The most zealous football fans will forgive you for not watching the Hall of Fame game last night. Pretty much anything else provides better entertainment. For example, I was watching lightning bolts through the clouds over the North Fork. You were probably watching tape-delayed sports on NBC or Breaking Bad or something. Anyway, you can still be a football fan. No one minds.
But if you are a referee of the Hall of Fame game, and you are not watching, football fans do mind. Lots of 'em mind. That goes double if you are a replacement referee, filling in while the regular referees are locked out. That labor dispute could last into the season, you know. CBS Sports's Mike Freeman got a lot of players to kvetch about the scabs:
You didn't see much about this on television. Or hear about it. But players from the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals claim replacement officials working the Hall of Fame Game made so many errors, players from both sidelines began openly mocking them.
The mistakes, players say, were numerous, despite not being discussed much or shown on the broadcast. For one, players say, not a single, non-special teams holding penalty was called. That is a remarkable thing for the first preseason game of the year.
Players gave numerous examples but said two were blatant. In one, officials forgot to move the marker after a 3-yard loss. The loss was followed by an incomplete pass. So it should have been third-and-13 but the marker showed third-and-10 because the official forgot to move it. One sideline erupted over the mistake and the officials corrected it.
On another play, it was explained by players, there was a holding call on a Saints punt return and it took the officials four attempts to correctly spot the football.
NFL refs do not, generally speaking, excel at their jobs. (Jeff Triplette certainly does not excel at his.) So we'd hate to see—in real games—the crowd that missed the cut for the NFL crews. So far, so bad.
Players rip replacement refs from Hall of Fame Game [CBS Sports]