Cleveland is in trouble; their fans won’t be watching football anymore

The Browns really seemed to get hosed on a big call this weekend, but their fans are loud and many of them are apparently done with the NFL. Here are a few comments that were emailed to me:

The overturn of the 1st down for the Browns vs the Raiders was abhorrent. The officials were the only ones that got the call wrong. Disgusting! Cost the Browns the game. I’m sure that was the plan. Done watching this crappie league

I been watching football for years. After watching the blown calls in the Browns n Raiders game today. I see that the winner of every game depends on officials instead of talent. Your nfl official that’s on network even said it was a bad call but it decided the winner… Don’t like nfl anymore… horrible

I guess they’ll be soccer fans now? I don’t really know.

Most of the rest were far to vulgar to post here on the front page, but you can see them all on our Fan Complaints: Cleveland Browns archive.


That Dallas/Green Bay playoff game was so lopsided…

The refs were totally not fair and did all they could to help Green Bay win. Just ask these Dallas fans:

Rick McConville –
There are a few holding penalties in the same portion of the defensive backfield of cowboys on packer receivers not called. What action is taken to enhance the quality of the oversight of the game.


Wait, I mean they were trying to help Dallas win:

Claudio Avila –
When are the refs going to start calling the holding on the Dallas cowboys, they are doing this at will almost roping the packers jerseys off with no calls. Wake up refs.

No no no. The refs are definitely favoring Green Bay:

Edward Hart –
The regress in the dallas game are blind and for the green bay. They are not fair. The regress should all be thrown out.

Adrian Miller –
Worst lopsided officiating we’re NFL playoff game ever. Dallas could not buy a call with these lousy officials. Green Bay gets no flags entire first Half of the game and only one call the second half. Lousy ass and inference call on Dallas in fourth-quarter, specially after no call on Witten. There is no way you could convince me that these officials were not paid off. Again the officials end up screwing the Cowboys in the playoffs again, just the way the NFL league office wanted.

Err, no. They are favoring Dallas:

Mary Mani –
Your refs are missing a lot of calls for this game GB/Dallas. They need to get their crap together. Specially for a game of this caliber. Are they trying to fix the game so Dallas wins? COME ON.

Nope, they favored Green Bay. Ahh, that’s why they won.

robert hickmott –
that was a rip off with the cowboys on a roger pass he was out of bond you are a muh o cheat you should do a drug test on foger and the couch you all are a much of cheat

Judy Wyles –
The officiating for the Dallas/Green Bay game was horrendous and so one sided. I hope someone reviews this and fines them!!! So sad officials can decide a game of this magnitude!!!!!

Peggy Tinsley –
What the heck was that suspicious call on Brice Butler, Cowboys were not even in a huddle yet! No calls on green bay, they held about every play…. I saw all the refs chatting it up with greenbay yesterday. What’s up with that? ?

Karl Peterson –
I can’t believe the sorry excuse for officiating during the Cowboys vs Packers play off game!……with the technology that is available they shouldn’t be missing blatant calls for both teams and especially one that determined the outcome of the game. The inconsistency is astounding

As with most games, both sides get calls they aren’t happy with it. It happens.

Chris Stegenga will die for all of us — just not the referees

Despite clear info on our contact page, we still get a lot of people that fill out the form to complain. I’m working on a fun way to show you more of them, but I thought this one from Chris Stegenga ( was interesting. The Yahoo email address and grammatical errors are common in these kinds of rants, but he included lots of fun pieces for us!

>> You all f***ing suck when it comes to officiating. If your going to be referees and get paid do your fucking job correctly. Tonight’s game you don’t call a damn thing on Dallas yet Bryant legitimately grabbed his face mask then there offensive lineman have there hands all up in the Lions defense’s face.

The expected vulgarities. Classy. Obviously, the “you all” at the beginning is wildly misplaced. Also, *you’re, *their and *their.

>> Your a disgrace to this f***ing country as human beings and always think that after the game it’s ok to apologize for missed calls.

From a bad call to a “disgrace to this country”. Big leap! Also, *you’re.

>> This is your f***ing job I’m in the military if I did my job as half assed as you people would die so how about you do your jobs unbiased and fuck Goodell and what he says and who he wants in the playoffs.

