The NFL season is off to a rocky start. Due to the lockout, the regular officiating crew has been replaced. In short, the officials CBA expired at the end of last year and when new agreements could not be reached, the NFL opted to hire and train replacement officials supposedly including “elite” retired college officials, smaller, non-BCS conference officials, and Arena League referees. Based on the first three weeks of football, it seems necessary that the NFL pony up the money to pay the original officials, as too many situations have come up where calls have been wrong or control of the game has been lost.
In week 3, Patriots coach Bill Belichick grabbed the arm of an official following a close, but good, winning field goal by the Raven’s as time expired. He grabbed the official to get his attention, as he had wanted an explanation for a play previously but had not received one. The official may have mishandled the situation by not addressing coach Belichicks concerns adequately.
Replacement officials admitted making two mistakes in Minnesota’s victory over San Francisco, while other questionable calls were made around the league that may have affected the outcomes. In the Minnesota game, the 49ers were granted two video challenges that they should not have been. In the Lions-Titans game, an inappropriate amount of yardage was marked of on a penalty. The same was true in the Redskins game. Also, in the Lions game, officials made conflicting calls on a play that was never reviewed. In the Cowboys game, Tony Romo fumbled twice that were only correctly ruled turnovers after Tampa Bay initiated challenges. A helmet-to-helmet hit in the Oakland Raiders game was not penalized and an incomplete pass in the Miami Dolphins game was ruled complete near the goal line.
In wake of all of the mistakes, the NFL needs to seriously reconsider their stance on the lockout as NFL fans are becoming increasingly disgruntled at the diminished integrity of the game. If things continue as they are, attendance and viewership will decline and revenue will be lost.
Below is a recap of scores from week 3.
New York Giants defeat Caroline Panthers 36 – 7
Chicago Bears defeat St. Louis Rams 23 – 6
Buffalo Bills defeat Cleveland Browns 24 – 14
Dallas Cowboys defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 – 10
New York Jets defeat Miami Dolphins 23 – 20 (OT)
Minnesota Vikings defeat San Francisco 49ers 24 – 3
Kansas City Chiefs defeat New Orleans Saints 27 – 24
Cincinnati Bengals defeat Washington Redskins 38 – 31
Tennessee Titans defeat Detroit Lions 44 – 41 (OT)
Jacksonville Jaguars defeat Indianapolis Colts 22 – 17
Arizona Cardinals defeat Philadelphia Eagles 27 – 6
Atlanta Falcons defeat San Diego Chargers 27 – 3
Houston Texans defeat Denver Broncos 31 – 25
Oakland Raiders defeat Pittsburgh Steelers 34 – 31
Baltimore Ravens defeat New England Patriots 31 – 30
Seattle Seahawks defeat Green Bay Packers 14 – 12