If Brandon Spikes wasn’t already on the long list of people who aren’t happy with the replacement refs, he’s officially on there now.
At roughly 1 a.m. on Monday, the Patriots’ linebacker tweeted, “Can someone please tell these (expletive) zebras foot locker called and they’re needed Back at work!!!!,” with the hashtag #BreakingPoint.
“The jerk store called. They’re running out of you” (a la George Costanza) wouldn’t have gotten his point across as good. In fact, I don’t think anything sums it up better than the Foot Locker variety. However, it would have stayed true to the format of his joke, and more importantly, he would have dodged a fine.
Instead, Spikes will likely have to fork over some money to the NFL and so will Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker’s game-winning 27-yard field goal went high over the right post and was called good as time expired. Belichick immediately chased down a referee and grabbed him by the arm as everyone cleared the field.
If he isn’t disciplined for making contact with an official, Belichick will likely be docked for his post-game comments.
“I’m not going to comment on that. You saw the game,” Belichick said. “What did we have, thirty penalties called in that game?”
“Talk to the officials about the way they called the game,” he added later.
Belichick did deserve an explanation after the game’s final play, and here’s why. The only reason the kick wasn’t reviewable was because the ball was ruled to have gone directly above the upright. If a field goal is deemed to have gone inside or outside the upright, it is reviewable. Belichick wasn’t sure which one it was, and thus didn’t know if he could at least throw a red flag.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is also facing discipline after bumping a referee during the game. Whether the physical contact made in those instances will draw a hefty fine is yet to be seen.
Meanwhile, Spikes may get dealt a fine similar to the ones handed out to Denver Broncos head coach John Fox ($30,000) and his defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio ($25,000) for bad-mouthing officials publicly.
Is the criticism of the replacement refs warranted? Absolutely. The same guys who sometimes don’t know which cities the competing teams are from served up another slew of reasons why in Week 3:
49ERS at VIKINGS: Referee Ken Roan said he twice granted 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh video challenges after Harbaugh called his final timeout in the fourth quarter. After simply calling his last timeout, Harbaugh decided to challenge a play. The ref allowed the challenge, then awarded him a timeout after he won it. That allowed him to challenge another call later in the contest.
LIONS at TITANS and BENGALS at REDSKINS: Both games had plays in overtime and the fourth quarter, respectively, in which too much yardage was assessed for penalties.
BUCCANEERS at COWBOYS: Dallas quarterback Tony Romo fumbled twice in the third quarter, but they weren’t ruled turnovers until Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano challenged both.
Coaches, players and fans better get used to the “Foot Locker” refs’ fumbles. The NFL and the officials’ union met on Sunday, but it’s unclear if there was any progress made towards a new collective bargaining agreement.