After a rough second Sunday of the regular season, replacement officials became an easy punch line on social media outlets during Monday night’s game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. Following Sunday’s theme, referees looked confused and uncertain when making several calls.
Although the Broncos turned the ball over four times in the first quarter, it was the replacement refs who were responsible for stalling the flow of the game. Several plays were reviewed by the officials, which caused the first quarter to bleed over the 60-minute mark. The reviews also highlighted the officials’ struggles to keep up with the game on the field, as the first two reviews both resulted in overturned calls.
Referees also needed to utilize replay in the first half to count how many players the Broncos had in the defensive huddle on one play. And then with seconds remaining in the first half, a Peyton Manning pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the end zone was ruled an incompletion on the field. But because the play happened under the two-minute mark, the play was automatically reviewed (the Broncos were otherwise out of challenges) and changed to a touchdown when replays showed Thomas getting both feet down.
“There is no way to keep with your tweets. Just know I feel your frustration. This is not the NFL I worked for. Don't care whose fault it is,” NFL on FOX officiating expert Mike Pereira tweeted during the first half. “Is anybody other than me sick of this.”
The Monday night mistakes capped a week full of missed calls, clock issues and lack of authority in many games, none perhaps more notable than the Ravens-Eagles game. That contest included a Michael Vick pass that was ruled a fumble but overturned to an incompletion (despite most observers calling it an easy incompletion at first look at full speed) and a very questionable offensive pass interference call that cost the Ravens a touchdown in a game they lost by one point.
The NFL’s ongoing lockout of officials has lasted much longer than most expected and, with the two sides seemingly dug in, no end appears to be in sight.