In defence of the replacement officials (Kidding: they’re terrible)

On the bright side, none of them pooped themselves on TV


Did you see the final play of Monday Night Football? Basically, nothing much happened except the officials – who aren’t really NFL officials but are in fact replacements recruited from random truck-stop restrooms, rural culverts and the U.S. National Strategic Dumb Guy Reserve to replace the regular officials, who are engaged in a labour dispute with the league – missed the most blatant football penalty ever committed, disagreed over who caught the ball, decided that the guy who didn’t catch the ball actually did catch the ball, and allowed the team that shouldn’t have won to the game to win the game.

Basically, it was like the conclusion of Se7en except the head in the box was the integrity of the most popular and lucrative sport in North American history. Way to go, replacement officials: you decapitated integrity.

(To get a sense of the palpable, justified and also highly entertaining rage that followed the call, check out this compendium of tweets.)

Take a look at the video above. Watch it until the end. The best part is when the two officials glance at each other as they prepare to make the critical call. You can almost hear what they’re thinking:

Official No. 1: I think it’s a home run!

Official No. 2: I’m pretty sure he traveled!

The play manages to condense into three seconds everything that’s gone wrong over  three weeks of blown calls, terrible penalties, terribler missed penalties and just a general, all-round air of befuddlement, the likes of which have not been seen since the whole of America was informed of the nuptials of Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek. I’m telling you: there have been more looks of confusion from officials in three weeks of NFL football than there were from George W. Bush in eight years of being president.

It’s time to stop with the polite provisos about the replacement officials: Oh, they’re trying their best! They’re in a tough spot! They’ve got good teeth and nice personalities!

Fine but THEY ARE SHITTY AT THEIR JOBS. And not just a little bit shitty. A little bit shitty would be fine. A little bit shitty is how most of us are at our jobs. But these guys are somewhere between extremely and completely shitty at their jobs – which is a problem because the officials they’re replacing were merely somewhat shitty at their jobs. And as anyone who’s ever hired someone or eaten at a fast food restaurant knows, there’s a world of difference between “somewhat shitty” and “completely shitty.”

The replacement officials are a mockery wrapped in a travesty, dunked in a vat of incompetence, glazed with WTF and set to the Benny Hill theme song.

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