Could An NFL Replacement Referee Be The Next Tim Donaghy?
Late Monday night in Seattle, the indecision and ultimate poor call by replacement referees awarded a touchdown to Seahawks receiver Golden Tate with no time remaining in the game when it should have been called a Green Bay interception. Seattle won a game it should have lost and every waking human around the world has taken to social media to display their outrage.
This is a disaster for the NFL on the field, off the field in terms of public relations and in the board room in negotiations with the locked out regular referees. The replacement refs were tolerated as long as they didn’t cost a team a game. Seattle almost benefited twice in three weeks, being awarded a fourth time out in the second half of its week one loss to Arizona and now the Green Bay incident. The NFL was at the blackjack table and hit on 19 and busted. I can’t imagine the regular referees not being on the field by week five.
What may be overlooked in all the madness and hysteria is a plausible scenario where a Tim Donaghy-like character has infiltrated the replacement officials, as Mike Florio brought up last week. Is it really so far-fetched? When a diehard Saints fan almost officiates a New Orleans game (they could have used him) and another ref encourages Eagles RB LeSean McCoy during a game to do well because he’s on his fantasy team, who’s to say an official isn’t blowing calls to make a huge sum of money.
These officials will be out of work in two weeks and back to their regular lives as low-level officials and other civilian occupations. The league had to hire these referees in a hurry, and perhaps the checking, vetting and background checks were not as thorough as the league may have wanted. Could that have swung the outcome of the Seahawks-Packers game, with the vast majority of Vegas bettors picking Green Bay? Any conspiracy theory could fly right now, and that’s a dangerous thought for the NFL and its stung fan base.