By Marc Weinreich
September 19, 2012

Cortland Finnegan praises the replacement refs for letting players play. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The NFL replacement refs have been catching a lot of flack as of late.

In the past week, one sideline ref was notified hours before a Carolina Panthers-New Orleans Saints game that he could not report to the game that he had been scheduled to officiate: pictures of him donning Saints gear while tailgating at a preseason Saints game had been found on Facebook.

Then there was the ref who supposedly told the Eagles' LeSean McCoy in the middle of a game that he needs him to play well for his fantasy team.

But one player who is actually singing the praise of the highly criticized replacement refs is the St. Louis Rams' Cortland Finnegan. His compliments may not come as much of a surprise given that it was Finnegan who seemed to escape from a penalty after bumping the Washington Redskins receiver Josh Morgan, who responded by throwing the football at Finnegan. Morgan got flagged with a penalty and Finnegan walked away without repercussion. The Rams ended up winning 31-28 in their Week 2 matchup.

According to The St. Louis Dispatch, Finnegan said he appreciates that the replacement referees let the players play:

“They just let you play football,” Finnegan said. “They let you play football out there, and that’s one of those things you enjoy."

He went on to take a jab at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying that it is because of the him that the league's style of play has taken a turn for the worse:

"I admire the old-school players. The [Jack] Tatums, you know, the Mean Joe Greenes. Those guys played football. . . . That was football. It’s been watered down since, with the commissioner and the rules.”

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