The 7 Worst Blunders by NFL Replacement Refs so Far

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IAugust 30, 2012

The 7 Worst Blunders by NFL Replacement Refs so Far

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    You most certainly are not a fan of the NFL if you've never yelled at a referee from your seat in the stadium or your recliner in the man cave. 

    "could do a better job out there"—a classic armchair quarterback gripe that's essentially become part of the game of football.

    In the past, with the best, most experienced referees on the field, even though we occasionally lost our minds over what we believed was a blown call, we eventually acquiesced out of respect for their expert authority. 

    Now, in what's been a downright laughable preseason filled with absolutely egregious penalties and humiliating mistakes, maybe some of us could do a better job than the replacement referees. 

    Let's hope something changes before these officials, who are clearly in over their heads, potentially ruin Sundays this fall. 

    Here, a look at the worst replacement-ref blunders we've suffered through.

The Arizona Falcons

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    There's no griping about the review or the fact that the play was overturned in the preseason game between the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons

    It's based on this new NFL team, the Arizona Falcons.

    Listen closely. 

    Actually, it's impossible to miss.  

Catch Much?

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    Something tells me Mr. Bulging Biceps himself, Ed Hochuli, makes that grab. At least he wouldn't look like a toddler being throw a football for the first time in his life. 


    Not really a "blunder," but funny nonetheless.

    (The slow motion works wonders there, doesn't it?)

Phantom Pass Interference

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    Ah, pass interference. One of the most heavily debated calls in the NFL every year. Do the regular referees screw up this call? 

    Oh yeah. 

    But this bad? 


    Not only did Houston Texans defensive back Alan Ball not commit pass interference whatsoever, but Carolina Panthers wideout Seyi Ajirotutu blatantly pushed off. 

Hey, I'm over Here

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    Love this one. 

    Replacement referee No. 73 just turns his back on the cameras and the tens of thousands of fans watching Andrew Luck play for the first time on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers

    Sure, fans at the stadium probably didn't notice, but everyone watching Sunday Night Football certainly did. 

    We've all seen some funny gaffes from the regular officials in the past, but this is a first. 

Replacement Footballs

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    Another first. 

    Before the Miami Dolphins began a third-quarter drive with Ryan Tannehill under center, the refs simply decided to further confuse the rookie quarterback—as if going from 19 starts in college to starting in the NFL wasn't hard enough. 

    Maybe the refs were just foreshadowing a first down.

    Who knows?

Punt Gaffe in Buffalo

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    In the Bills' preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, Brian Moorman punted the football on fourth down from Buffalo's own 47-yard line. 

    The skying wobbler took a high bounce around the 10 and was clearly downed by special teamer Ruvell Martin at the 4, as he fell the ground with the ball in his hands. 

    A good punt, even better coverage, right? 


    Two referees, one standing just yards from the play and one on the sideline, decided the ball had reached the end zone, thus making it a touchback. 

    Check the picture—no way. 

    Everyone in the stadium knew besides the replacement refs. 

    The Bills were forced to burn a challenge, and the call was reversed in what should have been the quickest review in NFL history.

He Said What?

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    A timeless classic. 

    This ref's brain was so scrambled he almost wasn't speaking English. This video's great for a few reasons. First, the out-of-the-picture help from another replacement official is awesome. Secondly, the way he bails on the initial call and runs out of the picture is even more awesome. 

    You can't hide, buddy. 

    I give him props for attempting to credit his mistake before the re-kick, but he butchers the beginning of the call even more. 

    So both fouls were on the kicking team? 

    Got it. 

    Sorry, but it's impossible not to laugh.


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