MINNEAPOLIS -- Here's how much of a joke the NFL's replacement official experiment is now: Replacement referee Ken Roan called an illegal block against the KICKING team a mere seconds into the Minnesota Vikings' game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers were the kicking team in question, and their sideline erupted in protest -- likely pointing out the slight contradiction in suggesting that a team kicking off would be blocking in the first place. Roan marked off the penalty against the 49ers before calling for a huddle among officials.
It's not clear if Roan meant to call the penalty on the Vikings, who as the RECEIVING team were no doubt doing their best to block, or if officials were confused during the play about who should be blocking and who should be getting off of blocks.
So Roan called it even, announcing that "by rule, there is no flag on the play."
No analysis is necessary here. After a weeks discussing the inadequacy of the NFL's contingency plan for an extended labor impasse, Roan's crew opened Week 3 with the most basic of mistakes. At least they corrected it, but still.