Of the 17 referees on the NFL’s payroll during the 2017 season Rasheem Green Jersey , four of them have now left. Does that leave the NFL with a referee problem?
It’s a fair question to ask as the 2018 season approaches. While the departures of Ed Hochuli and Jeff Triplette had been known for months, the bang-bang retirements of Terry McAulay and Gene Steratore in recent days, reportedly to work at NBC and CBS respectively, is jarring. And the moves raise legitimately questions as to whether something has gone haywire with the NFL’s officiating department, whether more referees will leave, and whether the replacements will be good enough.
Six years ago, the Commissioner stridently boasted that replacement officials would perform as well as the locked-out black-and-white-stripers who wanted more green than the NFL would give them. Reality proved the Commissioner quite wrong, culminating in the embarrassment that was the Fail Mary.
Three days after the Seahawks beat the Packers thanks to a blatant case of offensive pass interference on the game’s last play, the “A” team was back, led by the swagger of Steratore James Harrison Jersey , who’s Thursday night strut for a Browns-Ravens game let everyone know that, indeed, there’s a palpable difference between the best officials in football and those who aren’t.
With Steratore now gone (along with McAulay, Hoculi, and Triplette), the NFL will be facing a real test. And the stakes are higher than ever, since there will be actual, legal stakes on the games.
And it could have been worse. Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com reported that Clete Blakeman also auditioned for the NBC gig that went to McAulay. If ESPN hadn’t hired Triplette (who already had retired, and who many fans won’t miss), maybe Blakeman would have gotten one of the three recently-filled network gigs.
And maybe now the report that the NFL nudged ESPN to hire Triplette makes more sense. Maybe it wasn’t about helping Tripllette; maybe it was about helping the NFL not lose yet another referee as a new season approaches.
And maybe the NFL now needs to worry about possibly losing more referees after the coming season concludes.
Entering the playoffs Brent Grimes Jersey , there was some question if the Philadelphia 76ers could keep up their torrid pace.
After the most lopsided Game 1 victory so far, consider the question answered. Emphatically.
The 76ers head into Tuesday’s Game 2 8 p.m. showdown with the Miami Heat riding a 17-game winning streak — including Saturday’s 130-103 win at Wells Fargo Center — and with the knowledge that Joel Embiid’s return may come sooner than later.
For their first playoff trip in more than a half-decade, things aren’t starting off so bad for Philadelphia.
“Now I think we are 26-1 at home since Christmas, we’ve won a lot of games in a row, it sort of all adds up,” head coach Brett Brown said. “We’ve talked a lot about how do we come out of halftime. Lots of times in the normal regular season it’s not uncommon for both teams to need to have the dust shaken off of them to respond and start playing competitive basketball again.”
Philadelphia seemed well-oiled — and well-prepared — against the Heat in Game 1, even after trailing by four at the half. The 76ers blitzed Miami with a 34-18 third quarter and then slammed the door shut with a 40-25 fourth quarter, hitting the 130-point mark for the third time in five games.
“They just played unbelievably,” Miami guard Goran Dragic said. “They were hitting some shots, they didn’t run away from the game. They were physical the whole game. They have some good shooters. We just fell apart at the end of third Adolphus Washington Jersey , beginning of the fourth quarter. We didn’t play defense well. Most of the shots, that’s the shots, they were making. We can do nothing about that. We need to go and see film, try to get better and get back to work Monday.”
If Embiid returns sooner than later, the Heat could be in big trouble.
Embiid cleared concussion protocol on Sunday, Brown said, though the team does not have a specific date for return. Embiid, who missed the final eight games of the regular season after colliding with teammate Markelle Fultz and suffering an orbital bone fracture and a concussion, told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he feels ready to contribute.
“If it was my decision, I would play Landon Collins Jersey , but I can’t get back out on the court if I don’t have the OK from them,” said Embiid, who averaged 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 63 games in the regular season. “But everything has been going well. I’ve been able to do everything. And I feel great. So we got a pretty good chance for Game 2 or Game 3. We gonna see how it feels in the next couple of days.”
Should Embiid return, the 76ers will add to their decisive front-court advantage over the Heat. Miami’s best offensive post player may be reserve forward Kelly Olynyk, who had 26 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench in Game 1.
Center Hassan Whiteside had just two points and six rebounds in 12 minutes in the first game.
“It’s not about him,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. “This series and this game are going to move quickly. There are a lot of substitutions both ways and there is not a lot of time based on the flow and the matchups. It’s not necessarily an indictment to his first four minutes but we all have to collectively be better on Monday.”
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