While on the topic of the replacement referees, the Buccaneers were reportedly upset about them back on September 3rd as a Times article cited the struggles of these new officials with very little experience. The players note the nerves of the officials as they take the field week after week, while little progress is made in settling the lockout with the NFL Referees Association.
Columnist Tom Jones tore apart the replacement referees for yet another week calling it the worst officiating he has ever seen in a football game. On Monday, he wrote, "One blown call Sunday cost the Bucs a touchdown. A quick whistle blew dead what would have been a Bucs fumble return for a score, prohibiting what would have given the Bucs a 14-10 lead in the third quarter."
There was just one mention about the replacement referees in the game recap and analysis by columnist Gary Shelton. This was a very good job by the sports desk avoiding the possibility of leaking criticism or an opinion on the referees into a story that is best off written in an objective manner.
Jones noted in his column how Chris Mortensen exposed a referee for being a New Orleans Saints fan on his Facebook page prior to getting ready to ref a game between the New England Patriots and the Saints. I have ranted before about the separation between fanhood and an occupation. It holds true as an official and even more true as a sportswriter. There is no excuse to take a side and favor one story over the other.