You can't blame the guys fresh out of Foot Locker for the mess in the first three weeks of the NFL season.
The replacement referees who were sent home when the lockout ended Wednesday were skewered and savaged by players, coaches, fans and media everywhere except Seattle.
For the most part, they were overwhelmed by officiating NFL games, showing the same expression as rookies who look around and mutter, "Hey, it's much faster here."
Some fill-ins couldn't distance themselves from being fans, with at least one report of a referee approaching a player and saying, "You're on my fantasy team." And one was pulled off assignments when it was discovered he had posted pictures online of himself decked out in Saints garb.
Many of the replacement refs regularly worked high school or small-college games in recent years, so of course they were going to accept an NFL gig, no matter how brief.
But expecting them to make the transition to the NFL was an embarrassing blunder. That warrants an illegal use of control penalty on Commissioner Roger Goodell.
What to watch
High school football, "Final Quarter," 11 p.m., FOX40: The Bee's Joe Davidson discusses the Sacramento-Burbank game.
Who is most to blame for the controversy over the replacement refs?
The replacement refs
Greed of regular refs
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports
Will you listen to Walt Gray's new radio show?
Not sure: 15%
Total votes: 334
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Joe Davidson
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.