In a properly officiated game, you should not even notice that the referees are there.
Let's just say, that through three weeks of the 2012 NFL Season, the officials had been extremely visible. With each passing game the real NFL referees' leverage grew stronger and stronger. The replacement officials were over-matched, and their lack of familiarity with NFL rules and practices was impossible to hide.
We saw Division 3, High School, Arena, and even Lingerie League officials affecting the outcomes of the most high profile games on the planet. We saw gross incompetence that ranged from misinterpretation of NFL rules, to not understanding which way to face when reporting penalties.
The whole standoff came to a head in week 3. The two most publicized games of the week, both prime-time showcases, had outcomes that were not a result of the on-field play, but rather by the striped men's "creative" interpretation of league rules. I am actually glad that the replacement officials made such egregious errors, because the worse they were, the quicker the NFL would act to resolve the issue.
Now, there is a prevailing theory that the league knew all along that it would end the lockout going into week 4. Since this was the first week with byes, the league would need to either need to come to a resolution now, or wait until the bye weeks ended in week 12, to preserve competitive balance.
I don't particularly care why the work stoppage came to an end, I am just happy that it did.
So now, I am sure we will never see another blown call in an NFL Game...
- Kevin Aherne
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