Flyover: Who'll Miss Replacement Refs?

Welcome back to the Pregame Flyover, one of the few venues that will bemoan the loss of replacement referees. 

Before we get to this week’s slate of games - and tell you which games will Probably be worth watching, which games will be of Questionable worth, which games will be of Doubtful worth, and which game will feature stripper pants - let’s pour some out for the departing zebras.

As someone who’s an armchair arbiter at heart, I lived vicariously through these replacement refs, confident in knowing that they possessed the same grasp of the rules as me. The two refs in the Green Bay-Seattle game who simultaneously signaled touchback and touchdown? Yeah, that was basically me, except I was using my arms to signal touchback and my legs to signal touchdown. 

But now we get the return of Ed Hochuli and his decisive, authoritative decisions. How can you expect me to relate to Ed? You know, beyond my propensity to wear tight shirts to show off my massive man boobs guns?

I won’t be the only one who’ll be missing the replacement refs. In fact, the following people will probably miss them more.

1. The Green Bay Packers’ offensive line. What a coincidence that Packers lineman T.J. Yang was shouting the loudest after the team’s controversial loss to Seattle. He probably thought it would help distract people from the fact that the Packers’ offensive line – ya know, the one on the cover of the ESPN the Magazine football preview – allowed eight sacks in the first half. In advance of this week’s game Aaron Rodgers insisted that the team install these upfront.

2. Chris Johnson. In three games CJ2K has rushed for 45 yards total and is averaging 1.4 yards per carry. Ask him to grab you a beer from the fridge and he’ll be back in a week.  

3. Mark Sanchez. Thanks to the referee conundrum and the injury to Darrelle Revis, the siren calls to replace Sanchez have been somewhat muted. But the Jets barely beat the Dolphins and now they face the Niners. A loss to San Fran will have Greg McElroy fanatics hitting the streets to proselytize. 

4. Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer. Does anyone outside New Orleans even know what this guy looks like? If the Saints remain winless, they probably will. 

5. Internet tough guys who wanted to turn this situation into a debate about unions versus non-unions. You can now go back to trolling the Yahoo! message boards beneath Romney and Obama stories, your work is done here. 

6. Dirty players. Joe Mays of the Broncos separated Matt Schaub from his helmet and tore off part of his ear last week, the kind of dirty hit that would have been a top NFL story during most weeks. Mays was suspended for one game and fined $50,000, but the ultra-sanctimonious contingent of NFL fans hardly noticed; they were too busy claiming they wouldn’t watch the NFL again until regular referees returned to action. Those sanctimonious types will now retrain their eyes on the James Harrisons of the league.

7. Apple. How damn easy is it to scratch the new iPhone? Oh, yeah, you’re gonna hear it now, Apple.



Last year it was abundantly clear whom teams were sucking for. They were sucking for Luck. The Colts were the most committed to this slogan, and they secured the No. 1 pick and the right to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. 

But it’s obvious through three games that winless teams like the Saints and Browns are unclear of whom they’re sucking for. After all, who is the surefire No. 1 pick next season? Quarterback Matt Barkley of USC? Linebacker Barkevious Mingo of LSU? Linebacker Jarvis Jones of Georgia? Barkley, Mingo, Jones: none of those names rhyme with suck. Confusing times in New Orleans and Cleveland.


Weekly Best

Welcome to the Weekly Best, where we gang tackle the best in football. 

Best believe the honeymoon’s over: Cam Newton.

Best defense against a Hail Mary: Knock it down?

Best defensive player in the NFL: And Darrell Revis is out for the season.

Best wide receiver in the NFL: And Calvin Johnson is on pace for a record 1,968 receiving yards.

Best reaction to hearing about the end of the referee lockout: “I dropped down on the floor and started doing pushups,” said Ed Hochuli.

Best term you need to learn, Michael Vick: Ball security.

Best third-place team: Patriots.

Best place to find the replacement referees this weekend: Foot Locker.

Best way to distract yourself from the sudden death of a loved one: Play your heart out like Torrey Smith. 

Best quarterbacks in the NFL: And for the first time Rodgers, Brady, Big Ben, Brees, and Peyton all lost in the same week.  

Best offense in football: Apparently belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Best defense in football: Apparently belongs to the Dallas Cowboys.

Best story written by a replacement writer: This one about the Jets in the Wall Street Journal.

Best team in the NFL: The Texans (for now).

Best stock up: A global bacon shortage is unavoidable.

Best watch your back (and your knees) the next time you face the Jets: Reggie Bush.

Best indication that some people in northern Wisconsin are underemployed: A group of Packers fans spent Tuesday at Lambeau Field protesting Monday night’s controversial game.

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Cameron Martin's Pregame Flyover column on the upcoming NFL weekend runs each Friday. He may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @CameronDMartin.

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