What's buzzing:

Shutdown Corner

NFL issues on-field conduct warning regarding replacement officials to all 32 teams

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

View photo

.

(AP)

After the debacle that was Week 2 of the 2012 NFL season, the league office has taken swift and proactive action to remedy the problems between coaches and replacement officials.

Unfortunately, that action has nothing to do with training or replacing those officials with better ones, or the real ones who have been locked out for months.

Instead, the NFL has issued a warning to all 32 NFL teams insisting that the behavior seen from coaches such as Atlanta's Mike Smith, Denver's John Fox, and San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh will no longer be tolerated. Those coaches, who were reacting to ridiculous mishandlings of in-game situations by unqualified refs, have been told in no uncertain terms to cut it out.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was told by NFL VP of football operations Ray Anderson that "We contacted [the teams] to remind them that everyone has a responsibility to respect the game. We expect it to be adhered to this weekend and forevermore."

Schefter asked what would happen if any coach violated the sanctity of the league's new hands-off policy. "If someone were to make that mistake, he would be flagged on the field and he would be hearing from our office in a very firm way," Anderson said.

Clearly, this is yet another example of the NFL trying to cover its own collective backside in a labor war with its longtime officials that has been a severe detriment to the game. Perhaps the best example occurred on the most national stage. During the "Monday Night Football" game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos, there were several interminable delays that had the telecast going just short of the four-hour mark as the replacements tried in vain to take charge of a game that was spiraling out of control at all times.

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards actually put his hands on an official during one fracas and was not ejected, Broncos center J.D. Walton pulled one official out of a pile and wasn't even penalized, and there were two embarrassing spot foul mistakes that you wouldn't expect of first-year high school refs.

ESPN's broadcast crew, normally cognizant of its relationship with the NFL, went rogue because it could do nothing else. Play-by-play man Mike Tirico called the situation "an embarrassment," and color man Jon Gruden, never one to mince words with officials when he was a head coach with the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was eventually rendered speechless by the incompetence he saw.

The NFL, intent on driving the locked-out officials back to the bargaining table on its own terms only, has refused to acknowledge that the issues even exist. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello will only say that "[The NFL is] going to continue to do everything possible to raise the level of performance of the current officials."

And while that behemoth project is in the works, there will be no in-game reminders or admonishments from the coaches whose jobs could depend in part on what these officials do. The NFL and the NFL Referees Association did meet this week, per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, but little progress was made.

After that Monday night disaster, ESPN analyst and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young went on a blistering tirade about the state of the game.

"Everything about the NFL now is inelastic for demand," Young said. "There's nothing they can do right now to hurt the demand for the game. The bottom line is, they don't care. Player safety doesn't matter in this case. Bring in the Division III officials — it doesn't matter. In the end you're still going to watch the game, we're going to all complain and moan and gripe but … it doesn't matter. Go ahead, gripe all they want. I'm going to rest. Let them eat cake."

Indeed. And just to add — let them eat cake and shut up about it.

Related content from the Yahoo! Sports Minute

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Y! News: Booze and firearms mix at controversial Georgia gun range
NFL's return to Los Angeles faces a new potential snag in AEG sale
Albert Pujols clings to hope of Cardinals-style miracle in Anaheim
Billy Gillispie's fall began the day he left for Kentucky

View Comments (275)
  • NFL-National Football League roundup

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo appears fine after he left the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night due to back tightness. On Dallas' third offensive play, Romo scrambled from the pocket, then went into a slide near … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Blue Jays get C Navarro from White Sox for minor leaguer

    Blue Jays get C Navarro from White Sox for minor leaguer

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The Toronto Blue Jays have added depth at catcher for the stretch run by re-acquiring veteran Dioner Navarro from the Chicago White Sox. … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Bowman excited to fill in for Earnhardt again

    Bowman excited to fill in for Earnhardt again

    Alex Bowman should have plenty of fans this weekend at Michigan International Speedway in his return to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. Not only will he be filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., but his No. 88 Chevrolet will be adorned with a special … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • Reed two ahead at Barclays as Ryder Cup spot looms

    Reed two ahead at Barclays as Ryder Cup spot looms

    (Reuters) - Patrick Reed moved one step closer in his bid for a fifth PGA Tour win and an automatic selection for next month's Ryder Cup as he seized a two-stroke lead after Friday's second round of The Barclays in Farmingdale, New York. The burly … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup

    Texas Rangers right-handed relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress was arrested on a drunk-driving charge early on Friday morning. According to a Dallas County arrest warrant, the 28-year-old Jeffress was jailed at 5:13 a.m. and charged with DWI. Bail was … More »

    Reuters - 15 minutes ago