If, for whatever reason, you’re still searching for some clarity, look no further.
In a recent Sporting News poll, which surveyed 146 players from 29 teams, 132 (that’s 90.4 percent) said “games would be impacted negatively by the use of replacement officials.”
Taking it a step further, 71 players said the game would “suffer greatly,” 61 said there’d only be a “marginal difference,” and just 14 thought the outcome would remain the same.
It’s not a particularly large sample size, but it does speak volumes about the league’s latest hotbed issue, especially a day after commissioner Roger Goodell said the replacements will do “a very credible job” during the regular season.
Some high-profile NFLers, like Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, weren’t afraid to spurn anonymity and let their feelings loose, hoping it doesn’t come to that.
“It’s hard for guys who’ve been officiating for 10, 12, 15 years in the NFL to get it right, and there’s so much going on and so many rules changes that it’ll be difficult if there’s guys that have no experience coming in and officiating games,” said Vanden Bosch. “And with the big emphasis on player safety and the changes to player safety, as a player you want to make sure that you have capable officials that get it right.”
As predicted when the regular referees began their labor strike, in-game officiating has been nothing short of a disaster, with missed calls, incorrect rulings, and lack of situational awareness marring various preseason contests. It’s scary to think how the regular season will play out with these inexperienced crews overseeing games.
With just two weeks remaining until the season officially kicks off, the clock is ticking on a possible agreement. At this point, there’s not much left to do except pray this situation gets resolved — and fast.
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