Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

They're Getting Worse, Not Better: Here Are The 28 Worst Replacement Official Mistakes From Week 2

Illustration for article titled Theyre Getting Worse, Not Better: Here Are The 28 Worst Replacement Official Mistakes From Week 2

After a lousy first week in the NFL, replacement officials again came under fire this weekend following trip-ups, missed calls, and general ineptitude. While Roger Goodell testifies to the NFL's increased emphasis on player safety, his continued lockout of union officials reveals the league really doesn't give a damn about the issue. After all, the NFL can add new rules (say, about crack-back blocks) and train the officials about them in the offseason, but if those officials end up locked out, that awareness never sees the playing field anyway.


This week's blunders by replacement officials run a wide gamut. We found more than 50 of them, but omitted acts of general stupidity (like the referee in Jacksonville speaking to the wrong sideline or utterances like "Penalty on #93 Red"). A substantial number of them, though, are of the nature that directly put players at risk. From the missed Golden Tate crack-back that earned him a $21,000 fine to extremely late whistles that put every player on the field in danger, it's impossible to watch the following video and conclude the NFL is doing all in its power to protect its players. In a lockout, after all, agency lies with the NFL. (A breakdown of each clip can be found below the video, and you're encouraged to pause and rewind because each clip is very short.)

1. In the last five minutes of the half, the umpire is supposed to position himself in the defensive backfield. [0:00]
2. The now-illegal crack-back block by Golden Tate is ignored, and a phantom late hit is called—a double-whammy for the Cowboys. [0:13]
3. A classic example of a helmet-to-helmet strike on a defenseless receiver is ignored. [0:19]
4. An obvious incomplete pass is ruled a fumble. [0:31]
5. When 12 men are in the offensive huddle, that is an immediate penalty. The officials wrongfully wave the penalty off after the Ravens later call a time out. [0:40]
6. Helmet-to-helmet on a defenseless receiver missed. [0:50]
7. Pass interference called when no pass interference is apparent. [0:59]
8. A late hit is called when no late hit exists. [1:14]
9. After a play ends out of bounds, the clock is never stopped. [1:26]
10. The Colts run a first down play, after which a dead ball personal foul is called. The penalty is marked off, but they replay the down-giving Indianapolis a bonus down. [1:42]
11. The clock is never stopped after an incomplete pass. [1:54]
12. Defensive holding is a five-yard penalty, but the officials spot the ball ten yards downfield. [2:03]
13. Steven Jackson scores a touchdown, spikes the ball, but officials declare him down and add insult to injury by penalizing him for the spike. [2:12]
14. Pass interference called when no pass interference is evident. [2:23]
15. The defense is drawn offside on a field goal attempt, but the kicking team is penalized for a phantom false start on the long snapper. [2:44]
16. The runner is clearly down, and the challenge replay (which, remember, challenges are reviewed by the on-field referee) ignores this fact; a report from the stadium reveals the referee did indeed see the play, but likely did not understand how the NFL challenge rules work. [2:58]
17. A very late whistle on an incomplete pass. [3:10]
18. An illegal chop block is called on what is a legal chop block. (Learn more about the difference here.) [3:24]
19. The quarter ends, and the officials do not notice. [3:32]
20. Defensive pass interference occurs, is not called. [3:41]
21. A touchdown is scored on a play that should have been whistled for delay of game. [3:53]
22. Malcolm Floyd catches an apparent touchdown pass, ruled incomplete on the field and inconclusive on challenge. [4:02]
23. This is, perhaps, the most bizarre play from this weekend. Officials rule Steven Jackson fumbles, when video shows he was clearly down. This should have been automatically reviewed in the booth per 2012 rules, but wasn't; Rams coach Jeff Fisher throws the challenge flag, and the result is overturned and the ball's returned to St. Louis. The problem is that fumbles are by rule not challengeable, and the Rams should have been flagged 15 yards for attempting to do it. [4:15]
24. A missed pass interference call (or, perhaps, defensive holding) leads directly to an interception. [4:35]
25. The ball is spotted improperly and it takes a call from the booth (which generally does not interfere with play on the field) to the backup referee to get it straightened out. Note how the backup literally shoves his fellow official. [4:47]
26. Another bizarre play, in which Trent Richardson's shoe is thrown off the field by a defender. A flag is thrown, but eventually waved off. [4:54]
27. A late hit is called while the play is still active. [5:05]
28. An obvious facemask (so obvious the runner had to adjust his own helmet while the play is still live) is missed. [5:09]


h/t to everyone who submitted a suggestion via the Twitter hashtag #scabwatch

PREVIOUSLY: Here Are The 21 Worst Replacement Referee Mistakes From Sunday

Share This Story

Get our newsletter