The NFL said it has been generally pleased with the performance of replacement officials. They were not pleased Sunday, however, to see one of them wearing New Orleans Saints apparel on his Facebook page – hours before he was supposed to be part of the crew for the game between New Orleans and the Carolina Panthers.
ESPN first noticed that side judge Brian Stropolo had posted pictures of himself at a tailgate party during a Saints exhibition game. When Stropolo, who worked the New York Giants’ opener on Sept. 5, posted a note saying that he was working the Saints game Sunday, it drew comments like, “Hey, now be nice with those yellow flags for our Saints!!”
When ESPN showed the information to the NFL, the league pulled Stropolo from the crew hours before kickoff, saying it wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety. He was replaced by an alternate official who traveled with the crew. The NFL said it was reviewing of the situation.
“The information disclosed today apparently was not there when our background checks were done from mid-June to mid-July,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said. “Those checks included a review of social media.”
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WHAT, NO HANDSHAKE?
Instead of a handshake, Tom Coughlin had choice words for Greg Schiano.
Schiano, a rookie coach, had his team play hard when the Giants tried to end their 41-34 win over Tampa Bay in East Rutherford, N.J., with a kneel-down. Coughlin screamed at the former Rutgers coach as they met on the field, and even turned around and yelled again when Schiano said something back to him. He seemed to mouth the word “bush.”
Eli Manning, who threw for 510 yards and three TDs for New York, was knocked on his rear on the play in which the interior of the Bucs’ line bull-rushed up the middle.
Manning wasn’t hit by a Bucs player, but the momentum of his line being pushed back sent him down.
“It was a little bit of a cheap shot,” Manning said. “We’re taking a knee in a friendly way and they’re firing off. It’s a good way to get someone hurt.”
Schiano, who spent the previous 11 seasons as coach at Rutgers, defended the play. He refused to say what he and Coughlin discussed.
“I don’t know if that’s something not done in the National Football League,” Schiano said. “What I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us ‘game over.’ There’s nothing dirty about it. There’s not illegal about it. We crowd the ball. It’s like a sneak defense and we try to knock it loose.”
AMENDOLA’S BIG DAY
Danny Amendola of the St. Louis Rams tied an NFL record with 12 receptions in the first half against the Washington Redskins.
The reception total tied a record set by the Colts’ Reggie Wayne in 2007. Amendola, undrafted out of Texas Tech, finished with career highs of 15 catches for 160 yards.
Amendola, who missed virtually all of last season after injuring his elbow in the opener, also had a 1-yard touchdown reception, rebounding after his fumble on the Rams’ first snap was returned for a touchdown by Josh Wilson.
FROM SICK BAY
Versatile New England tight end Aaron Hernandez hurt his right ankle in the first quarter of the Patriots’ 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Hernandez left Gillette Stadium wearing a walking boot and carrying crutches, and the Patriots gave no update. … Things could be a little different next week for Jacksonville, which lost quarterback Blaine Gabbert to an injured left hamstring in a 27-7 loss to Houston. Coach Mike Mularkey was unsure if Gabbert will play next week against Indianapolis.