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Um… if that’s the first line of your segment on the NFL referee situation, it’s probably a pretty big disaster. This edition of Fall Smackdown 2012 is all about the newcomers on the field: in this corner, we have the replacement referees, who are stepping in during the continued lockout of the NFL Referees Association! Aaand in this corner, the five rookie QBs who will be starting this season!
Who will SURVIVE [insert obligatory Hunger Games joke here]? Let’s match them up…
Ready to win? The QBs, on the whole, look very promising. Russell Wilson had a great preseason, Robert Griffin III is being awesome, and people are comparing Andrew Luck to previous Fall Smackdown winner Peyton Manning. Ryan Tannehill’s struggling, but he seems to have a good team behind him. On the other hand, here’s what one article had to say about the NFL’s decision to bring in non-union refs: “If Starbucks baristas ever went on strike, would Starbucks respond by saying, “Let’s just throw homeless people behind the counter” instead of just increasing their pay from $10 an hour to $12? “ Ouch. That’s not exactly a vote of confidence, and a full NFL is a crazy place. No room for error, so expect some nerves. Even with the use of instant replay and helpful overseeing officials, this might be chaos.
Winner: The QBs have drive, experience… plus, they’ve been prepping for the NFL itself, rather than getting dragged into someone else’s fight. Sorry, refs.
Job security: Being a starting QB isn’t the most secure position, and these guys are being heavily scrutinized to see if they can match up to their more experienced teammates. Bleacher Report is already starting to wonder whether Brandon Weeden’s going to be able to stay on top of the lineup, and it’s the first week of the season. However, there’s a great defense of Russell Wilson here that debates against that impulse.
And at least the QBs know they’ll have a job through the end of the season, even if the job becomes “sitter on bench.” The poor replacement refs are out of work the moment NFLRA is let back in.
Winner: Once again, QBs. This is getting sad.
Best ridiculous stock photo: If you search “referee football,” you find this…
and “quarterback” gives us…
Winner: I don’t think you can top “jumping lady referee with inexplicable suitcase.” Point refs. They got one!
Smackdown Champion: Even if all the rookie QBs tank (which they won’t), they’ll still be better off. Congratulations, quarterbacks. Now go do a touchdown dance or something.