Replacement official comedy from the Eagles-Cardinals game, with pictures!

There was a series during the Eagles-Cardinals game in which the Cardinals received an extra down, or perhaps more accurately, the officials seemingly didn’t allow the Eagles to decline a penalty.  Hang in there with me on this one, as I try to sort it out:

On 1st down, Cardinals RB Ryan Williams ran for 9 yards.  Next play would be 2nd and 1.  However, after the play, there was a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Cardinals, which backed them up 15 yards.  It should be 2nd and 16.  However, on the next play, the FOX graphic on the field says 1st and 16.  I presume the FOX people use whatever they see on the scoreboard in the stadium:


On the next play, Kevin Kolb is sacked for loss of about 7 or 8 yards:

On that play, there was a holding call on the offense:


So now the Eagles have a decision to make.  In their heads, it’s either 2nd and 26 if they accept the penalty, or 3rd and around 23 or 24 if they keep the sack.  Obviously, any coach would take the sack and decline the penalty, as Andy Reid will do momentarily:

There seemed to have been some confusion as to what down it was, so Andy Reid explained to the officials that it should have been 2nd down after the dead ball unsportmanlike call:

And that it should now be 3rd down after the sack:

So out comes the referee to make the correction.  That holding call…

…will be declined:

It will be 3rd down:

OK, good. Glad we got that sorted out.  Oh wait… hang on now.  This ruling makes Ken Whisenhunt unhappy:

So let’s go talk to him.  Whisenhunt says, “Hey wait, up on the scoreboard it said that the last play was 1st down, so it should be 2nd down now.”

“But Andy over there told us it should have been 2nd down, and now it’s 3rd down”:

“Eff Andy and the horse he rode in on.  It’s 2nd down.”

Great. Now Kevin Kolb is bored. Are you all happy?:

Wait… what’s this?  Now Patrice O’Neal’s long lost twin brother joins the conversation:


OK, here comes the final explanation now that Whisenhunt has had his say. Note the top left of the screen, where FOX has it accurately at 3rd and 24:

Above, I took some liberties with quotes that didn’t actually happen.  But here, I’ll type the referee’s explanation verbatim:

“Cr… The ruling on the field… It will be 2nd down and Philadelphia will accept the holding.”:

“But I just told you I DECLINED THE PENALTY!”

Heh, Andy’s mad:

“Look here, Andy.  We both know these replacement officials are crazy.  Whisenhunt thinks it should have been 1st down after the unsportsmanlike penalty.  You say it should have been 2nd, but he’s really mad, so whaddya say we just split the difference and you accept the holding call? That way, we can give Whiz the extra down, but they’re pushed back two extra yards?  You guys look like crap today and aren’t going to win this game anyway.  Cool?”

From the time Kolb was sacked until the next snap, exactly 5 minutes elapsed, and they still didn’t get it right.  But OK, let’s play ball.  Darryl Tapp, no sack for you:

Apparently, declining penalties in the NFL is no longer allowed.  Cheers to Roger Goodell and the owners, who are putting out the best possible product on the field:

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  1. Yikes. says:

    […] (Of course, some of the head-scratching moves weren’t entirely Andy’s fault). […]

  2. […] For coaches, there have been multiple instances where altercations with the refs have ended up in fines. Bill Belichek of New England, John Fox and Jack Del Rio of Denver, Kyle Shanahan of Washington have all received fines for roughing up the replacement officials. There have also been far too many instances where the head coaches could be seen explaining the rules to the officials. For example, Andy Reid’s debacle in the Cardinals game, which is beautifully depicted here. […]

  3. Djax10 says:

    Hahahah great post, love it

  4. […] One part of the game I didn’t get into was the bizarre sequence where Andy was seemingly forced to accept a penalty he didn’t want.  Jimmy Bama covered that over at his site. […]

  5. TylerD says:

    Jimmy opening up this post after last night debacle is just to funny. This replacement Ref stuff is terrible.

    1. My site got 14,587 hits yesterday because of this post. Let’s just say that’s more than the norm. People LOVE reading about the replacement ref debacles.

  6. SteveH says:

    You think the officiating was bad in this game, the end of the Packers-Seahawks game… just unreal. That was the worst ending to a game I have ever seen, no hyperbole. This is a watershed moment in NFL history.

    1. David_Does_Dallas says:

      I completely agree.

  7. randy says:

    come on nfl lets get the refree backkbefore some one get hurt really bad the only thing funny than these refree that have bno clue what they r doing is watching the presidental race

  8. Redskins Fan says:

    MrMcLargeHuge doesn’t understand that his team (Cincy, I bet) benefitted from two very important plays that took points from the Redskins even earlier.

    One was a fumble on the law firm, which the Redskins ACTUALLY scored a touchdown on, but the refs said was a turnover, but down by contact (the nearest Cincy player was BJG, three feet away, with his armed pinned under him; unless he had a psychic third arm, he never touched the Redskin, as replays clearly showed). The second was on one of the very few long pass plays of the day for the Redskins; Pac-Man Jones tripped Leonard Hankerson deep, at about the Cincy 15, a second before the ball arrived. Classic Pass Interference, as Jones didn’t turn around, he was staring at Hankerson (Jones never turned around on the play). At that point, Washington and Cincy are tied at 24; any points there keeps the Redskins momentum. Redskins instead are forced to punt (leading to the correct, but infamous because of Shanny’s challenge and the point that the Cincy player tried to advance it after the ball touched the line, punt is a touchback call that helped to swing momentum back to Cincy).

