Rams-Redskins Catastrophe Shows Why NFL Needs Real Officials Back

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IISeptember 16, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 16:  Replacement referees huddle during a timeout in the game between the Washington Redskins and the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome on September 16, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Simply put, the referees in the Rams-Redskins game in St. Louis Sunday afternoon were a disaster.

There were missed calls all over the field that hurt both teams, there were two massive missed touchdown calls that went against the Rams and the extracurricular activities that continued to occur after the whistle was blown were outrageous.

The game was hotly contested right from the start when Rams' wide receiver Danny Amendola was stripped of the ball on the first play from scrimmage and it was subsequently returned by the Redskins for a touchdown. The game continued to get more and more chippy between the two teams.

The referees threw a flag on a very questionable late hit call on Robert Griffin III which gave the Redskins a first down when they would have been punting. After that, Sam Bradford was hit late after sliding and giving himself up, yet no flag was thrown on the play.

With the questionable calls throughout the game, players continued to get rowdy and there were unacceptable skirmishes that continued to occur after each play.

There were also three very bad calls, unrelated to penalties, that went against the Rams in the first half.

The Rams were given a terrible spot by the officials in the first quarter that forced the Rams to punt instead of giving them a first down. There was a touchdown pass thrown by Bradford where the receiver was ruled out of bounds.

Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher should have probably challenged, but if the official thought at all that the receiver had caught the ball he should have ruled it a touchdown and the booth would have reviewed the scoring play. Finally, there was a clear touchdown scored by Rams' running back Steven Jackson in the second quarter that was ruled otherwise.

The Rams had to settle for two field goals after both of these terrible missed touchdown calls. The first half of the game was a total joke in terms of officiating.

Bleacher Report featured columnist, Brian Paxton, who was doing a live blog of the Redskins Rams game, summed it up: "If there was ever an example needed for why the league should settle with the NFLRA, this is it. The replacement refs have been absolutely dreadful and on the verge of losing control."

In the second half, the referees went from on the verge of losing control, to losing control, to past the point of having lost control. The skirmishes continued to get more and more physical after each play, and they started becoming more and more frequent. The referees had no control over the players in the second half.

Eventually the skirmishes culminated in Josh Morgan throwing a football at the Rams' Cortland Finnegan at the end of the game. The 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the Redskins out of field goal range and cost them a shot at potentially tying the game at 31 with a field goal.

While it was the right call for the referees to throw a flag on Morgan on the play, a message should have been sent earlier in the game by the officials that fights after the whistle was blown would not be tolerated throughout the course of the game.

This article is not an attempt to rip on the replacement officials, but to show that the NFL needs to get the actual NFL officials back on the field. There have been so many games with so many missed calls so far this season and it is turning into a joke.

The first half of the Rams-Redskins game was an embarrassment to the NFL. A game that had the potential to be an awesome battle between two very evenly-matched teams was marred by bad calls and fights throughout.

As the season continues and the games get more and more crucial, the loss of the actual NFL officials will be magnified. Imagine your favorite team losing a crucial regular season game, playoff game, or in a worst case scenario, a Super Bowl, because a replacement official missed an obvious call or made a call that obviously should not have been made.

The NFL needs to get their actual officials back on the field now, before more of these great NFL games are turned into a joke because of terrible officiating.