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September 25, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Ashley Fox

Ashley Fox
  (2:59 PM)

Hi everybody. Thanks for joining me. What should we talk about?

Derek (Oregon)


Ashley Fox
  (3:00 PM)

Oh, that. Seriously, I've been writing about this issue for the last month, including today after last night. Hope the two sides can hammered out a new deal soon. Today would be good.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Did you think the Last Play of the Game on Monday Night was Pass Interference against #81 Golden Tate instead of a Touchdown?

Ashley Fox
  (3:01 PM)

Absolutely. The league admitted as much today in their statement about the last play, which I thought was telling.

Rich (New Jersey)

Hi, Ashley - I've watched the replay of the Packers - Seahawks game countless times, will the critics of the replacements refs start pointing to this game the Packers should have that they should bring the real refs back?

Ashley Fox
  (3:02 PM)

This was one of many. I think the league has been getting hammered pretty good on this issue. It is ridiculous that now a team has lost a game on a play that was called incorrectly. What happens if the Packers miss the playoffs by a game? Not good.

no one ever (Earth) [via mobile]

I thought the replacement refs did a GREAT job last night!

Ashley Fox
  (3:03 PM)

Exactly. Even the POTUS has weighed in on Twitter.

Kevin Barineau- Ocala, Florida [via mobile]

New Jeopardy Episode.... Alex Trebek: for $1000.00 "Three Blind Mice" Contestant: "Alex, "What are NFL Referees" Alex Trebek: "CORRECT!

Ashley Fox
  (3:03 PM)

Good one.

Rich (New Jersey)

Hi, Ashley. John Fox - $30,000 & Jack Del Rio - $20,000 fines, harsher fines for Bill Belichick, Kyle Shanahan

Ashley Fox
  (3:06 PM)

I would think so. Maybe double for Belichick. He actually put his hands on an official. Fox and Del Rio were fined for their words, not for touching an official. And Shanahan will probably get popped pretty good, too. I'm pretty certain the league will again remind coaches that it doesn't want them barking incessantly at the refs.

Tim (Seattle) [via mobile]

Will a replacement ref end up with government protection if this keeps going on?

Ashley Fox
  (3:08 PM)

Maybe. My colleague Darren Rovell had an interesting piece today that the outcome of the Packers-Seahawks game had a $150-250 million shift in bets because the Packers didn't cover the spread. A botched call cost a lot of people a lot of money. Check out that story if you have time. It's fascinating.

John (Wisconsin)

How has the league come to this? this is absolutely horrible. 1 team officially lost due to the refs. Multiple teams had major issues in their games that helped them lose. How can the NFL and the NFL owners not be concerned. I am hearing a lot of fans saying they are getting so disgusted that they don't even want to watch anymore.

Ashley Fox
  (3:10 PM)

I'm hearing this same sentiment, but the TV ratings are still up and the stadiums, for the most part, are still full. The NFL isn't going to budge on the issue of pensions for part-time employees. I don't blame the league on this. There has to be some middle ground there somewhere.

Andrew (WI)

True leaders own up to mistakes, makes public concessions, and at least says he or she is working to correct the mistakes. The NFL and Goodell instead released a statement where they actually didn't address the most controversial part of the call from last night. Roger Goodell is not acting like a leader. Even if you can't end the lockout, admitting mistakes would go a long way towards reconciliation.

Ashley Fox
  (3:11 PM)

Agreed. Okay, now on to some football-related questions...

TK (Philladelphia)

OK OK OK, enough about last nights game... sportscenter spent 45 mins of an hour show on it... I counted an they replayed the down 17x.... Will the real Eagles please stand up..... most likely to happen in your opinion Ash... Eagles win the Superbowl or the Browns lose all 16?

Ashley Fox
  (3:13 PM)

Eagles win the Super Bowl? Wow. You're asking that today? I still think the Eagles get it together. The defense is tough. The turnovers obviously are a killer and the quarterback needs to play smarter and cut down the mistakes. But he and Andy Reid are really getting it this week. If they don't bounce back against the Giants it's going to get ugly.

