Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
The replacement referees scare me to death. Why? They are going to cost some team a game and probably ruin someone's season. It's just a matter of time.
As Steve Young so beautifully explained Monday night after the Broncos-Falcons game that took seven hours, 'We are going to complain and the NFL isn't going to care because we are still going to watch.'
So what will it take for the NFL to care that the replacement referees are awful? It will take more than a horrible call or costing some random team a game. That won't even get Roger Goodell to make the referees a better offer. Always remember rule number one for Roger: Make sure the NFL makes ungodly amounts of money.
Money comes before everything. It comes before player safety (see 18 game schedule) and any other lies that flow from Goodell's mouth. Money is the number one reason the Saints got a nuclear bomb dropped on them over the bounties because the NFL is petrified over the ex-player concussion lawsuits. So if the replacement referees aren't affecting the NFL money printing presses what could possibly make the NFL bend and settle the lockout?
I'm talking lead the 5:30 p.m. CBS national news on Monday embarrassing. This will take more than the Chiefs getting six downs against the Saints or Lovie Smith getting 18 coaches challenges.
It can happen but it will make you really uncomfortable and it might be awful. The only thing I think that will break the NFL is a brawl during a game.
It could happen, because if you saw the St. Louis-Washington game, you know the replacement had almost no control of the game. Players don't respect them and the Rams/Redskins seemed THIS CLOSE to having a messy, full-on brawl. I can easily see a scenario where replacement refs lose control of a game completely, make a couple horrendous late calls, players and coaches go crazy along with fans and suddenly we have a sports riot any European soccer fan would be proud of. It would be horrible but I'll admit if it happens and makes Tim Tebow cry, Roger Goodell look horrible, and nobody is seriously injured I'm all for it.
I want competent referees.
Sean Payton sabbatical spot of the week: Chile
We guess where Sean Payton might be spending his time every week.
Chile has one of the longest recorded dry spells in the Atacama Desert it did not rain for 40 years. Cubs' fans can do a 40-year draught standing on their head. David Selkirk, immortalized as Robinson Crusoe, survived a shipwreck and lived for several years on a desert island off the coast of Chile. The Saints opponent this week, the Kansas City Chiefs, know a thing or two about ship wrecks because they hired Todd Haley as coach.
Last Week: 2-3
Kansas City (+9) at New Orleans: I said on Twitter the Saints shouldn't be favored by 9 over Tulane. The defense is atrocious and until they hold a team under 30 points I'm not picking them.
My head tells me the Saints are going to take out all the offseason frustrations on Kansas City and the Chiefs might be firing Romeo Crennel Monday. The Chiefs defense is at least the equal of the Saints in its ineptitude. CJ Spiller just ran for 9 million yards against them.
My heart says if this game is decided by less than 10 points the Saints won't win. Turnovers, the scab refs or maybe both will do in the Saints.
In the NFL eventually a team starts believing what they are and not what they were. The Saints are at that point. They believe they are a Super Bowl team and elite but if they fall to 0-3 those thoughts will be pushed aside by reality.
I have an awful feeling about this game and the season in general. Until I see something different consider me Dr. Doom.
San Diego (-3) vs. Atlanta: Are the Chargers any good? Norv Turner will surely run this train off the tracks eventually but not this week. The new Falcon defense looks nasty but I'm still not sold on their offensive line. The replacement refs turned Monday night football into a multi-night miniseries. We will have a five-hour non-overtime game.
Tampa Bay (+8) at Dallas: That was mighty nice of Dallas to lay a big fat egg in Seattle to try and cheer me up after the Saints game on Sunday. Everybody flipped a lid on Greg Schiano telling his team to play hard on the final play while the Giants were kneeling the football. New York coach Tom Coughlin getting all offended made my week. Old guys complaining slays me every time.
San Francisco (-7) at Minnesota: The 49ers are the best team in football. I hate them so much and no I'm not over the playoff loss. The only thing that can keep them from wining the Super Bowl is if Alex Smith starts playing like Alex Smith
Pittsburgh (-4.5) at Oakland: We may have to reevaluate the entire 'Miami is the worst team in football' theory. The Raiders are still the Raiders.
BONUS LSU PICK!
Auburn (+18.5) vs. LSU: I know Auburn just barely beat UL-Monroe but this is LSU's first road game with a new quarterback and we haven't had a Les Miles sets the house on fire during the family BBQ but just orders pizza and everything ends up fine moments in forever. HOLD ON TO YOUR BACKSIDES.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.
Forecast: Fear the replacement referees
Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer