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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
NFL players show frustration with officials

By Bill Speros
Special to ESPN.com

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning threw three interceptions in Monday night's 27-21 loss at Atlanta. But it was the performance of the replacement NFL officials that drew the most ire on Twitter. The officials lost control of the game early and often. The chaos was highlighted by a six-minute delay in the hour-long first quarter after a fumble by Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno.

During that fracas, players ran onto the field, shoved each other and put their hands on officials. Atlanta's Ray Edwards was caught on camera throwing punches and was the only player penalized -- drawing a "dead-ball personal foul" on "No. 93, red."

Ref. #93 red ... Really

— Jared Cook (@JaredCook89) September 18, 2012


The criticism was wide and deep -- coming from all venues. Charlie Daniels opened ESPN's telecast with a revised version of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia." He might want to pen some new lyrics featuring replacement officials.

I can kinda emphasize with the refsIt would be like me having to play first chair violin with a symphony

— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) September 18, 2012
The legendary fiddler summed up the attitudes of millions watching:

I'm as confused as the refs#mnf

— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) September 18, 2012


NBA players took their best shots:

this has to be the worst called football game ever, an hour for the 1st quarter and the flags/calls are ridiculous! #justsayin

— DeAndre Jordan (@deandrejordan) September 18, 2012

That's not pass interference. SMh. These refs r terrible !!!!!!

— Eric Maynor (@EMaynor3) September 18, 2012


The NHL lockout left its players with time on their hands. Some tuned in to watch Manning, Matt Ryan or maybe their second-string fantasy team receivers, but at least two were moved to call penalties of their own:

I thought everyone was making a big deal about these new NFL refs. But they are terrible in this game. #mercy

— Logan Couture (@Logancouture) September 18, 2012

Enough is enough already time to get the real @nfl refs back. #uncle

— Milan Lucic (@MilanLucic4) September 18, 2012


One NFL player tried to offer the officials some limited support:

Don't get mad at the refs it's actually not their fault. The @nfl is to blame. Refs are doing the best they can.

— Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) September 18, 2012


That plea may have fallen on deaf Twitter feeds, at least among these former players turned analysts:

NFL this is an embarrassment! Please get the real refs back.

— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) September 18, 2012

The players are fouling and seeing if the refs will call it! #NeedTheRealGuysBackNow

— Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) September 18, 2012


Everybody was a comedian:

Vince McMahon called. He wants his referees back. #MNF #WWE #Broncos #falcons @espn

— Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) September 18, 2012


In was only a matter of time. "Foot Locker" jokes were in abundance.

Somewhere in Atlanta there is a Footlocker with no employees. #MNF

— Bryon D. Crosby (@bryoncrosby) September 18, 2012
If you see any offbeat links from your favorite sports site or catchy tweets that might be of interest to others, pass them along to me @billsperos or bsperos1@gmail.com.