Michael (Cincinnati)

How close can the Browns make it Thurs night? It clearly looked like the team took a step back at home against Buffalo. Can they find anything on the road against Baltimore?

Ashley Fox
  (3:14 PM)

It's going to be tough. I'm high on the Ravens. They've won 11 or 12 consecutive home games. Flacco played well after a slow start against the Patriots. I don't see Cleveland being able to keep up with them.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Was Mike Mularkey leaving Atlanta the best offseason move in the NFL? His offense was boring and predicatable and now with him gone the Falcons are finally moving the ball and showing the efficiency on offense many expected the past two years.

Ashley Fox
  (3:18 PM)

It certainly has worked out well for the Falcons switching offensive coordinators. Atlanta is the only team in the league to score a touchdown on its opening possession in each of the three games and they're the only team in the league that hasn't trailed in a game yet. They are getting on top quickly and then putting their foot on their opponents. And the thing is, who on the offense are you going to double? Roddy White? Julio Jones? The future HOF tight end? Try to take one away and another is going to burn you.

Frank (Melbourne, FL)

Hi Ashley! Are Arizona and Seattle serious contenders for the NFC West, or is it still San Francisco's division to lose?

Ashley Fox
  (3:22 PM)

I think its still San Francisco's to lose, but the division all of a sudden looks much better, doesn't it? Check out our power rankings. San Francisco is 4, Arizona 5, Seattle 10 and St. Louis 25. Who would've thought there would be three NFC West teams in the top 10 at this point in the season? Not me.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Are the Jets done with Revis now out for the season? Rex Ryan needed a hug during the press conference.

Ashley Fox
  (3:24 PM)

Ryan needs more than a hug. Everything the Jets do defensively is based on Revis's ability to shut down one side of the field. They don't have that anymore. They have two average starting corners now instead of having the best in the game who made everybody else better. It's a shame for Revis. Hate to see any player lose a season because of an ACL, but really hate to see an elite player suffer that type of injury.

David (Austin)

Hey ashley, I have been living under a rock the last month, can you get me caught up on current events?

Ashley Fox
  (3:24 PM)

How long do you have?

Jeff (Seattle)

As a Seahawks fan, should I feel guilty about last night's win?

Ashley Fox
  (3:27 PM)

Guilty? I don't know. Probably. Lucky might be a better word. Or opportunistic. There probably should be an asterisk next to that one.

Steve (Milwaukee)

I understand from a business standpoint that the owners don't want to back down as we all continue to watch, but don't they care about winning? Yes, the normal officials make mistakes too and some have been game altering, but these refs make close games complete tossups. If the Packers had a real owner, especially an outspoken one like Jerry Jones, would this be a bigger deal?

Ashley Fox
  (3:29 PM)

Sorry, back to the officials, but there are a lot of good points being made. And yes, I agree that it is somewhat of a gift to the league that it was the Packers that this happened to. But this is what the owners want. Jerry Jones said last week that it is only the losing teams that are complaining, which is simply not true, by the way. And you're right: Close games are toss ups.

JJ (Indiana)

Don't you think the real issue is how gambling will be greatly effected by all of this? It sure would be easy for a bad ref to make a "bad call" and make a lot of $$ from some bad people.

Ashley Fox
  (3:30 PM)

This has crossed my mind and would be a huge problem. Read Rovell's piece.

Otto (Sheboygan, WI)

Legit question: after last night, I have to wonder: what exactly was the background check process for the replacement officials? As a football fan, I hope this is a matter of incompetence and not something more nefarious, but after the "Saints fan" last weekend, and some VERY questionable calls that have swung more than 1 line, I have to ask: they did check out these guys right?

Ashley Fox
  (3:32 PM)

That is a legit question. The league I believe did background checks, and hopefully they were thorough. But they missed the Facebook stuff and that one official was a professional poker player. Makes you wonder.

