So for those of you who like football, you have undoubtedly heard the calls from media sources that the debacle in the Packers-Seahawks game was the final straw proving that the NFL has to find a way to get the regular referees back on the field. While I agree that monday night was a debacle, the thought occurred to me: Are the replacement refs actually significantly worse then the regular refs? After all, it seems like even before this, there was some complaint about a game changing botched call every week. Botched calls (as well as better technology) were the impetus for instituting replay. If you are expecting the replacement refs to be bad, every perceived bad call will reinforce this belief. Has anyone done a statistical comparison of the new refs versus the old? Given the limited number of penalties per game, is there even enough data yet to draw a statistically significant conclusion? My observation (the packers-seahawks game being an exception) was that the new refs were doing about as well as the old refs, with perhaps slightly less emphasis on db-receiver contact, and other "roughing" type of penalties, on par with the way the game might have been called 15 years ago.