- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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The NFL has all of the money in the world. The NFL referees have a union.
But the replacement officials have neither. They have no one speaking for them or promoting their interests. They are defenseless against all of the griping and complaining directed at them through the first two weeks of the season.
They need someone to stand up for them. They need a replacement spokesman to fire off a statement that reads like this:
Dear NFL Players, Coaches and Fans,
Stop your whining, you sad losers. We are replacement refs, but you are full-time pathetic.
Many of us work during the week as schoolteachers in classrooms full of teenagers. Yet after two weekends with you people, we see the weekdays as our opportunity to spend time with mature and rational people.
So we have gotten some calls wrong? Embarrassed ourselves here and there? Oh, wow! What a travesty! This has never happened before in an NFL game with the fancy regular officials, right?
Show us the one game -- and there are 31 to choose from so far -- where we affected the outcome. While you rack your brain to come up with nothing, let us point to this game when Ed Hochuli single-handedly won a game for Jay Cutler and the Broncos against the Chargers. Yes, your beloved and muscled patron saint of referees enabled Jay Cutler to win a big game. That’s almost impossible, but he did it.
Yet we have guys like Joe Flacco saying this garbage after games (saying it because they lost and they’re sad): “The [Eagles] were all over our guys and not in a very legal way sometimes." And that we are “affecting the integrity of the game.” Flacco also laughed at how one of us made a call: "He didn't even throw a flag. He threw a blue beanie and then put his hands in the air -- like offensive pass interference -- I mean, come on."
Ha-ha-ha. It’s funny because Flacco is criticizing how someone else throws. OK, fine. It was a mistake to throw the blue beanie and not the flag that one time. Just like how you made a mistake completely missing your receivers 20 times. 20 > 1. At least the official was intending for his thrown object to land on the ground.
Are we as dumb as Redskins receiver Josh Morgan was taking his team out of field goal range with a stupid personal foul penalty? Not even close.
Did you see Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams fumble the ball late in their game against the Patriots when his only job was to not fumble? And then did you see Stephen Gostkowski blow a game-winning field goal right after that? We haven’t done one thing half as incompetent in two weeks as two players did a few minutes apart in one game.
Jim Harbaugh has made a hobby out of screaming at us, but he didn’t even know what down it was during one series against the Lions. Jim, we’re sure you’re insanely screaming some great points at us, but it’s pointless to debate with someone who doesn’t know basic facts.
Do we sometimes misspeak when making a call or mess up with the public address system? Yep. But this is our second week on the job. Andy Reid has been coaching for 14 years and still doesn’t understand how timeouts or challenges work. Advantage: replacement refs.
We usually are officiating games played by middle school and high school kids. Here’s a news flash for you: The transition from them to you hasn’t been that great. You’re bigger and stronger and faster, sure. But we’re managing. Again: We haven’t affected the outcome of a single game. That’s pretty good for a weekend job we got just to make some money to put in an above-ground pool in the backyard. And we’re on TV now, which has made us pretty much the most famous people in our towns.
So shut up. Worry about what you’re doing and let us keep doing our part-time temporary job. You guys are full-time professionals and you screw up way more than we do. If you have lost a game, it’s on you. Not us.
Think about it: If you guys are so perfect and infallible, why do officials even exist?
See you again next week. We can’t wait to see how you all mess up this time.
Quote of the Week
"I thought that we would be better, and we're not. So we have to try and figure out what that is. From what I've seen, if we do what we're supposed to do, then we would be better."
-- Romeo Crennel
Good news, Chiefs fans. Romeo Crennel is on the case and he has determined that the Chiefs can be better if they do ... things they are supposed to do! It looks like 14-2 is a very real possibility. The Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. Might want to reserve a hotel now before rates go up.
Stat of the Week
Bills running back C.J. Spiller is averaging 10.1 yards per carry this season. Titans running back Chris Johnson is averaging 10.5 yards per game. But stats can sometimes be very misleading. What if Johnson had rushed only twice this season, that would make him more productive than Spiller and ... oh, he's carried the ball 19 times so far? Well, OK then. You win this round, stats.
Misleading Stat of the Week
The Chiefs had 25 first downs to Buffalo's 15. They outgained the Bills 422 to 379. Kansas City also had fewer penalties and penalty yards and won the time of possession battle by 1 minute, 18 seconds. It seems like the Chiefs did what they were supposed to do. So how did they still lose by 18 points? Crennel is going to be very confused by this. Forget what I said earlier. Cancel your New Orleans hotel rooms, Chiefs fans. I really hope you got a refundable room. Sorry.
This Week's Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team
Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns -- 26-for-37, 322 yards, 2 TD
Ben Tate, RB, Texans -- 97 total yards, 2 TD
Jackie Battle, RB, Chargers -- 14 carries, 69 yards, 2 TD
Danny Amendola, WR, Rams -- 15 catches, 160 yards, TD
Brandon Tate, WR, Bengals -- 3 catches, 71 yards, TD
Dante Rosario, TE, Chargers -- 4 catches, 48 yards, 3 TD
Photos of the Week
News Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked
Pat Shurmur: Did you suspect Brandon Weeden would play better this week when he didn't get trapped under a flag during the pregame?
Greg Schiano: How many games did you win at Rutgers thanks to your patented last-play bull rush?
John Harbaugh: Why does Cam Cameron hate Ray Rice?
Mike Munchak: Working theory, tell me if I'm right or wrong -- Chris Johnson has had his talent stolen by cartoon aliens.
Reader Twitter Question of the Week
@djgalloespn Andy Dalton and Brandon Weeden are elite-er than Flacco, Stafford, and Brady, right?
— Keith Ehlis (@keithehlis) September 17, 2012
Whoa whoa whoa. Not quite yet. You have to have a winning record before you get in the ELITE discussion. Last week Joe Flacco was ELITE. Now everyone who deemed him ELITE will pretend that never happened. However, if the Ravens beat the Patriots next week? JOE FLACCO IS THE ELITIST!
If you're in the mood for an ELITE debate this week, go with Alex Smith. He has the letters E, L, I and T in his name. Using basic football hyperbole logic, that makes him 33 percent more ELITE than even Eli Manning. Case closed.
5 Things You May Have Thought I’d Think
1. So that “Griffining” thing died off pretty quickly. RG3 played another good game, but how was lying on his back with his arms up supposed to catch on? If that is happening more than a few times a season, the Redskins really need to upgrade their offensive line. If a quarterback lying on his back is going to be a thing, it has to be called “Cutlering.” Use your brains, people.
2. Considering the history of Rutgers football, no one should be surprised they have a special play for when the other team kneels down to seal a victory.
3. The guy who is winning your fantasy league likely drafted C.J. Spiller in the 10th round and is now pretending he is a genius. He is not a genius. He is no more genius than the Patriots were for drafting Tom Brady in the sixth round. “But Bill Belichick knew Brady was going to be a superstar!” No, he didn’t. If he was so sure, he would have drafted Brady earlier so as not to risk another team taking him. If you’re positive someone is going to be a star, you would be insane to wait six rounds to draft him. So feel free to inform the guy in your league who has Spiller that he is not smarter than you. Unless you are that guy, in which case: Great job, genius!
4. I’m not sure I see the issue over the replacement ref who is a Saints fan. So he likes an NFL team. So what? Does the NFL have a policy that its officials can’t be fans? Do they have to take an oath saying they don’t support any teams? Good luck getting people to choose a career as a football referee if they don’t like football. Do you know anyone who is a football fan but roots for no team? Such a person doesn’t exist.
“Watching some football, eh? Who are you rooting for?”
“Oh, no one. I just enjoy the majesty that is football.”
“Get out, weirdo.”
And even if a ref doesn’t have a favorite team, you can bet he has players he likes and doesn’t like -- same as you like or dislike people you work with. When your job is to call penalties on individual players, wouldn’t playing favorites with players be an even bigger problem than liking a certain team?
The point is this: You have to trust people to be impartial -- even replacement officials. Referees, commissioners, even people who write about sports can be fair if they are good people and good at what they do.
5. The Steelers looked really good on Sunday. What a team! They probably would have won by even more if the biased, idiotic replacement refs didn’t rob them on, like, every play!!!