    That’s 10 points that Washingotn was robbed of, maybe 14. And that’s discounting the helmet to helmet PF non-call that put Hankerson down and DID result in an injury run off (Rules are screwy there… I can seriously see a future problem, where a defender hurts an offensive player, the run off accounts for ten seconds, but there is no time left… yes, there will be one more play because the game can’t end on a defensive penalty, but what if there would have been time for two plays? Something needs to change; if a penalty is called (which it wasn’t because the refs screwed up) there shouldn’t be a run off for an injury.)

  9. steveospeak says:

    Wow that is beyond belief ridiculous. It’s getting worse and worse with this comedy of errors.

  10. Joe says:

    My personal Fav was the hate throw in the Cowboys game, that was perfect, the official threw his hat in the endzone (in the field of play) right before Ogletree goes to make a cut, he steps on the hat, and slips, lucky he did not get hurt….sigh, it is getting worse, not better

  11. sjhaack says:

    You even missed the part where the official said it was FIRST DOWN again, and then after getting yelled at by Reid skipped straight to third down, before finally settling on second down, to the delight of literally nobody.

  12. AJ says:

    This is exactly what I saw happen. I can’t believe the NFL is allowing this sort of embarrassment. Unfortunately, I as well as most fans, love football too much to not watch completely, but the game delays and blown calls have definitely discouraged me from watching games that don’t involve the NFC East. This especially goes for night games that I don’t have time to spend an extra hour watching these guys mess up. My thing is, how do they not assess the calls right? It’s one thing if the game is too fast, and you miss a call. But, this isn’t the case here. They don’t know the rules even to the level of the average fan, and they are so scared of the coaches and players that they piss themselves any time someone is unhappy. News flash, the fans are unhappy, and there are way more of us than coaches and players.

  13. AnthroEagle says:

    I like how Kelce tweeted about the incident during the game, lol.

  14. goodfells46er says:

    Too funny. And maddening.

  15. eagles2zc says:

    I had no clue what was going during that whole exchange. Good to finally read some explanation on how the refs messed up again

  16. Kunk says:

    So if the Eagles actually accepted the holding penalty, shouldn’t it have been 1st and 26 (based on the first ref screw up)? It’s like the refs realized they screwed up on the personal foul call, and this was the best compromise they could come up with.

  17. TylerD says:

    How about the Niner game where they let Harbough challenge a play with no time outs and than after Harbough’s challenge was correct they gave him a time out back. LOL you can’t make this stuff up.

  18. NYG_slater says:

    After watching the fiasco in Baltimore during prime-time……we are no longer guaranteed (relatively of course) “good” officials for our night game. That game was a complete disaster. Thankfully it happened to BB and Kraft. Might speed things up a bit with the ref lockout.

    1. jjeaglerooter says:

      and now that green bay got stiffed , shit is definitely getting hot……….haw dare they shit on the new “Americas team?”

  19. immynimmy says:

    Gold Jimmy.

    Also, RIP Patrice O’Neal

    1. HogHunter says:

      Yes and yes.

  20. brisulph says:

    Well played Jimmy… well played.

  21. NYG_slater says:

    glad you got this sorted out….for a second I thought AR had lost it when he accepted the penalty…..didn’t realize they made the initial goof on the personal foul call.

    and the picture dialogue…rofl good stuff.

  22. Steve says:

    And if they had got that call right and not given the Cardinals an extra down then MAYBE EVERYTHING CHANGES.


    1. poolboy87 says:

      I’m presuming that you’re being all sarcastic and whatnot…but the reality is: maybe it doesn’t have an impact on THIS game, but these guys ARE impacting 16 games a week. This is absolutely pathetic. I shouldn’t be watching High School refs try to officiate a game. I don’t want to sit around for 5 minutes while refs try to figure out what freaking down it is.

      The NFL is trying DESPERATELY to convince you that these guys are as good as the real deal. They’re trying exceptionally hard to stop coaches from complaining. They don’t want fans to notice anything.

      But the reality is, there is a HUGE difference, and it’s embarrassing.

      1. ATG says:

        And until people give the NFL less of their money because of it, they don’t care.

  23. ATLeagle says:

    Well, at least Andy didnt get Shanahanned for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike for explaining the rules to the refs.

    I cant stand the guy on the sidelines who the refs keep talking to that helps get things right. He is obviously talking to someone in a booth who is furiously digging through the rulebook trying to figure this out on the fly. Complete mess.

    Dawkins signed the letter to the owners saying that this needs to stop now, which makes me like him that much more.

    1. MrMcLargeHuge says:

      Shanahan should have never had the chance to explain the rule. The 10-second runoff that the ref announced at 1:07? It never happened! Shanahan’s penalty came with :07 left in the game.

      1. There was no 10 second runoff because the clock was already stopped prior to the play. The runoff only occurs when the clock is running.

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