September 25, 2012

Coaches' frustration with replacement officials boils over

One TV analyst likens the situation to a substitute teacher with players testing limits at every turn.

By BARRY WILNER/The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

John Harbaugh, Esteban Garza
click image to enlarge

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh questions line judge Esteban Garza during Sunday’s game against the Patriots. An NFL executive is reviewing the conduct of the coaches.

The Associated Press

John Fox
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Denver Broncos Coach John Fox was fined $30,000 Monday for berating replacement officials during this game against the Atlanta Falcons a week earlier.

The Associated Press

Certainly not holding back on the criticism are some of the NFL's broadcast partners. Analyst Cris Collinsworth was forthright in his evaluation of the officiating problems Sunday night, as were Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden during last Monday night's flag-fest in Atlanta.

"We don't want to talk about the officials, trust us," ESPN's Tirico said. "But it's affecting the game. ... Off the record, what guys are saying -- it's a nightmare. It is impacting the game.

"It hasn't burned a team to cost them a playoff spot yet. But you should go back and watch the film. There are so many little things that players are getting away with that is absolutely impacting the game to the detriment of the product."

Yet some players aren't completely down on the performances of the replacements.

Patriots receiver Deion Branch noted all the controversy about officiating throughout the league.

"But I think the bigger picture is that we've all got to understand that, hey, they're making those calls on both sides of the ball," Branch said. "Us as players, we need to remove ourselves from what the refs are doing and just go out and play our game."

Rams defensive end Chris Long offered, apparently with no sarcasm, that the game "hasn't changed at all with the replacement officials because officials don't care about defensive linemen, replacement or first-tier officials."

Then he admitted taking the regular officials for granted.

"The NFL could really use them back," Long said.

 

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