So how did the scab refs do in Week 1 of the NFL?
Pretty bloody awful.
The Green Bay-San Francisco game was particularly egregious:
Midway through the second quarter at Lambeau Field, there was an offensive pass interference call on Green Bay’s James Jones that Gierke considered questionable. But during the same drive, San Francisco free safety Dashon Goldson was called for pass interference on Packers tight end Jermichael Finley and the infraction was flagged by the linesman, not the official in the end zone. The official in the end zone left his post to ask the linesman what he saw, which led to an incident between Finley and another San Francisco defensive back.
“(The official in the end zone) left his primary responsibility,” Gierke said. “You don’t turn your back on players. He left because he wanted to see what the other guy called. It should have been his call.
“He stopped officiating, basically.”
Earlier in that game, there was a false start by 49ers left tackle Joe Staley. And at the start of the fourth quarter, Randall Cobb’s 75-yard punt return for a touchdown was flagged for an illegal block in the back but then overturned.
As Seattle drove down the field late in the fourth quarter, referee Bruce Hermansen granted the Seahawks an extra timeout. The crew gathered and began deliberations, delaying play with about 90 seconds remaining on the game clock. After about five minutes of review the crew came back with the wrong answer and ruled Seattle had one timeout remaining.
Here is what head referee Bruce Hermansen had to say following the conclusion of the game, which Arizona won 20-16.
“It was my error. We gave them (SEA) the additional timeout because of the incomplete pass stopping the clock before the injury occurred. When in effect, the clock has no bearing on the play at all, whether it’s stopped or running, we should not have given them (SEA) the additional timeout.
Of course, my Seahawks still couldn’t take score to win the game….
Which is too bad, not only because it would have been a win for my team, but because it would have been an example of the scabs robbing a team (and its outraged fanbase) of a win and possibly a playoff appearance. The pressure on the NFL after that happened would have been (and will be) enormous.
As Laura Clawson writes, the NFL Players Association is really worried about the safety of their members. But the NFL has always put profit ahead of player safety and locking out the referees is no exception.