“Some of that stuff the other refs don’t have tolerance for,” he said. “They just boom [throw a flag] and as soon as you start throwing 15-yard penalties on people, I think that gets guys to kind of calm down a little bit.”
And as much as fans justifiably complain about officials getting calls wrong, this is as much a concern about player safety.
“If they allow people to continue to take cheap shots like that, yeah. It’s going to be an issue,” Alexander said. “I know a couple times guys could’ve got hurt if they weren’t aware or didn’t see the guy coming in on him late.”
Already taking a reputation hit for the referee situation, the last thing the NFL needs is for a star to suffer an injury because replacements cannot keep players under control.
Of course, there’s the danger that replacement officials start throwing too many flags and making games even more unwatchable and longer than they have been. But the far bigger worry is lack of proper enforcement.
And it almost certainly will get worse. Hall likened it to a basketball game when players know what kind of day it will be based on what fouls are called. If a lot of calls go unpenalized, players will try to get away with more.
“That’s what people are going to do. That’s what coaches are going to do,” Alexander said. “You’re going to come up with schemes, come up with techniques or a mentality and push the envelope as far as the refs allow you to do. And until they call it, why wouldn’t you do it if it’s going to give you an advantage to win games.”
At that point, everybody loses.
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