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September 25, 2012 10:00 PM

Referee: 'Don't Blame The Men In Stripes'

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It's one of the most talked about topics this Fall, especially following Monday night's football fiasco in Seattle. Many are saying the NFL replacement referees blew another call at the end of the game, costing the Green Bay Packers the win. 

It's being talked about on all sports TV and radio shows.  It's on Twitter and Facebook, but one local referee says don't blame the men in stripes.

It's the play everyone is talking about.  A touchdown pass many feel was an interception.

"As a fan, it's frustrating.  As a referee, I'm always going to give the benefit of the doubt to the referee," middle school teacher Jim Ricketts said.

Ricketts has reffed football for 20 years; 17 in the college ranks.  But even this science teacher says the chemistry is all wrong.

"I don't know a lot about NFL officiating, but with our camp that we have usually in June for officials in Sioux Falls, we get three or four NFL officials to come every year.  And from what they've told me, one rookie joins a crew a year is basically what happens.  Never two and now you have seven guys who haven't seen the speed these guys have," Ricketts said.

Before being called up to the NFL, most of the replacement refs were officiating college level NAIA football games, the same division Ricketts referees.

"I couldn't say I'd be any better because if you got seven guys who are used to seeing the level of football that's three notches below, it's a tough situation," Ricketts said.

In his classroom, Ricketts has an Easy Button he likes to hit when his students figure out a science problem. But unfortunately for NFL fans, it's not as easy for the replacement refs to get the call right.

Ricketts says the replacement refs have been thrown into the fire and like a lot of fans, he hopes the labor talks get resolved soon, so the regular officials can get back on the field.

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