This weekend, finally, the real refs will be back on the sidelines, saving us from any further on-field debacles like the ending to last Monday Night's Packers-Seahawks game. For all the phantom pass-interference calls and overlong instant-replay reviews, certain moments are sure to stick out when, in future years, we look back on the first three weeks of the 2012 season and wonder just what the world happened.
Here are eight dubious ways for us all to remember the stand-ins responsible for imprinting the phrase "simultaneous catch" onto every football fan's brain:
Think back to your days on the 8th grade football team. If you’re like us, you sat on the bench daydreaming about girls while the man-child that could already grow a beard ran sideline to sideline and crushed anyone in his path.
The latest rumor is that the NFL and replacement refs are close to a deal. As you know, the NFL has been to use high school referees as replacements while it negotiates with the actual referees' union, which has led to the occasional minor controversy. And while Monday's night's disastrous ending to the Packers-Seahawks game is probably the pinnacle (or nadir) of this sad saga, there were already plenty of questionable, puzzling and downright infuriating officiating decisions leading up to it.
By now, even non-football fans have heard about the officiating debacle in last night's showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks (just check your Facebook feed). Facing a 12-7 deficit with just seconds left to play, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson rolled out of the pocket and threw a desperation heave into the end zone, resulting in a game-clinching interception for the Packers.
Except it wasn't. Instead, the NFL's much-maligned replacement officials inexplicably ruled the play a touchdown for the Seahawks, ignoring an obvious offensive pass-interference penalty and cementing the phrase "simultaneous catch" into the lexicon of poor sports officiating.
This screw-up will, hopefully, lead to the return of the real refs—but let's not forget that they too have made their share of awful calls over the years. Here's a look at some of the NFL's most controversial officiating decisions:
Okay, so you've weathered the first two weeks of the 2012 fantasy football season and dropped that rookie running back that you knew you shouldn't have drafted. Now that early hiccups are out of the way, take your team to the next level by checking out some story lines and players to watch in Week 3.
On July 18 the New York Yankees held a comfortable lead in the A.L. East and seemed destined for a deep playoff run. Since then, the Bombers have somehow managed to blow a 10-game advantage over the Orioles, leading to a scramble for first place and an extremely rattled New York fan base. Still, this is hardly the first time that a team with a comfortable lead has suffered a late-season collapse.
Let's take a look at some of the worst September meltdowns in baseball history:
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