As expected, there was some sloppy officiating around the league in week one. The replacement officials got their first test in real games and the results were mixed. One particularly bad missed call happened in the Sunday night game between the Steelers and the Broncos. Peyton Manning spotted a Steelers defender who was late getting off the field, and quickly called for the snap to draw the flag for too many men on the field. One problem with that savvy veteran move though, the officials didn’t notice that the play started with 12 defenders on the field. Manning was visibly upset to say the least. Making this call look even worse for the replacement refs is the fact that there was an official within 5 yards of the defender as he was trying to get off the field in time, but his back was turned on the play as it started.
While this wasn’t the most game changing call we saw this week, it does highlight the replacements biggest weakness in my opinion: the failure to quickly and correctly get the simple routine calls right every time. This wasn’t a lighting fast judgment call that could go either way like a pass interference or holding. This was a basic pre-play penalty that the regular officials virtually never miss. Hopefully bad calls like this don’t become a common problem with the replacements.