Bring Back the Real Referees

While Denny Green has some bigger fish to fry at home, as a member of the competition committee, he needs to work to get the real NFL officials back. Friday night convinced him of that.

Dennis Green has a lot of stroke around the NFL. He's on the prestigious competition committee that helps form the rules that make up the NFL season. If he has anything to say about it, he will plead with the league to settle with the locked out officials and get them back on the field and cut loose the replacements.

While the veteran officials demands of being paid as much as baseball or basketball officials is insane -- NFL officials ref just 17 games a year as opposed to 82 for basketball and 162 for Major League Baseball -- the replacement refs are horrible. We at VU have often questioned morons like Phil Luckett, who once mistook a white and green Jets helmet for a brown football and even mistook heads for tails on a coin toss, but the replacement refs -- culled from college football, the arena league, NFL Europe and even league office desk jockeys -- are far worse.

It was obvious Friday that the officials weren't prepared for the speed of the NFL game or even the rules by which they play under. Some examples? Ayyight. We don't spout without some ammo, pally:

* The refs had to confer in the first quarter before adding on 5 yards to a facemask call, not realizing that in the NFL, the yardage is added to a run, not accepted or declined.
* Blew a pass interference call on Robert Griffith in which the pass was tipped by Lance Johnstone at the line of scrimmage. That call led to a first down that resulted in Miami's only touchdown of the game.
* Missed a clear offside call on Fred Robbins that allowed him into the Miami backfield untouched and forced quarterback Ray Lucas to scramble. On the play, Lucas pulled a groin muscle and was forced out of the game twice. This clear miss of a call resulted in a player being injured.
* On a Miami punt that the Vikings returned 30 yards, offsetting penalties for illegal block in the back was called, including a No. 30 for the Vikings. Minnesota does not have a No. 30, unless Bill Brown came out of the stands to commit a foul.
* After an incompletion that looked like it might have been a Miami interception, the referee asked Dennis Green if he wanted to appeal for a replay. Why? Who knows. Obviously Green didn't want to.
* Refused to call intentional grounding on Todd Bouman when he not only wasn't outside the tackle box, he had taken maybe one step to his left before unloading a clear grounding pass.
* Started the clock on kickoffs before a ball was touched. The clock isn't supposed to start until after it is touched by someone other than the kicker.

Say what you want about the old referees. As heinous as they are, they're better than what we're being force fed now.

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