.

Week 4: Patriots at Giants

The refs were a disgrace in this contest. There was a 5-minute delay in the middle of the second quarter as head official Don King tried desperately to figure out what happened. King, who looked really confused, had an epic meltdown:

Don King: We have fouls by both teams during the kick.

Official in the Background: Both on the kicking team!

Don King: We have an illegal shift on the kicking team.

Official in the Background: Both penalties are on the kicking team!

Don King: Uhh... after the kick...

Official in the Background: Both fouls are on the kicking team!

Don King: Then after the kick we had a 15-yard penalty. Chosen to kick. 15-yard penalty.

What the hell does that mean? The already-restless crowd was booing, as King caused another 5-minute delay attempting to figure out what happened.

Don King: Correction on the reporting of the foul. Both teams were on... uhh... both opp... uhh...


Don King: Both fouls were on the kicking team...

As I tweeted afterward (@walterfootball), "I'm going to compile a list of all the replacement official mistakes this preseason very soon. So @nflcommish can fix this ASAP."

Week 4: Buccaneers at Redskins

I missed this one, but e-mailer Kenneth M. sent this over:

The officials ruled a clear catch an incompletion. Greg Schiano challenged. The refs took forever looking at the play and then reversed the call. The official said, "The ruling on the field is overturned; it was a completed catch." He then heard the boos from the Skins' crowd, walked back onto the field and said, "But we'll take another look at it." He then actually went back AND REVIEWED IT A SECOND TIME.

Week 3: Panthers at Jets

The refs failed to penalize a Panther for taking helmet off. This action actually cost the Browns a victory in Week 1 of the 2002 season against the Chiefs. I guess these replacement officials don't know about this rule.

I also liked one of the announcements: "Offside, on the defense. That's a five-yard pent." Not only do these replacement officials suck; they're also lazy and refuse to finish sentences.

Week 3: 49ers at Broncos

The officials allowed the 49ers to have two players in motion during one instance in the fourth quarter. Earlier, David Akers was wide left on a field-goal attempt in the first half. The officials said that the kick was good. These guys can't even look up and judge whether a kick goes through the uprights or not.

The refs really screwed up at the 9-minute mark of the fourth quarter. The 49ers fumbled the ball and recovered. The Broncos challenged who obtained possession, which is not legal. The officials picked up on this, issuing a 15-yard penalty to John Fox. All of this was correct, as confirmed by Mike Pereira. However, there was a long delay afterward and the refs suddenly nullified the infraction without even explaining why.

Week 3: Rams at Cowboys

John Phillips made a cool, one-handed catch for seven yards in the first quarter. The ball came out after he hit the ground, but the Cowboy announcers, including Daryl Johnston, praised the officials for making a good call of a completed catch. Jeff Fisher then challenged the play. I don't know why he wasted everyone's time with a seven-yard play in the preseason, but whatever - he was bound to lose this one. Except he didn't. The play was reversed, which perplexed the announcers, who just praised the refs for making a great call on the field.

Week 3: Lions at Raiders

Darren McFadden ran the ball on fourth-and-goal on the 1-yard line. He appeared to have scored, but he may have also fumbled. The officials couldn't make a decision and stood around looking at each other like idiots. It took several minutes for them to announce that it was a fumble. The Raiders challenged, and it was ruled a touchdown.

It was a tough call to make, but the refs were just so damn indecisive. All of them just seemed completely overwhelmed by the situation, like they were just too scared to make yet another mistake. I feel like at this point, all of the replacement officials should just run with it and intentionally make all of the worst calls possible. That's what they're doing now anyway, so maybe people won't hate them as much if they start doing a bad job blatantly.

Week 3: Texans at Saints

The head official in this contest was Don King, who had a very confusing announcement at the end of the first half:

"No. 80, on the offense, illegal touching. Uhh... Personal foul on the defense. By rule... the 5-yard penalty will be disregarded; the 15-yard penalty will be enforced. Fifteen yards. First-and-10."

The CBS announcers were pretty perplexed by this. Play-by-play guy Ian Eagle commented, "I think both coaches want an explanation for that, and so do we." King has yet to reveal who the offending party was on the mysterious personal-foul call.

