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Predictions For Betting On NFL Football – NFL Replacement Refs Update And Recent Impact

Posted by Tony Bryant on 9/24/2012 6:31:44 PM

The lack of replacement officials in the National Football League is taking its toll in a number of ways. The league needs to realize that it is eroding both its credibility and the product on the field, especially in showcases that draw unwelcome attention to America's most popular and most-watched sport.

When people in the online sports betting legal realm discuss the matter of replacement officials, they are doing so knowing that the NFL and its leader, commissioner Roger Goodell, have not done much of any negotiating with the regular officials over the past three weeks. The two sides are at a standstill with virtually no movement taking place on either side. This stagnation is part o what is infuriating a public that, with each passing week, grows more and more intolerant of the way games are unfolding on the field.

The high-stakes poker games that mark this off-field confrontation between Goodell and the regular officials are marring the on-field poker games between accomplished teams, and this was never more apparent than in the Sunday night contest between the defending American Football Conference champion New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, in a nationally-televised rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game, won by New England in the final seconds of regulation time.

It was clear from the get-go that the Patriots and Ravens had little respect for an officiating crew whose head official had spent 37 years officiating Division II college football. The replacement refs are doing the best they can; they are not cut out for NFL work, but this situation is not their fault – they are being put in an impossible spot. It is hard enough for college officials to make the jump from a lower-tier Division I (FBS) conference such as the Sun Belt to the higher-tier conferences such as the Big Ten or the Southeastern Conference. Imagine, then, how big a jump officials must make in order to go from Division II to the NFL. These men just can't keep up.

The Patriots and Ravens got into fights in the first quarter and continued to punch at each other after plays for most of the rest of the evening. The two head coaches, Bill Belichick of New England and John Harbaugh of Baltimore, stepped onto the field and were in the faces of officials all evening. They did not show much of any respect for the men in black and white stripes, but their frustrations came about in a legitimate manner. The replacement crew did not establish the one thing coaches look for from any set of officials: consistency.

Anyone, not just sports bettors or people interested in football betting in particular, could have seen that the officials let a lot of contact go in the skirmishes between wide receivers and defensive backs during the Patriots-Ravens game. Yet, in the final few minutes, the officials called some pass interference and holding penalties on both teams that involved comparatively light contact. Harbaugh got a "bench unsportsmanlike conduct penalty" for yelling at an official, and several blatant holding calls were missed. Most of all – and most worrisome for the NFL – is that the referees took so much time to process these calls (it's happening in many of the league's games each week) that the contest took over three and a half hours. The Pittsburgh-Oakland game and a few other non-overtime clashes also exceeded the 3:30 mark on Sunday, and that's not good for the television programs that start in prime time after the NFL. Advertisers want the games to end on time, within three hours and 15 to 20 minutes.

This is a growing crisis for the NFL. It is playing hardball with the regular officials at its peril. The public-relations cost could be immense.


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