Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/24/12

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell watches teams warm up prior to the start of Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I consider myself to be a hardcore NFL fan.  I will be watching the games no matter what the NFL does.

This is still ridiculous.

The regular referees aren't perfect by far, and there is usually a blown call or two, but at least they are consistent.  Some illegal contact/pass interference penalties in the Patriots-Ravens game took place at the line of scrimmage, while multiple non-calls (including Rob Gronkowski running through pass defenders on multiple occasions) took place 10 yards or more downfield.

At least they maintain control of the game and keep teams from outright brawling between plays.  I lost count of how many shoving matches went on midway through the first quarter.

One analyst has referred to these referees as "substitute teachers", and I have to admit that is probably the most accurate description.  They cannot maintain control of these players when they are not used to the speed of the game, or worse, when they are starstruck.

One referee was almost making calls at a game his favorite team was playing in.  Another supposedly told Raven defenders that he had LeSean McCoy on his fantasy team when asked why he hadn't enforced a penalty.

And I seriously doubt that a replacement referee was too incompetent to recognize that Kevin Ogletree never went out of bounds.  Was he playing against Ogletree in fantasy football, or are the Buffalo Wild Wings commercials for real?  No matter what, he should know better than to throw his hat at a player's feet- these players move fast enough to cause serious injuries when they lose their balance.

Of course, when the zebras aren't nearly causing injuries, they are having an indirect hand by not spotting illegal hits and flagging them.  My bias leads me to think of the shot that Golden Tate launched at Sean Lee, but a couple of shots on Deion Branch from the Patriots-Ravens game were pretty heinous too.  Trying to save money by paying the referees less is going to cost the NFL more in the long run because of injury settlements.

I am willing to put up with this, because I love the game.  I love the close games and well-designed plays, I love the tough runs and shifty moves.

For the casual fan, this is hard to swallow, and casual fans provided a good chunk of that record 111.3 million viewers for last year's Super Bowl.  An entire stadium swearing in perfect unison on national TV is not good publicity.  How many casual fans will stick around after hearing that?

End this crazy lockout, and don't be so cheap.  Just get us our real refs back.

The author actually found the chant rather funny, but he is usually in the minority when it comes to his sense of humor.  You can share your favorite lip-read coach's curse with him on Twitter (@RGDSports) and Facebook (RGDSports@yahoo.com).  You can also rage at him for taunting people with his hat, but then revealing what team it was in one of his articles.



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