This will change the Jets plan and how they approach this game, but perhaps not in the manner one might think at first glance. This isn’t just about the referees and getting the calls right and whistling this play or not whistling another play. It all goes much deeper than that.
In fact, knowing the referees and how they call a game is all part of how the Jets prepare their team during the week.
“With the old crews, we sort of knew what they liked to call such as pass interferences, holding – you knew that going into the game,” safety Yeremiah Bell told The Jets Blog. “With the replacement guys, you don’t know that about them, how they liked to call the game.”
The lack of information on the referees made it a wildcard as to how they approached the job and what calls they tended to let slide and which ones they were more prone to call. The Jets benefitted from the replacement referees over the last three games, including the offense who’s most successful play to date seems to be one called “Pass Interference.” All kidding aside, the Jets frequently benefited from defensive holding down the field, a call that helped sustain several drives this season.
The deal between the NFL and the referee’s union will put the time-tested officials on the field this week and while it won’t change how the Jets play the game, it does change their understanding and focus. They have homework on these officials, something they didn’t have on the replacement crews.
“It doesn’t change the approach for us at all. We can’t focus on that, we have to focus on what we can control. That’s our attitude, our effort and focus on every single play, every single snap. You want to try and know your refs, know what they call, what their tendencies are. Besides that, we’re not going to worry about it,” quarterback Tim Tebow said.
Tebow said that the referees didn’t call a different game but admitted that his understanding going into the game of how it likely would be officiated was clouded the past three weeks.
“It’s hard to say, [I] didn’t necessarily have a great feel the last few weeks. We always look at these refs as ‘higher on holding,’ ‘higher on pass interference,’ [or] higher on this,” Tebow said. “This week I feel they are pretty middle of the pack and good refs who do a good job.”
Two lockers down from Tebow, there wasn’t mutual agreement from Bell that the games weren’t called differently by the replacement referees. He saw a difference and felt that the replacement referees were more whistle happy but added that it won’t change how the Jets play this Sunday against San Francisco.
“It doesn’t change; everything is going to be the same. We can count on some of the flags that were there may not be there this week. The game is going to be officiated the right way – that’s going to be a relief for the guys. You can go out there and not second guess ‘Am I going to be flagged for this, flagged for that’,” Bell said.
“It was called differently. I just think that if they were close, they were calling it – no matter what – if it was close, they were calling it. No matter what.”