The NFL's replacement officials are no good for football, no one is debating that — well, no one but Cortland Finnegan. But like many players and fans of the game, Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard has had enough.
Pollard, who might be best known for ending Tom Brady's 2008
season and injuring Rob Gronkowski's ankle in the AFC Championship Game last
season, joined the Toucher and Rich Morning Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub on
Thursday to talk about Sunday night's showdown with the Patriots as well as his
utter disdain for the replacements referees.
After some discussion about this weekend's game, Pollard
dove right into the replacements, urging NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to get
the "real refs" back in the game.
"My issue is we have our commissioner [Goodell] who is
jumping on board to hammer every other issue down in the NFL. He is jumping on
board to get meetings with players when things are happening, but we have
something on hand that is messing up the integrity of the league and nothing is
being done about it," Pollard said. "These guys need to be out. I
respect them as men. I understand that they were put in a position they can't
handle. But who is going to turn down an NFL officiating gig when you probably
get paid more than you got paid in the lingerie league or whatever. Who is
going to turn that down? But when it's all said and done, the commissioner
needs to do something about it."
Pollard doesn't only think that the replacements are under
qualified to be officiating NFL games, but he also feels that these officials
are easily influenced and has even noticed instances of some of them being
"starstruck" by opposing players.
"These guys are starstruck. Even in the preseason one
of the refs saw Joe Flacco and he was amazed. I was thinking 'Wow, what if this
was [Tom] Brady? What if this was Tony Gonzalez? All these other guys?"
Pollard said. "I understand these guys are starstruck. I understand
they respect us as players and they respect certain men that they've
seen or watched. But when it's all said and done, you have to step on that
field and you cannot be bullied.
"When you throw that flag, you stand by that flag. When
you make one of those calls, you point and you point with power and you point
with integrity, and I just think these guys, they don't have it. This is over
There is a definite issue that persists with the
inconsistencies of these replacement officials. It has become a daily
occurrence of players speaking out about their inabilities. And with more
situations like the one Pollard suggests coming to light, the need for a return
of those "real refs" is stronger than ever.