New Jersey Looks to Ban Replacement Refs

NFL has gotten 70K calls complaining about game
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2012 9:40 AM CDT
Green Bay Packers fans hold signs Tuesday on Lombardi Avenue in protest of a controversial call in the Packers 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks Monday night.   (AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Lukas Keapproth)
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(Newser) – New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for replacement referees to work in the state, arguing that they are a danger to players' safety, the Bergen Record reports. "We wouldn’t allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees," Sweeney reasoned in a statement. "Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?" Both the Giants and the Jets play in New Jersey.

The NFL brushed aside Sweeney's concerns, saying that "officiating controversies have always been a part of the sport." But judging by the reaction so far, that's not likely to appease anyone. ESPN tweeted that the NFL offices have gotten more than 70,000 voicemails regarding the botched call. And more than pride and playoff berths are at stake: Las Vegas bookies estimate that between $150 million and $200 million in bets swung on the call.

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