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The regular referees are back!

Has anyone else noticed? The replacement referees are gone. The regular referees are back. If you hadn’t noticed the lack of questionable or blown calls, you may have noticed the players and coaches suddenly changing their tune to something very quiet.

Let’s start off with the obvious stuff. Its good to have them back! Those replacement referees were terrible! It was a comforting sight to see confident referees walking around on the field. The calls this week have been almost infinitely better than that of the former replacement referees. The football world can relax once more, our game is safe.

The regular referees are definitely a good thing for the NFL, as proven by the immediate change in accurate and timely calls. Quick flags were one of the positive visuals of every game this week, penalties being called as they happened with no confusion on the face of anyone wearing a Footlocker shirt. They blew off the players, walked past them ignoring them, and gave some back of what some players were giving them, and for that I am thankful. Real referees are judges, there is no room for emotion, they did not falter once to the players or coaches. Another thing that was a positive sight to see, was each time the referees quickly talked with each other about a flag, it was the guy who threw it coming over to the lead referee saying two words and walking away. A positive follow-up to that was the lead referee then immediately started announcing the penalty, and it was oh so nice to hear those scripted comfortable words sound out across the stadium from those familiar faces, on my TV.

The replacement referees were bad, but now that we have the regular referees back we can all realize just how bad those replacements were. Missing calls, throwing flags when there was no penalty, incorrectly reviewing the penalty, running up to the spot of the foul and standing there for extended period of time without calling the penalty because they didn’t know what it was. They performed bad, and they were treated bad.

The players immediately quit yelling at referees when the regular refs came onto the field this week, proving they treated the replacement referees bad both intentionally and for personal or team gain. It would be bittersweet if the regular referees threw some flags for players following them continuing to plead their case even if quietly talking, reminding the players the rule never changed, its just being enforced now after what they did to the replacement refs. Some people have no respect, and that’s just all there is to it for them.

The coaches followed suit of the players, both during the replacement referee games and now during games with the regular referees, in that first they had no respect for the replacement referees and both yelled at them for extended periods of time and second they intentionally attempted to use the referees inexperience to their uneven benefit. Like confirming multiple times your decision to accept or decline a penalty, waiting for the referee to start announcing the penalty, then coming off the sideline while yelling at the ref to get his attention, the lead ref stops talking to the whole nation watching and all the coach has to say is more pleading his case through factually delivered statements. If that isn’t the greatest sign of disrespect towards the replacement referees, then I don’t know what is.

Conveniently, everything is peachy in the league. The analysts aren’t talking about the change in attitude of the players or coaches, they also are not talking about the blatant disrespect for the league, the game and the replacement referees, as made apparent by the quiet about-face and the broom brushing something under a rug somewhere.

The real referees are not without their flaws. They missed calls this week, their first week back, they also called a few penalties that either didn’t happen or should have went against the opponent, some should have been double calls. It is not to say, however, that the regular referees are doing a bad job. Quite the contrary, considering that this is their first game of the season with zero preseason games under their belt and considering they got roughly the exact same amount of calls right or wrong that we complain about every year, it looks like the regular referees are ahead of schedule and officiating better. Now if only they can continue to officiate better as the season goes on.

The most important point to take away from the whole referee debaucle is this: The league, and all of it’s many individuals, are just as invested in themselves as we are in them. You can take that to the bank.

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