- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Stone)
There is no surprise this week that all eyes will be on NFL referees, after a number of controversial calls were made in week 2.
Following contract disputes and a breakdown of the NFL Referees Association more than once this summer, including just before the start of the season, the NFL was forced to sub replacement referees.
It's is the first time since 2001 that the organization has had to do so and thus far, a number of players and fans are not happy with the results.
This past Sunday and Monday stirred even further controversy after one of the refs had to be pulled. Brian Stropolo was yanked from a New Orleans-Carolina game after it was discovered that he was a Saints fan.
Some players have gone as far as to joke about putting money in, in order to get the regular refs back.
"I don't know what they're arguing about, but I got a couple of (million) on it, so let's try to make it work," Washington defensive back DeAngelo Hall told Sports Illustrated Monday. "I'm sure the locker room could pot up some cash and try to help the cause out."
In another incident, Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis were left unnerved after "two game altering calls" were made, though they were later reviewed and deemed to be accurate.
The results left Lewis feeling more serious about the situation; he suggested that the regular refs needed to be swapped back now.
"The time is now," he said. "How much longer are we going to keep going through this whole process? I don't have the answer. I just know across the league teams and the league are being affected by it."
He added, "It's not just this game, it's all across the league. And so if they want the league to have the same reputation it's always had, they'll address the problem. Get the regular referees in here and let the games play themselves out."