Adam (San Diego)

Did you see the report that came out today from the head of the Lingerie Football League saying they fired some of the crews that the NFL is now using because of incompetence? True story!

Ashley Fox
  (3:32 PM)

I saw something on Twitter about that. Amazing if true.

wyoming [via mobile]

We seem to be blaming the Commish for the problem, he is just a figurehead for the owners who sit in private country clubs racking in the $$

Ashley Fox
  (3:33 PM)

That is true. He was hired by the owners and works for the owners. He is doing what they want him to do.

Don (Shawano,Wi.)

Everyone is focused on last nights last play. However, there were two blown calls before on the last drive. The roughing the passer call and the pass interference call which put Seattle in position to try the Hail Mary. But to my question, in the NFC the west division has gone from a laughing stock to the strongest division in a short time. Do you see a similar change in the AFC?

Ashley Fox
  (3:36 PM)

It will be interesting to see if the NFC West stays that high in our power rankings. The NFC as a whole is much stronger then the AFC. As for the AFC West, I've been saying for months how deep that division is now with Peyton Manning in it. I think they'll get it figured out. That was an enormous win for Kansas City to avoid starting 0-3, but they've got some issues. San Diego should be better than they showed against Atlanta and Oakland showed a little life against Pittsburgh. We'll see how it shakes out.

Jeremy (Indy)

A modest proposal... Every team should agree to take a knee on their first possession of next week's game and every subsequent game use an additional series to take a knee until they bring back the real refs. Once the players end up spending a full quarter taking a knee and no one tunes in to the beginning of games, maybe the No Fairness League will lose some cash and end this dispute.

Ashley Fox
  (3:36 PM)

Interesting proposal.


Isn't it also about time the fans start to take some accountability in the league's mess? Clearly all the owners respond to is dollars. If the fans don't change their behavior, the owners won't change theirs. For all the indignation spewed today, unless each and every one of the (rightly) complaining fans stops watching and paying money to the NFL next week, their complaints are a waste of time and breath. The odds on that happening = nil. And the owners know it.

Ashley Fox
  (3:37 PM)

This is true. The NFL is printing money.

Bryan (Chicago)

Can the players or coaches strike over this? Can they engage in a slow-down (i.e., refuse to start 1:00 games until 1:10 or take an extra 5 mins at half-time)?

Ashley Fox
  (3:39 PM)

The players can not strike, per the new CBA. Could they take the field late or do something else? That would be interesting to see. Or maybe the regular officials could come to the realization that they won't get pensions as part-time employees when many full-time employees of the league and of teams don't get pensions any more. What makes the officials so special? They need to be held accountable as well.

Jane (Milwaukee, WI)

Who has the advantage on Sunday? The scorned Packers, or the perhaps even more scorned Saints?

Ashley Fox
  (3:41 PM)

The Packers, because they have a head coach. And they're playing at home.

Shane (Robins Air Force Base, GA)

YES, officiating has been horrible; YES, we need the regular refs back. However, I think the coaches/players are talking out of both sides of their mouths when they complain about the refs making bad calls, while simultaneously trying to influence the refs into making bad calls when they (the players and coaches) know they are wrong, like Harbaugh getting 5 timeouts or Carroll getting 4. This is not doing something for a "competitive advantage"; it's cheating and a gross lack of integrity. Thoughts?

Ashley Fox
  (3:43 PM)

I don't disagree, and I've seen this from other people here. The players are flexing the rules because they can. The more nobel thing would be to play within the rules, but you've got to remember this about the NFL. Everybody's paranoid the other guy is going to gain a competitive advantage. So they're all going to try to take advantage of what they can, in this case with flexing the rules. Doesn't make it right, but that's what's happening.

