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Is it just me or did the referees get friendlier? Too friendly?

One of many experimental iterations ...

Blackjack

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I remember watching an Outside the Lines special on ESPN after the Tim Donaghy scandal about how today's referees in the NBA were too friendly with the players - hugging/kissing/joking and so on. I never really related it too much to the NFL but this season I've noticed so many things that make it seem as if the referees are too friendly with the players in the NFL. I see them helping star players like Tom Brady and Brett Favre up, patting players on the butt, and helping players put their pads back inside their jerseys.

Has this always been the case? My most vivid memory is of Marcus Washington dancing around and smacking a referee in the ass during the 2005 beatdown of the Cowboys, but the ref remained stoic and ignored him. I don't like seeing the referees being too friendly with any player but maybe I'm just too old school. Maybe it's a sign that Goodell is now in charge?
 

ntotoro

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As many times as I've seen that clip, I can't tell, but did Marcus really smack the Ref or does it just appear that way because of the camera angle... ?
 

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