South MS football fans: NFL needs to bench replacement refs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South MS football fans: NFL needs to bench replacement refs

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Some South Mississippi football lovers said by relying on replacement referees, the NFL is punting away the integrity of the game.

On Tuesday, the league upheld the controversial call that gave the Seattle Seahawks a 14-12 win over the Green Bay Packers. Many fans disagree and say the replacement refs are getting it wrong a lot. And unless there is a deal to end the referee lockout, the league will likely start losing fans and profits. 

Justin Burton spent his lunch break at a Biloxi restaurant watching highlights from the Monday night Seahawks-Packers football game. The former Southern Miss wide receiver said the replacement refs are out of their league making the NFL games hard to watch.

"It's blatant and obvious these guys are not prepared for the speed of the game," Burton said.

Because of a labor dispute with its referees, the NFL decided to play hard ball and bring in replacements. Some fans said the NFL can either take one for the team and reach a settlement, or risk fans tuning out.

Mark Smolarek is one of those fans who said the NFL will "lose fans because the integrity of the game. It's losing the integrity of the game. Losing the quality of what we are used to watching."

"More people probably will watch college football because it's actually officiated better. It's a better quality game right now than the NFL."

"People are going to stop watching it because they don't know what to expect anymore," said football fan Dennis Watt. "They don't know what kinds of calls they're going to make, good calls or bad calls. They're going to get even madder. They're going to stop going to games. Stop buying merchandise. Just all down hill from there if they don't resolve the situation."

Burton said he thinks the commissioner cares more about protecting the bottom line than protecting the line of scrimmage, and that's not fair to the fans or the players.

"You should never want to worry about the referee when you're playing football. When you're playing the game, that's the main focus. That's what you should be thinking about. The ref should never be a part of your mind."

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees weighed in on the replacement referee situation. He tweeted "Ironic that our league punishes those based on conduct detrimental. Whose CONDUCT is DETRIMENTAL now?" 

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