Week 3: Falcons at Dolphins

The refs called a pass-interference penalty despite the fact that the ball was deflected on the play. That was bad. What's worse is that a 70-year-old Dick Stockton pointed out an officiating error when the zebras whistled Dolphins' No. 26 Tyrell Johnson for a holding penalty in the first quarter. Stockton laughed and said, "Tyrell Johnson is not even in the game." This was true. In fact, Johnson's not even on the roster. He was cut this morning.

Week 3: Chargers at Vikings

The crew missed an obvious fumble and an interception, forcing the Chargers to challenge twice, which enraged Norv Turner. The Viking announcers then pointed out that the officials started standing next to the Charger sideline as a result, prompting the influenced refs to make some strange calls on Minnesota.

Punter Chris Kluwe said it best: "The NFL really needs to kiss and make up with the refs. These replacements are horrible. Frankly, it's kind of embarrassing ... I'm sure they're trying hard, but they're just not good. So many blown calls tonight in both directions."

Week 3: Seahawks at Chiefs

Matt Cassel threw a pass to Steve Breaston in the first quarter. Breaston got his hands on the ball but dropped it right away. It was obvious what was going on, but the officials allowed the play to continue. The Seahawks picked up the ball and ran with it, causing mass confusion. It took the refs about a minute to figure out that they should have whistled it incomplete. As this was going on, Trent Green said: "These officials... umm... we need to be careful about what we say about the officials."

Even worse, the 2-minute warning of the first half occurred at 2:06. I wish I were making this up. The refs signaled for the 2-minute warning after Jonathan Baldwin caught the ball along the sideline at 2:06, but they forgot that the clock had to be stopped because he went out of bounds. They let it tick down to two minutes and then reset it back to 2:06 after the commercial break.

Oh, and I loved this announcement by the ref: "Team A has the option of re-kicking with a 5-yard penalty, which they have decided to do."

I thought the Chiefs were battling the Seahawks. So, who the hell is Team A?

Week 3: Eagles at Browns

Trent Edwards threw a really ugly pick-six at the beginning of the third quarter. Except it never happened because the officials called the Browns for roughing the passer. Upon watching the replay, Eagles' color analyst Brian Baldinger, who is being paid to be a homer, vehemently disagreed: "There was no hit to the head. He was just being pulled down."

This should not be a surprise. These refs aren't used to watching football, so they can't differentiate between an illegal hit and a normal tackle.

Week 3: Bears at Giants

There was a hilarious sequence of events near the end of the first quarter. The Giants were whistled for a delay of game when one second was still remaining on the play clock. A play later, the Giants called timeout, but yet the refs forgot to stop the clock, allowing several seconds to tick off.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Later on the drive, there was a pass interference just as the quarter concluded. The refs gave the Giants an untimed down, which should not have happened because Tom Coughlin didn't request it. This enraged color analyst Dan Dierdorf, who lashed out at the officials for not knowing the rules. It was hilarious how legitimately pissed off Dierdorf was. I'm convinced he would have gone to the field and punched out anyone wearing a zebra shirt if he had a few drinks in him.

Week 3: Jaguars at Ravens

Torrey Smith was hit at the Jacksonville 2-yard line in the second quarter and was pushed back to the 5-yard line. Forward progress should have given Baltimore the spot at the 2, but the officials placed the ball at the 5. Rave TV color analyst Qadry Ismail said one word about that, which was very appropriate: "Horrible."

Week 3: Packers at Bengals

Jordy Nelson was rammed - RAMMED - while trying to make a catch downfield in the first quarter, but there was no flag on the field. Even the homer Bengal announcers were beside themselves. The play-by-play guy said, "I CANNOT believe there isn't any laundry on the field."

Later in the first quarter, the refs called a personal foul on Taylor Mays for a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on Tom Crabtree. Yep, shoulder to shoulder. What is this league coming to?

Week 3: Cardinals at Titans

The refs screwed up once where they allowed a play to continue when there were 12 men on the field. Ken Whisenhunt was pretty pissed at that.

The funniest thing was yet another strange announcement: "Prior to the snap... off... uhh... fff... illegal motion, 57, 5-yard penalty."