I’m assuming half-assed doesn’t include reading a short sentence before venting…

Also, I’m not sure how this is showcasing an agenda in favor of the Cowboys — they’re already the top seed whether they win or lose.

>> Your all a bunch of f***ing losers who I wouldn’t even die for if this country would ever to be invaded.

This is awesome. Will he be willing to die for everyone else, and just not the officials? It’s hard to say. Also, *you’re.

I’m a Lions fan and hate when people represent them so poorly, but I just had to share these great thoughts from Chris with you.

Bill Vinovich returns to the field in Week 6!

Exciting news today for officiating fans, as Bill Vinovich will once again don a white hat for this weekend’s game between the Lions and Eagles.

Vinovich last worked in the 2006 season, and retired before 2007 due to his health.  At that time, John Parry took his place.

This information was learned by Football Zebras, an allied site whose founder Ben regularly contributes assignments here at Football-Refs.

While Football-Refs puts all of its focus on assignments (and will continue to do so), Football Zebras focuses heavily on news and discussion.  If you’re interested in officiating news, discussion about specific calls or opinion articles, Football Zebras comes highly recommended!

Should Jerry Jones be forced to raise the Cowboys scoreboard?

Over the weekend Titans backup punter AJ Trapasso hit the giant scoreboard at the new Dallas stadium with a punt.  As a result, the play was erased and they did it again.  However, if people are already hitting the scoreboard with punts now, it’s quite likely to happen again.

However, the cost to raise the scoreboard to a greater distance from the field will be around $2 million.  Jerry Jones says it’s already five feet higher than league standards, so he has no intention of paying to fix it.

My question to you:  Should he pay to fix it, should the NFL pay to fix it, or should they just leave it alone?

Here is a video of the punt hitting the scoreboard:

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Here comes the season!

The 2009 NFL schedule has been unveiled, so it’s time to start getting ready for the season.  I’ve loaded the entire schedule in the sidebar of the site, just like last year.  As you start to learn which refs are at each game in week 1, please reply to this post and let me know so we can start filling it out.

Also, I’ve copied the list of 2008 crews and put them on our 2009 crews page.  I’m sure there are some changes, but I haven’t put any in there yet.  If you know of any crew changes, please reply to this post so we can get that page up to speed as well.


How do they choose the officials for the NFL playoffs?

Note: The following is a guest post from Football-Refs reader Barry


I have followed the assignment of referees to the playoffs since 1985 and all officials since 2002.  While I don’t have all the answers and have never verified this with anyone in authority, here is my version of how it is done.  It is based upon my complete records since 2002 and comments by Mike Pereira to the NFL Network on the December 30 “Official Review.”  If you have other information, please let me know.

Up to and including the 2002 season, all officials were assigned as individuals to all-star crews for all of the playoff games.  Presumably, the highest-rated official at each position worked the Super Bowl.  Each one also worked one playoff game.

For the 2003 and 2004 seasons, officials were basically assigned by regular season crews, with substitutions for rookie officials and (perhaps) low-rated ones.  Eight such crews were assigned to the wild card and divisional playoff games.  Then two of these crews, with some substitutions from the other six playoff crews, also worked the conference championships.  Every official in the conference championships also worked in the wild card or divisional playoffs.  As before, the best official at each position worked the Super Bowl.  Every one had worked at least one playoff game, and in a couple of instances (if they were on the right crew) they had worked two.

This is the fourth year of the present system, and I think it works like this:

  • The eight highest-rated crews are assigned to the wild card and divisional playoffs, but substitutions are made in three instances: 1) rookie officials; 2) officials who are rated third- or second-best at their position; 3) poorly-rated officials.  They are replaced by officials with good ratings from the other nine crews that are not assigned to these rounds.
  • The two crews for the conference championships are all-star crews and consist of the third- and second-rated officials at each position.  None of these officials have worked in the previous two rounds.
  • The Super Bowl officials, as always, are the highest-rated officials at each position for the year.  Some have worked in the wild card or divisional playoffs, but not all of them.
  • I don’t know how the Pro Bowl officials are selected, but none of them have worked any other postseason games.

We welcome your comments below.