First of all, let me say that from the beginning, I supported the league in their position against the NFLRA. I feel that they should be thankful that they get paid a fairly large amount of money to work one day a week, for only half of the year. In speaking to friends, I likened the situation to the umpires in major league baseball who threatened to sit out the season and were told their services were no longer required. Their plan backfired, and I felt the NFL referees were going down that same road. I had no problem with bringing in replacement referees, and felt that as the weeks went by, with them gaining experience, the locked out officials became needed less and less.
The first few weeks of the season did little to change my position. Week two had some hiccups, including inconsistent pass interference calls, lengthy reviews and discussions which led to abnormally long games, and the loss of control of a couple of the contests. However, I felt that the coaches exacerbated those problems by refusing to show the proper respect, and was sure that this problem would solve itself, and the inconsistency would be healed by time. The media seemed to insist on focusing on the negatives as well, and it seemed as though the problems weren’t as bad as they were made out to be. Then came week three.
After watching Sunday’s games, I saw a lot of the same discrepancies in the interpretations of the rules from previous weeks, and some indecisiveness that might have been from intimidation by coaches, players, and even fans. During the Bengals vs Redskins game, there was some confusion with the clock and a penalty that wasn’t really explained, then during the the evening and Sunday night games, some blatantly missed calls, including a couple of obvious personal fouls that could have caused serious injury (and nearly did in Darius Hayward-Bey’s case) that weren’t called. Still, I wasn’t too vexed by things, and expected them to get better. Then came Monday night.