So much hype was brought before the season opener this past Wednesday night, no doubt. Was it too much? Not for the teams.
The New York Giants remained focused on the game itself. Their opponent capitalized on the usual trash-talking and so-called news-worthy headlines that brought their name to a light. And they apparently fed off of that. They came in fired up and definitely glaring at the bull’s-eye on the backs of every World Champion Giants player on the field. Well, that and they played a more physical type of football – knowing the replacement referees couldn’t and wouldn’t see everything.
There is no way that officiating will be blamed for dropped passes, blown coverages and poor tackling/lack of wrap-ups. However, it cannot and should not be overlooked. Several times last season – after taking a closer look at officiating in particular games – it drew more attention from us here and sometimes, we included picture proof with our writes. This time, there’s game tape, where you can watch wideouts get held way after five yards and the first two lines of Big Blue defense get put in full Nelson’s as they attempt to get to their assignments.
Why focus again on this matter of replacements? It’s not going away anytime soon.
"Consistency is the most important thing with officiating…officiating is not perfect, but we believe that we have the best officials and that we can get better, and that's what we're trying to do long-term," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said recently.
How many are still buying what the commish is still selling? Seriously. The NFL and Goodell claim they will continue to evaluate every play (official by official) to see if they’ve made the right calls. Mmm’kay. Then what? It’s after the fact. The game/s is/are in the books.
As teams prepare for their respective upcoming seasons, so should the NFL, accordingly. For this past Wednesday’s regular ’12 season opener between the New York Football Giants and Dallas Cowboys, the NFL put an officiating crew on the field at MetLife Stadium that happened to be headed by Jim Core. Mr. Core is a replacement official and his past “officiating” resume consists of stretches in the Frontier Conference and Arena2 Football. Frontier Conference. Anyone? Yeah – it’s a division of college football in Montana and Oregon that most of our readers probably have never heard of.
Head Referee Core had to take a few days off from his full time job as an activities director at Sawtooth Middle School in Meridian, Idaho (with the principal’s—who has officiated Frontier Conference games with Core over the last five years—permission, of course).
"I think it's a great opportunity for him,'' Sawtooth principal Kevin Leishman told the Idaho Statesman. “He will take a day off here and there, it's not a conflict.''
So he’s not even all in to this NFL ref thing, even if it is as a replacement. Might we suggest a sabbatical?
Even though this guy has been endorsed by [Neil Peterson] the supervisor of officials for the Frontier Conference, Core is levels below NFL-caliber officiating.
"[Core] is a competent official. He does a great job in our conference,'' stated Peterson.
Is that enough for you for a head judge? Imagine the guys “under” him.
Just as players that don’t practice/play together regularly don’t gel right away, neither would these replacements. Playbooks take time to learn. An NFL Rulebook should too. Something needs to get done quickly or all 32 teams (keep an eye on games this weekend) are going to have to overcome that 12th man on all sides of the ball again.
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