Despite the fact the league's chosen officials have looked like the Keystone Kops this preseason, the NFL has decided to use replacement referees in Week 1. Wednesday night's Giants-Patriots game didn't do much to instill confidence, as the replacements spent several minutes trying to get a call right, causing Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin (neither known for being particularly understanding individuals anyway) to fume on the sidelines. Is this a preview of the carnage the replacements will cause in the regular season?
Is the NFL's product being harmed?
It's often said that referees are doing a good job when you don't notice them, but it's been impossible not to notice the replacements during this preseason.
Week 1 impact?
Every game counts in the NFL's relatively short regular season, and even one week of the replacements could affect division races.
Ed Hochuli once made a call that arguably changed the outcome of a game, but it was notable because of how rarely something like that happens.