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Expectations for replacement officials were too high

A majority of my Sunday's are spent watching football and sitting on Twitter.

Throughout the first three weeks of this National Football League season, I have received laughs from various tweets about replacement officials.

Most of the tweets start out or to extent talk about, "I can't believe these replacement refs."

I said it before and I'll continue to say it. This year has been the most enjoyable and entertaining NFL season I've seen in a long time. You never know what the replacement refs are going to do and that's the best part.

The replacements refs, just like NFL rookies joining the league, look baffled most of the time but have instances of hope.

But did we expect the replacement refs to be this shining light in an area people were already complaining about?

Well, no.

It doesn't matter. At any sport at any level, people are going to complain about officiating. Fans have to realize not every call is going to fall in their favor. And I don't know if it's in our genetics, but we have a compelling need to complain.

And heaven forbid we call out our own team for playing poorly.

The most recent and definitely biggest outcry was during the Seattle and Green Bay Monday Night Football game. Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings each had their hands on the football in the closing seconds.

Did the Seahawks win? Did the Packers win? Was it a touchdown? Was it an interception?

The biggest question posed: "Are you really going to trust plays of that magnitude in the hands of referees are were accustomed to watching NAIA, high school and Division III teams last season?"

In baseball, the saying is on a close play, the tie goes to the runner. The tangled arm catch by Tate and Jennings has the same essential effect and the tie goes to the receiver.

People might be disgusted by it and angry about the final play. But face it, those referees were watching teams like Dickinson State and Carroll College one year ago.

If you are expecting those refs to make the right call every single time, it's not going to happen. They aren't used to seeing the caliber of player they are seeing now, let alone 22 of them on the field at the same time.

Let's look at the flip side of the coin.

If NFL players went on a strike and the league brought replacement players, would you expect them to up to the high standards? Of course not.

It's a two-way street. People are going to make mistakes. The refs are people. So, in turn, the refs are going to make mistakes.

The refs we were watching weren't the cream of the crop, but it's the hand that was dealt.

Not everyone expects to win a hand of Texas Hold'em with a 7-2 off suit, but sometimes we get lucky.

Royal McGregor is a sports reporter for The Dickinson Press. He can be reached at 701-456-1214 or