Week 2: Eagles at Patriots

There were several phantom personal fouls in this game. But that's nothing new with these replacement refs. Something I have yet to see from them, however, is cowardice. That was achieved tonight.

Someone tossed the ball to the official so he could spot it during the third quarter. Instead of catching the ball, however, the ref cowered like a little girl, using his arms to shield himself from it. This guy is never going to live this down. He has disgraced his family name for at least three generations.

Week 2: Colts at Steelers

This crew had issues with the basics. The ref faced the wrong way when he was addressing the crowd in the first quarter. He then forgot to turn on his mic in the third quarter. He made inaudible announcements for those 15 minutes.

The official drew the ire of Collinsworth on several occasions. He spotted the ball incorrectly on a challenge and then incorrectly ruled a touchdown because Luck slid feet-first. OK, he made a bad call. It happens. But the worst part is that he didn't bother reviewing the play, which should have been looked at automatically because it involved a score.

Week 2: Redskins at Bears

Remember when I brought up the Garcon pass interference? Well, this occurred when both Garcon and the offending party, Charles Tillman, were out of bounds. By rule, pass interference can't be whistled if the receiver is out of bounds. I mean, that should be obvious, right? Well, not to this officiating crew.

Jim Miller had some fun with this. When the official said that the Redskins would be penalized at the spot of the foul, Miller quipped, "The spot of the foul means out of bounds, Sam."

Week 2: 49ers at Texans

The referees threw a flag for a dead-ball foul several seconds before the 49ers snapped the ball. They had enough time to stop everything, but they allowed the play to continue. Jim Harbaugh gave the officials an angry lecture during the next stoppage.

This crew apparently had issues with preventing things from happening. They forgot to stop the clock following a phantom face mask call on the Texans. Time continued to tick down and the first half expired as the 49ers were driving. The officials could have fixed this error, but they apparently didn't feel as though that was necessary, telling both teams that it was halftime. I don't think this is going to sit well with the coaches in the regular season.

Week 2: Chiefs at Rams

The refs weren't too awful in this game. They missed a really obvious hit to the helmet on the Ricky Stanzi during a fourth down at the end of the third quarter. Poor Stanzi was hit so hard that his head almost fell off. Even the Rams' play-by-play guy was irate that no flag was called on his own team.

The one amusing moment was when the official was making a penalty announcement. He forgot to turn his microphone on. Not only that, but he was speaking while the public address announcer was saying something about buying tickets. If a ref calls a penalty and no one hears it...

Week 2: Seahawks at Broncos

The referees have all made bad calls throughout the preseason. They've also seemed unsure of themselves when addressing the crowd, none so more than the guy in charge of the Broncos-Seahawks game. Here were three of his announcements:

"Personal foul, Number... 76...? On the... kicking team?"

This wasn't too bad, but it sounded like he was asking himself questions.

"Personal foul, unnecessary reference, No. 93."

A movie reference? Perhaps a literary reference? What sort of unnecessary reference did No. 93 commit?

"The ruling on the field is confirmed. The r... the runner... (10-second pause) went past the 20, err, 30-yard line."

The pause was amusing because he just stopped talking and stared into space. It's almost like he was thinking, "If I stop officiating this game and go home right now, will anyone notice?"

Week 2: Cowboys at Chargers

The refs made a call at the end of the first quarter. They announced there were offsetting penalties, but then they just stood around talking for five minutes. Jason Garrett and Norv Turner yelled at the refs, who ignored them and continued to converse with each other. At this point, the frustrated Chargers' color analyst said, "They told us what the penalties are, but they haven't explained it to us." The play-by-play guy then quipped, "I think they're explaining it to themselves."

Finally, the official addressed the crowd: "Correction on the penalty. The receiver went out of bounds ohs... oh... there will be no pass interference."

Week 2: Giants at Jets

Lead official Don King - I'm not making his name up - whistled the ball ready for play on the first drive, apparently unaware that someone on his crew called a penalty. He then announced: "Offsides, on the defense. That's a 5-yard penalty. But the penalty has been declined." I've never heard it called like that before. It's almost like he was building suspense.

