If I was eligible to be a replacement ref, on the inside I would absolutely be cheering for every player on my teams. But eventually that would lead to a difficult situation if I was working one of the late or primetime games, and I needed one of my studs to be stud-like. That’s when at some point the mental wall would crumble, and I’d pull Michael Vick aside and tell him to stop being a scared little man, and run dammit.

I’m not remotely qualified, which is why I’m not a replacement official. But I am a fanboy and just a normal dude who likes football, which means I have a lot in common with the scabs, and specifically one replacement ref who really needed LeSean McCoy to be awesome on Sunday.

In a development that’s as fantastic as it is predictable, the Eagles running back said during a radio interview yesterday that during Philly’s win over Baltimore, one of the replacement officials pulled out his pom poms, did several kart wheels, and gave McCoy a huge butt slap, all in the name of fantasy.

From Will Brinson:

“They’re like fans, kind of though,” McCoy said. “I’ll be honest, they’re like fans. One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team, like ‘McCoy, come on, I need you for my fantasy,’ ahhh, what?!”

Now, as Brinson also notes, we should add that McCoy said this while laughing, but we can deduce some serious and shaming truth from his words during an interview when he also said this…

“During the game, they made like a bad call or something, the ref, and I see Ray Lewis like pump his chest up, trying to scare him,” McCoy said. “Don’t you know [the ref] started stuttering? I’m like ‘what’s this?!’”

This is surfacing the morning after the officials made a mess of last night’s Broncos-Falcons game, turning it into a lengthy debacle that was at least a half hour longer than it should have been, causing a game that started at 8:30 ET to end at nearly 12:30. The two most notable miscues came when no one who was dressed in vertical black and white stripes knew where to spot the ball after two significant calls. Because, you know, field position and an 11-yard error in said field position isn’t important in a game that was won by less than a touchdown.

Ripping the replacements is almost becoming white noise now. They’re bad, and we all know they’re bad, and in fairness when we tear apart the scabs we’re often not targeting any one individual, or at least I’m not. These are low-level referees who were plucked from the basement divisions of college football, the lingerie league, or high school classrooms, and they were pushed into a difficult situation after an accelerated training schedule. They’re doing the best they can under extremely difficult circumstances.

But their best is far inferior to the standard that we’re accustomed to, and it’s significantly subtracting from the quality and integrity of each game. That’s not their fault. Nope, this is on the league’s hands, and it’s a product of Roger Goodell’s inexplicable and continued love affair with money that’s kept the regular officials far away from the very meaningful football now being played each week.

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