NFL Replacement Refs Under Fire
After two weeks of intense media scrutiny and considerable verbal abuse from both players and coaches, the NFL replacement officials received some extra backing from the league on Sept. 20 in the form of a memorandum. The league has been contacting teams and warning them that if the replacement officials are not respected, fines or even suspensions could be forthcoming. Several games, most notably last Monday night's between the Broncos and Falcons, have been marred by the officials misapplying the rule book and missing some blatant penalties. More and more players have started to sound off in the wake of games that are noticeably chipper, more physical, and at times seemingly uncontrollable. Atlanta coach Mike Smith and wide receiver Roddy White bark at referee Dwayne Strozier during the Monday night mess against Denver.
Bill Belichick yells at an official after a pass interference call on the Patriots during their Week 3 game at Baltimore. After the game, an irate Belichick ran up to one of the officials and grabbed his arm. The NFL fined the New England coach $50,000.
With the Vikings ahead late in the fourth quarter, Harbaugh called his third and final timeout following a Toby Gerhart run. Roan then allowed Harbaugh not one, but two challenges, despite San Francisco not possessing the timeout necessary to call for a review. Both plays in question came after Gerhart runs -- Roan deemed the first one a fumble and then erroneously gave San Francisco a timeout back, allowing Harbaugh to pull the same trick later. The second play was not ruled a fumble.
Late in the Bengals/Redskins game, Robert Griffin III was sacked for a 15-yard loss. Then he spiked the ball with 7 seconds left. Then tight end Fred Davis was called for a false start. Then coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals, anticipating a 10-second runoff, thought the game was over and walked onto the field en masse. Then an official called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a livid Redskins sideline. Then the officials mistakenly marked off a total of 25 yards for the two penalties, instead of 20. "They threw the flag at us - and there was half of the (Bengals) football team on the field,'' Mike Shanahan said. "I was disappointed in that.''
John Fox takes issue with one of the many blown calls in last Monday's game against Atlanta. Fox could not hide his frustration in the postgame press conference, but would not bash the refs on the record.
John Fox appears to be mincing few words in making a point to referee Tim Morris during the Broncos 27-21 loss to Atlanta.
Jim Harbaugh screams at referee David White in San Francisco's opener against Green Bay. Harbaugh has been caught by cameras frequently losing his temper with the referees and has drawn the ire of the NFL.
Jeff Fisher angrily reacts to a call during the Rams' opening week game against Detroit.
Fisher berates referee Donovan Briggans during the Rams' Week 1 game against the Lions. St. Louis's second game, against Washington, was a penalty-filled affair that drew criticism from Redskins coach Mike Shanahan as well as starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, who accused the Rams of playing dirty.
Buffalo coach Chan Gailey expresses his discontent with head linesman Michael Bell during his team's first game against the New York Jets.
The usually crotchety Tom Coughlin expresses disbelief after Giants' wide receiver Martellus Bennett got his helmet knocked off in New York's win over Carolina.
Ben Roethlisberger tries to point out a clock issue with referee Gerald Wright in the fourth quarter of the Steelers' opener against Denver.
Peyton Manning reacts in disbelief during the first quarter of Denver's Week 1 game against Pittsburgh.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford gives referee Richard Nicks an earful after taking a blow to the head in a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Arizona running back William Powell frantically argues with the officials during the fourth quarter against Seattle.
Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz argues his case to referee Richard Nicks during the Lions' loss to the 49ers.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy towers over field judge Rusty Spindel.
John Harbaugh is at it again, clearly questioning Richard Nicks' clock attention during the Ravens win over the Bengals.
Carolina head coach Ron Rivera approaches two officials during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Andy Reid yells at referee Ken Roan from afar in the Eagles' opener against Cleveland.
Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler shockingly expresses some emotion while arguing a call during the Bears' opener against Indianapolis.
John Harbaugh firmly disagrees with whatever referee Richard Nicks is arguing.
Officials try and mitigate a dispute with two Dallas players in the season opener against the Giants.
Browns' head coach Pat Shurmur is clearly unhappy with head linesman Kevin Akin in his team's opening game against Philadelphia.
Mike Shanahan argues with head linesman Toney Brausell during the Redskins Week 3 loss to Cincinnati.
San Diego coach Norv Turner attempts to make a point with head linesman Noal Strickland during San Diego's season opener against Oakland.
In what might have been the replacement referees' most controversial call to date, Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate was ruled to have caught a game-winning touchdown as time expired despite what appeared to be an interception by Packers safety M.D. Jennings. One referee (left) ruled the pass an interception, while the other overruled and declared the desperation pass from Russell Wilson a touchdown.