The refs marked the Jets for a fourth down in the third quarter. An irate Rex Ryan barked at them to measure. The officials, however, didn't seem like they were going to do it but eventually did, and it turned out the Jets did indeed secure a first down. Ryan sarcastically yelled, "thank you," followed by a bunch of expletives.

Week 2: Jaguars at Saints

It didn't seem like the refs understood how to use the replay equipment. There was one play in which Devery Henderson scored a touchdown but the ball hit the ground and moved. The Saints' announcers conceded it would be incomplete after review, but the official ruled it a catch. Later in the game, the Saints came up with an interception, but it was overturned even though it never hit the ground. The announcers laughed for a few minutes.

And if this wasn't bad enough, the official then had to waste five more minutes reviewing the play again to see what down and distance it should have been for Jacksonville. Interim head coach Joe Vitt was seen on the sideline shaking his head in disgust.

This was not the only time the official took a long time on a review. He did the same thing earlier on a Drew Brees fumble replay. The Saints' play-by-play guy even complained, "The second quarter took forever."

Week 2: Raiders at Cardinals

"Holding, defense, on the linebacker." Seriously, don't these refs understand that you're supposed to call out the number of the penalized player?

The official in this contest seemed completely unsure of himself. He stuttered through some announcements, one of which sounded like, "The ruling is... the ruling is... the ruling is... down by contact."

The worst officiating instance occurred when the zebras gave the Raiders a sack of Kevin Kolb even though Kolb was in the grasp for a second and managed to release the pass, which was caught by his lineman. It should have been an illegal touching penalty; instead, they called it a sack, which confused the two geriatric Raider announcers.

Week 2: Dolphins at Panthers

The refs didn't seem to know what down it was in the middle of the opening drive. It literally took them five minutes to figure it out, and they eventually gave the Panthers a random 1st-and-2. Carolina couldn't get a first down out of that, oddly enough.

The referee was even more confused on the following drive. His announcement: "Holding, off... hold... uhh... offsides, defense."

Week 2: Titans at Buccaneers

The refs didn't seem to know what down it was in the middle of the opening drive. It literally took them five minutes to figure it out, and they eventually gave the Panthers a random 1st-and-2. Carolina couldn't get a first down out of that, oddly enough.

The referee was even more confused on the following drive. His announcement: "Holding, off... hold... uhh... offsides, defense."

Week 2: Lions at Ravens

There was a bizarre sequence of events in the first quarter. The refs seemed to give the Lions a first down. Then they decided that it would be third down. Stafford began yelling at the officials, who then changed their mind and gave the Lions a first down again. At that point, John Harbaugh lost his mind and started shouting expletives at the refs.

Later on, the refs charged the Lions with a timeout. Stafford pointed toward Baltimore's direction, attempting to inform the official that the Ravens were the ones who called the timeout. The official didn't pay attention to Stafford, who then asked his head coach, "Where'd that timeout come from?" I'm not sure if he ever received a valid answer.

Week 2: Browns at Packers

The refs forgot to stop the clock after a punt on one occasion. It continued to tick when Green Bay's offense took the field.

I was also really cracking up during one of the announcements, which play-by-play guy Kevin Harlan interrupted twice because the official screwed up:

Official: The ruling on the field stands.

Kevin Harlan: No.

Official: There was an interception.

Kevin Harlan: It was a fumble.

The ref screwed up twice. He called an interception a fumble, and he also said the play stood when he changed the spot on the field. He then charged the Packers with a mysterious 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, prompting both Harlan and Rich Gannon to chuckle.

Week 2: Bengals at Falcons

The refs were horrible today. I noticed three glaring gaffes, though there were probably way more:

- "Personal foul on the defense, that's a 10-yard penalty." Yeah, except a personal foul is 15 yards, genius. The official then proceeded to mark the ball 13 yards from the original line of scrimmage. It's almost like he didn't know whether a personal foul was 10 or 15 yards, so he decided to hedge his bet by making it a 13-yard penalty.

- The ref called a face mask penalty on the Falcons in the first quarter. The guilty party grabbed the back of Andy Dalton's jersey.

