At times during Sunday’s 31-28 loss in St. Louis, where post-whistle shoves, scrums and trash talk often went unchecked by replacement referees, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that he worried the volatile atmosphere would boil over.
“I’ve never been in a situation where you felt that there was going to be an explosion on the field,” Shanahan said. “You’re hoping it doesn’t happen. It didn’t happen but I thought it was very close to losing control.”
With the members of the NFL referee’s association locked out by the league in a dispute about pay and benefits, replacement referees worked the preseason and Weeks 1 and 2 of the regular season schedule.
Asked if the absence of “first string” referees contributed to the mayhem at Edward Jones Dome, Shanahan said: “You have to keep control of what’s going on the field. Once you get used to doing something, you get very used to making calls, [it’s] second nature, you go about your business. Sometimes when you don’t make those calls right away people do lose their composure.”