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Nalen On The NFL’s Replacement Refs: ‘I Think They’re Awesome’

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An NFL referee at Sports Authority Field at Mile High during the Broncos-49ers game on Aug. 26. (credit: CBS)

An NFL referee at Sports Authority Field at Mile High during the Broncos-49ers game on Aug. 26. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – “Just let ‘em play, ref!”

Have you noticed that few NFL fans seem to be saying that while watching the games at the stadiums and the sports bars this season?

During the Game Talk segment of CBS4’s show Chevy Football Preview over the weekend former Broncos lineman Tom Nalen said there’s a simple reason why: the league’s current replacement referees aren’t calling lots of unnecessary penalties.

“The NFL is so image conscious, you’d think they would get something done with all the bad press they’ve taken with the refs,” Nalen said. “But I love these refs. I think they’re awesome. They are letting everybody play.”

Nalen said he thinks the games have gotten better from a fan perspective as a result.

“These guys have no egos. They’re humble. They’re just trying to do the best they can in the situation given.”

Nalen said he thinks the biggest complaint you’re hearing about the refs is that they aren’t giving long explanations after reviewing a play.

“I don’t need the long explanation,” Nalen said. “Just give me the call and move on with the game.”

Former Broncos running back Reggie Rivers, also a featured guest on Game Talk, disagreed that the refs have made things better, saying the integrity and accuracy of the game is being negatively affected.

“The mistakes they make are expensive. Titans quarterback Jake Locker got injured on a play that should have been blown dead. Jay Cutler used a timeout on a play where the play clock hadn’t been reset and the Bears had to waste a timeout.

“You have the ball being spotted in the wrong places and coaches using their challenges when they don’t need to use them,” Rivers said.

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