Replacement referees shaky in NFL Week 1
Cornerback Richard Sherman (25) of the Seattle Seahawks reacts to pass interference call to back judge Larry Babcock during the season opener against he Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 20-16. / Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
(CBS/AP) GLENDALE, Ariz. - Replacement officials in Sunday's game between Arizona and Seattle made a mistake by awarding the Seahawks an extra timeout in the closing seconds.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called timeout with 30 seconds left, but the officials had announced two plays earlier Seattle used its last one when receiver Doug Baldwin was injured.
After huddling, then meeting with two different people from the sideline, the officials determined the previous stoppage had been on an incomplete pass, so the Seahawks were not charged with a timeout.
Under NFL rules, teams are required to use a timeout for an injured player in the final two minutes, whether the clock is running or not.
The mistake didn't end up having an impact on the game; Seattle failed to score on four plays inside Arizona's 6-yard line as the Cardinals held on for a 20-16 win.
"It was my error," referee Bruce Hermansen said in a statement. "We gave them (Seattle) the additional timeout because of the incomplete pass stopping the clock before the injury occurred. When in effect, the clock has no bearing on the play at all, whether it's stopped or running, we should not have given them the additional timeout."
The NFL is using replacement officials while the regular officials are locked out.
In Green Bay, the replacement officials called a total of 18 penalties, some of them questionable and drawing animated complaints from both sidelines.
"Some of the penalties were definitely a little bizarre," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was furious with the replacement referee crew early on, after they called Aldon Smith for unsportsmanlike conduct for taking off his helmet after a sack of Rodgers in the first quarter.
Harbaugh seemed to question several other calls, but didn't criticize the crew afterward.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to say or not say," he said.
And in Cleveland, the Eagles converted a fourth-and-1 on the winning drive after QB Michael Vick scrambled for 9 yards and fumbled on third down. He recovered, but Browns coach Pat Shurmur threw his red challenge flag and asked the replacement officials to review the play.
However, referee Ken Roan discussed the play with the booth and announced it was "not challengeable."
"I know it was a fumble," Shurmur said. "I saw us with the ball. So that's why I challenged it."
In Nashville, the Titans kept Jake Locker on the sideline after he hurt his left, non-throwing shoulder in the fourth quarter on a play the replacement officials should have whistled as an incomplete pass rather than allowing Patriots safety Patrick Chung to pick up a loose ball and run for the end zone.
The Titans weren't happy at the failure of the replacement officials on three different passes into the end zone they thought deserved flags for pass interference, two of those non-calls forcing them to settle for field goals.
In New York, Bills defensive end Mario Williams - who was a non-factor against a Jets offensive line that protected mark Sanchez throughout and gave him plenty of time to throw - complained about the replacement officials after the game.
"Obviously, some of the officials on the field don't understand what constitutes an offsetting penalty, and that's disappointing," said Williams, who signed a six-year, $100 million deal in the offseason that is the biggest for a defensive player. "Also, pass blocking doesn't include hands to the face. When someone tells the officials that and they just walk away, or they don't call it, that's disheartening."
Last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said using replacement referees for regular-season games is worthwhile to ensure long-term improvements to officiating.
"These officials have been trained," Goodell said of the replacement refs. "We've been working with them. We think they'll do a very credible job."
However, as CBSSports.com noted, players did not hide the fact that they were unimpressed with the replacements in the preseason. ("We were all laughing on the sidelines at how clueless they were," said one player.)
Popular in Sports
- Sergio Garcia apologizes to Tiger Woods for "fried chicken" remark
- Bay Area hosting 50th Super Bowl
- NFL's Top 100 Players of All-Time: Debate
- Study: College athletes denied $6.2B over four years
- Indiana Pacers part ways with Larry Bird
- Home of Nuggets' Andersen searched, items seized
- Watch: 7-foot-5 teen basketball player dominates
- "60 Minutes" stands by Lance Armstrong report