IRVING, Texas - In case you missed it from Monday night's NFL game in Seattle, the Packers lost despite winning by intercepting the game's final pass.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said the replacement refs are doing a fine job, but you have to wonder how he would feel if this Seattle Screwup happened to his team. Jerry may be in the bag for the owners to put it to the officials union in this labor dispute, but he would be saying something else if this ordeal cost his team a win.
[ UPDATE: Jones told 105.3 FM The Fan this morning that he missed the second half of the game because he had gone to sleep. But his overall reaction to the play in Seattle was, oh well ... "It’s exciting," Jerry said. "It gives us a lot to talk about on our shows that we have." Bottom line - he doesn't care because the bottom line remains the same. ]
Thus far the replacement officials have not factored into a Cowboys' game, but it's only a matter of time. The longer these guys work something really bad is going to break for the Cowboys.
Normally, NFL coaching staffs prepare for officiating crews as part of their game preparation. Refs are scouted and charted no differently than opposing players. Coaches know their tendencies to call pass interference, or an official's threshold for certain behaviors.
Now, they have no idea what the hell is going on.
"You take that off the table; we haven't been as formal with it with these new officials," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said on Monday when I asked him if he can prepare for anything referee related now. "There is a whole history with the other guys. If something really stands out I'll try to convey that to our team, but other than that we haven't talked that much about it."
Garrett said the officiating has, so far, not been a distraction for his team.
"What we try to do is focus on playing and coaching. I'm going to be honest with you during the time there have been some calls in a game you naturally react to it. Everybody does," he said. "But at the same time you have to get back, and focus on doing your job. They'll spot it the right way. They'll call it the right way. They'll get it figured out."
That's a very professional and optimistic way to approach it. There may not be a better alternative.
I am sure Packers coach Mike McCarthy felt the same way until Monday night. That worked out well.
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