Jul 27, 2012; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe (5) leaves the first day of training camp at Blakeslee Stadium at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

Chris Kluwe Criticizes Replacement Refs


The performance of the NFL’s replacement refs has been a matter of concern all throughout preseason, but thus far the players have mostly stayed out of the discussion, leaving the griping to the fans and media (who have been only too happy to take up the cause). That was until Chris Kluwe decided to chime in. The always outspoken Viking punter got to witness last night’s brutal replacement ref performance at Metrodome and after the game took to twitter to vent his feelings.



Kluwe stated his case as gently as he could. I’m guessing the actual conversation between players has been a lot harsher and more filled with curse words. This is one area where fans and players can relate. I think all of us have been disappointed by the replacement officials, not just the missed calls and silly gaffes – there were several of each last night, including an instance where they didn’t seem to know where the ball was supposed to be placed after a personal foul on a punt return – but the way the whole rhythm of the game is goofed up by the endless conferences and needless replays (Norv Turner last night was forced to throw a challenge flag on two plays that should’ve been obvious).

Maybe if more players like Kluwe spoke up the NFL would feel pressured to return to the bargaining table and work it out with the real refs. But it’s more likely the NFL doesn’t care what Kluwe or anyone else says and is going to do whatever they think is best for their bottom line. The ones with the real power here are the fans. If they start turning off their TVs in disgust, causing the ratings to plummet, the NFL will quickly get the real refs back in there. But people love their football too much and sadly will probably tolerate a sub-par, badly-officiated product.

So that means we should probably get used to the replacement refs. They’ll be there to start the season and, unless the NFL suddenly stops being cheap or the fans suddenly learn to rise up in revolt, likely well beyond.

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