The first three weeks of the NFL season were as difficult for the replacement officials as they were for the coaches, players and fans. While they made plenty of money and we don’t necessarily have to feel sorry for them, the fill-ins took a ton of verbal abuse and became a national laughing stock.
During an interview with the New York Times on Thursday, one of the replacement officials, Jeff Sadorus, had a very interesting way of describing his experience.
“Honestly, sometimes during this whole thing it felt like the national pastime in this country had changed from football to bashing replacement officials,” Sadorus, a college official, explained. “Everyone wanted perfection, but come on: The last guy who was perfect they nailed to a cross. And he wasn’t even an official.”
I don’t know how I feel about comparing the situation to the story of the Bible, but most of the criticism was warranted. Even an inexperienced official should be able to admit that the refs cost Green Bay the game on Monday night. That being said, the fact that the officials were in all likelihood doing their best along the way was completely lost at times.
“Working these games was something I’d wanted to do forever and there were some incredible moments,” Sadorus said. “But there were also parts of this that I don’t think anyone could have expected. We worked very, very hard. As demonized as we were, I hope people remember that we are people, too.”
The league deserved most of the criticism for allowing the situation with the regular officials to take this long to resolve, and Roger Goodell and company did hear a lot of insults along the way. At the end of the day, I’m sure the replacement refs are just as happy to be done with the NFL as the league is happy to be done with them.
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