As if more proof were needed that using replacement referees for the NFL’s regular-season games is an idea that should be rethunk, the preseason game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants offered a moment that, upon further review, removes the last residue of doubt.
In the Giants’ 6-3 victory Wednesday night in MetLife Stadium, both Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick — with their dials set to “2” for the fourth preseason game — were baffled to the point of gobsmackery at the display of uncertainty over a penalty on a punt by Steve Weatherford in the second quarter. (WCBS’s Ernie Palladino has the Keystone Kops play-by-play as officials struggle to get the call right. You can watch after the jump or here.)
Coughlin offered only a tepid comment about the officiating afterward. “I don’t have any control over [the lockout of game officials]. For me to say there is or isn’t concern, you do the very best you can with them. You just hope these officials know the rules and can keep the game under control and keep order. Hopefully they’ll be able to do that.”
Easy to say on Preseason Game No. 4. In the regular season, there’s likely to be more than just funny faces from the likes of Coughlin and Belichick with so much more (and so much money) riding on every single game, on every single play.
Still, there’s no end to the lockout of regular game officials. “I think it’s going to take a debacle for the real officials to come back,” Peter King told Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon on “Pardon the Interruption” on Wednesday.
Great. Just wait ’til these games are in prime time when, you know, the NFL is the No. 1-rated show every week. Nothing against the replacement refs, who are doing the best they can, but this is like Ralph Lauren going with a fall line designed by Emmett Kelly or a Mercedes owner taking his car to Jiffy Lube.
It’s a bad idea.
the kids call it an "epic fail". it's the only way to describe the replacement refs handling of a penalty on a punt in Pats/Giants game— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 30, 2012
Watching Patriots Giants and starting to feel bad for these replacement refs. They are struggling and slowing game down— Steve Muench (@SteveMuenchESPN) August 30, 2012
Replacement fans booing the replacement refs who are calling penalties on the replacement players.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) August 30, 2012
The replacement refs seem particularly ... um ... confused tonight. And the crowd is really letting them have it.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) August 30, 2012