- I loved this announcement at the end of the first half: "Personal foul on No. 61 on the white." It's like he forgot which teams were playing. Even more hilarious, the team in white, the Bengals, was not the guilty party, according to the official. He pointed toward the Falcons.

Week 1: Cowboys at Raiders

The referees, of course, screwed up just as much as the players. The officials automatically reviewed the Palmer interception, as required by the NFL's stupid new rule that all turnovers much be looked at. Sensabaugh's pick was clean, but it looked like he may have been down by contact. After reviewing the video, however, all the official said was, "The play stands."

That's it? The play stands? Did he even know to check for down by contact, or was he just watching the interception itself?

This wasn't even the officiating crew's most egregious error. Early in the second quarter, Romo actually had to notify the refs that they spotted the ball on the wrong hash mark. At this point, I'm wondering if the NFL would just be better off having the players officiate themselves.

Week 1: Titans at Seahawks

Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons was whistled for an unsportsmanlike penalty at one point. The problem? The Seahawks' offense was on the field.

Week 1: Browns at Lions

Colt McCoy was scampering toward the sideline at one point. A Detroit defender was chasing him. Realizing McCoy was running out of bounds, the defender dived near McCoy and didn't touch him. It was clear that he was blatantly trying to avoid McCoy because he didn't want to be called for a late hit out of bounds. Sure enough, the ref whistled him for that penalty - even though he purposely didn't even touch McCoy!

Week 1: Giants at Jaguars

Kick returner Jayron Hosley was whistled for holding on his return. That's a pretty impressive feat; holding while trying to run the ball into the end zone. Wow, great job, Jayron.

The refs also botched the end of the game (a 10-second run-off was never called) and earlier whistled the Jaguars for a face mask penalty in which a defender allegedly grabbed the back of Eli Manning's helmet. The Jacksonville player barely touched Manning, only hitting him in the back of the jersey.

But this wasn't the worst we saw out of the officials. The zebras whistled the Giants for kick catch interference despite the fact that no one was near the Jacksonville returner. The ref's shaky announcement was the cherry on top:

"Kick catch interference... uhh... (20-second pause, looks around nervously)... kick catch interference. On the Giants. On the gunner. Added to the end... first down Gi... uhh..."

Week 1: Buccaneers at Dolphins

You know how they stop playing football during commercial breaks? Well, these refs apparently didn't understand this concept. They signaled the ball ready for play despite the fact that there was a designated break in the action. This completely confused Dolphins' play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton, who literally sat in silence for three minutes. Seriously, neither Stockton nor his two cohorts, Bob Griese and Nat Moore, said a single thing as Miami ran several plays. I have to say that it was rather refreshing not to hear anything for a change.

Week 1: Ravens at Falcons

The replacement refs in this game were awful. The head official said "Arizona is charged with a timeout" in the first quarter. He later made the same mistake! In the third quarter, the refs had to blow a play dead because they allowed it to start before the chains were set. John Harbaugh was so pissed that it looked like he wanted to deck the one official he was barking at.

Week 1: Jets at Bengals

The referee in this game had a terrible sense of direction. He faced the wrong way when making an announcement in the first half, and he later pointed the wrong direction when announcing a penalty. Hopefully he didn't think he was in Arizona.

Week 1: Redskins at Bills

One of Brian Moorman's first-quarter punts hit the 5-yard line and was downed at the 4. The officials blew it dead there and then said a minute later that it was a touchback. Chan Gailey looked like he wanted to kill someone. He challenged it, and it was quickly overturned. No damage was done, but it was still ridiculous that time was wasted on such an obvious call. These refs are absolutely terrible.

Week 1: Steelers at Eagles

The Steelers challenged and lost on their first possession - but the official said that the Eagles were charged with a timeout. It's amazing how horrible these refs have been thus far. Not only do they not know what city they're in; they can't tell which teams are doing what because they don't seem to recognize the jerseys.

That's all I have. Once again, please tweet this out, especially to @nflcommish (Roger Goodell) and @nflpa (NFL Players' Association) so we can get this fixed. After all, do you want one of these inept replacement officials costing your team a victory or being responsible for your favorite player's injury this season? Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

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