Replacement refs are just scratching the surface of futility |

Replacement refs are just scratching the surface of futility

Sports Geek
Jeff Sauer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Jeff Sauer

“Things will likely get worse before they get better.”

– Ian Shepherdson

The U.S. economist was right all along. Who knew just how bad this NFL replacement referee thing would actually turn out?

Seriously, the league had better hope for a quick resolution with the “real” referees before things get way out of hand. Not only are the replacements botching calls left and right, but they don’t command respect from the players and coaches, the studio analysts who influence viewers and the former and current officiating rank and file.

Sure, it’s easy to pick on the zebras. But these guys are making it way too easy for us.

In Week 1, they granted an extra timeout, incorrectly called a two-minute warning, ended a game prematurely while denying a team a last-second chance for a win, and picked up several flags thrown on obvious penalties. All of it reeked of incompetence.

Same story for Week 2: allowing coaches to challenge plays that aren’t challengeable, letting time run off the clock in a dead ball situation, calling penalties that apply to college football only … the list goes on and on.

More noticeably, these guys just look and sound like they’re impersonating Larry, Curly and Moe out there on the field.

Every time the head referee (Moe) turns on his microphone to try and explain a call, usually after several wasted minutes conferring with Larry and Curly, I cringe, just like I do when I see a dude wearing skinny jeans. I hope and pray that the outcome will change for the better, that the bad taste in my mouth will go away, but inevitably, the refs end up looking like doofuses over and over again.

C’mon, man. I miss Ed Hochuli and his biceps already. Bring ’em all back, and hurry!

The time has come for the league to come to grips with the fact that they miscalculated the negative impact with the replacements. They’ll soon have a mutiny on their hands if they don’t fix the problem and get rid of the rent-a-refs.

For the record, I actually feel sorry for the replacements. They didn’t ask for this, the league did.

Back to the future

I found a 2004 Broncos magnetic schedule stuck underneath my desk this morning.

Opponents included: Jacksonville, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Miami, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Cincy.

This would have been a dream schedule in 2012.

The Broncos’ current “murderer’s row” schedule continues this weekend against Houston, followed by games against New England and New Orleans in October. The Pats and Saints have painted themselves into a corner to start the season and could be dangerous, desperate opponents by the time Denver plays them. If the Broncos make it to the midway point of the season relatively unscathed, the second half of their schedule unfolds rather nicely.

The 2004 Broncos, by the way, finished 10-6, and were trounced in the opening round of the playoffs by some guy named Peyton Manning. Manning threw for 458 yards in a 49-24 rout, posting the third highest yardage output for a quarterback in playoff history.

Drew Brees leapfrogged Manning last year to move into second place with 466 yards.

No. 1 on the list is Bernie Kosar, who always looked to me like he was playing the game in high heels. Kosar threw for 489 yards against the Jets, one week before the Broncos invaded Cleveland for “The Drive” in 1987.


Jeff Sauer is a longtime western Colorado resident and former Roaring Fork Valley resident. He can be reached at

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