Some fans may not realize it, but the NFL is playing the 2012 season with replacement referees, not their regular ones. And some recent incidents, including several in Monday's Denver-Atlanta game, have caused some people to question whether this hurts the game's integrity.
How do you feel about the NFL using replacement referees? Tell us in the comments below.
In Monday's game at the Georgia Dome, televised by ESPN, fans could see what can happen when replacement referees are in charge of NFL games. As USA TODAY reported, there was a six-minute delay in the first quarter while the replacements tried to figure out what happened when Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno fumbled, causing players to push and shove. The players went at each other in a scrum, then went at the replacements, with some players getting in their faces and even laying their hands on them.
This caused Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, an ESPN commentator, to say that the league doesn't care about the situation.
"There's a lot of people in the league that would rather break the (referees) union. ... They feel like (officiating) is a commodity," Young said in USA TODAY. "But more importantly, everything about the NFL now is inelastic for demand. There's nothing (the league) can do to hurt the demand for the game. So, the bottom line is they don't care."
Also, ESPN reported that in the Denver-Atlanta game, there were three calls overturned on replay in the first half. There was a questionable pass interference call against Broncos cornerback Tony Carter. There was a defensive holding call against the Falcons on which the Broncos were awarded 11 yards, rather than 5.
And there was an instance last week where a replacement referee in the New Orleans-Carolina game was found through social media to be a Saints fan.
So now we ask, how do you feel about NFL games being officiated by referees other than regular NFL refs? Do you feel the game's integrity is suffering? Would you want the Super Bowl to be run by replacement refs? Tell us in the comments below.