John (Los Angeles)

Let's say the Bucs are getting blown out, 45 seconds left with no time-outs, and the opponent has the ball. Instead of taking a knee, the opponent throws a bomb for a meaningless TD, running up the score even further. Does Schiano throw a postgame tantrum, or does he applaud the opponent for playing a full 60 minutes of football?

Ashley Fox
  (3:44 PM)

Great question. If I were him in that situation I would hope he would applaud the opponent for playing a full 60 minutes since, you know, that's what his team is doing.

Ryan (San Jose)

My real issue with the refs is they are losing control of the game and players could really get hurt. Like in the Oakland Pittsburgh game when DHB is almost decapitated by Ryan Mundy, with no flag, and the Raiders responded by chop blocking Ziggy Hood and hurting his knee. Player safety is becoming a real issue in this too.

Ashley Fox
  (3:47 PM)

I agree. Player safety. Integrity of the game. All those things. Lengths of games. They are hard to watch. I was at the Atlanta-Denver Monday night game and it was brutal. And it's tough for players to get into rhythm when the refs stop the game for minutes at a time to make a call. The players don't like it.

Lance (Weston, WI)

I heard that Mike McCarthy was looking in the stands for replacement offensive linemen after the first half(not). But, seriously, what the heck was the O-line doing?

Ashley Fox
  (3:48 PM)

That's pretty funny. I was really worried for Aaron Rodgers in that first half. Eight sacks. Wow. They didn't help him out much last night.

Jon Chown (California)

Personally, I don't care anymore if the NFL gets its real refs back. This season has been ruined. Screw this season. Whoever wins the Super Bowl should get an asterisk. For this season, I am done watching. Who cares anymore. I may return next season, or I might not. The NFL has pissed me off and I'm done for now.

Ashley Fox
  (3:49 PM)

I'm starting to hear this more and more...

Kyle (Philadelphia)

If I am the locked out officials, my last offer just came off the table and I'm raising the price of my services. Thoughts?

Ashley Fox
  (3:50 PM)

Then they'll stay locked out. The NFL isn't budging on the pension.

Ashley Fox
  (3:50 PM)

Then they'll stay locked out. The NFL isn't budging on the pension.

Joe (Oklahoma)

Ashley, can't help but feel the outrage would have been slightly less if a team like Arizona, Kansas City or some other smaller-market team were on the losing end of last night's call.

Ashley Fox
  (3:52 PM)

I don't know about that, but the Packers are popular and should be a Super Bowl contender. That certainly factors in. The other thing is it was on national TV so everybody saw it. That didn't help.

Steve (Milwaukee)

We keep putting the labor dispute in the owners hands (who clearly have the most leverage), but what would make the refs break? Is it just going to take time and sufficient lost wages to cave in?

Ashley Fox
  (3:53 PM)

That would seem to be the league's strategy, to break the union.

Sean Troy (Arizona)

This season has been really exciting with all the refs' incompetence, true. However, this isn't NFL football. I really am not sure why the NFL doesn't seem to see that. The constant chippiness and bickering and growling between the teams is going to eventually lead to a serious brawl, and the NFL will have nobody to blame but itself.

Ashley Fox
  (3:55 PM)

I completely agree with you and touched on this point in my column today. Things are going to escalate and if it does, it won't be pretty. And that will be a big problem. I hate that players and coaches are calling for flags to be thrown all the time. It's obnoxious, but they are at times influencing what's being called.

John (Wyoming)

Do you think if this keeps up there will have to be some sort of explaination at the end of the season? Case in point they won during the replacement Ref year!

Ashley Fox
  (3:56 PM)

Yep. Totally. Maybe not if they get this thing settled soon, but if it last half the season or, god forbid, the entire year, it will be the Replacement Ref year. Let's hope we aren't talking about this in January and February.

Ashley Fox
  (3:57 PM)

Okay, that hour just flew by. There were so many questions I couldn't get to, but I appreciate all of them. Hit me up on Twitter @AshleyMFox and we will continue there. And we'll do it again next week. Hang in there.