- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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Tuck has seen the replacement referees cost the Green Bay Packers a game already. And he is worried over what could happen this Sunday in a pivotal NFC East rivalry that has often been decided in the fourth quarter by a few plays here and there.
Under the supervision of replacement officials, Tuck said it feels as if NFL games are "just being tossed up like as if you were throwing dice on a craps table."
"Every player in this league worries about it," Tuck said when asked about whether he was worried if something similar could happen during Sunday night's game. "I know players are on eggshells and the replacement referees are on eggshells because they know that everything that they say, whether it's right or wrong, is going to be scrutinized. I look at it as a lose-lose situation."
"And now, I am very curious to see how this is going to go because it has cost a team a win," Tuck added at an appearance at Scholastic Headquarters to launch the fifth season of his R.U.S.H. for Literacy charity initiative. "And if you look at the last two champions -- Green Bay and ourselves -- one win would have cost us a playoff berth. I honestly believe this is inexcusable."
Tuck and linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka voiced their concerns about player safety last week and how replacement officials were putting players at risk while also compromising the integrity of the game.
Less than a week later, the NFL is under fire after the Packers lost on the last play of their game in Seattle on a Hail Mary touchdown pass that appeared to be an interception.
"It is unfortunate that the NFL, America's game, has been reduced to what it is," Tuck said. "A lot of people are looking at it as a joke, honestly. I saw a lot of people refer to it as reality TV and things of that nature."
"As a fan, you pay all this money and PSL's and honestly games are just being tossed up like as if you were throwing dice on a craps table," Tuck later added. "You play that play over 10 times, a regular bar-going fan would be able to tell you that was an interception and that definitely was not a touchdown."
The biggest play the Giants have been involved in thus far with replacement officials was during their season opener against the Dallas Cowboys when Victor Cruz appeared to have drawn a pass interference in the end zone only to have no flag thrown.
Tuck reiterated that he does not blame replacement officials for being thrown into a bad situation. His disappointment lies with the NFL for allowing this situation to take place and not coming to terms with the regular officials.
"You could kind of see the writing on the wall with that," Tuck said when told that the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have taken a lot of heat since the end of Monday night's game. "When the referees come (back), they make mistakes too. At least you could kind of deal with their mistakes. Their mistakes were limited.
"I don't know what's going on," Tuck continued. "I don't know why we haven't come to an agreement. A lot of people speculate it's over money. A lot of people speculate it's over more than that. All I know is the game is a lot better when the integrity of the game is held up and right now that's what's completely lacking."
Tuck's biggest fear was that players could get hurt. Now he has seen a team lose a game over the replacement referee controversy. And he fears that could potentially lead to even more repercussions.
"The best thing we can do is voice our opinion on it and hope that the powers that be make a decision that benefits the game and not someone else's pocket," Tuck said. "My biggest fear was this was going to cause some people to get hurt. I didn't look at it in the fact that it could cost people (wins).
"There are so many ramifications," he continued. "You could have jobs cost because their team didn't make the playoffs because of a call. I'm just one voice and I know that there are a lot of people in New England who would probably agree with me and in Green Bay who would probably agree with me."