League benches replacement ref

Coaches' rumble: Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano (left) and New York's Tom Coughlin get in each other's face.
Coaches' rumble: Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano (left) and New York's Tom Coughlin get in each other's face. (AP)
Posted: September 17, 2012

Another week, another replacement ref controversy, and we're not talking about the suspect officiating during Sunday's Eagles-Ravens brawl at Lincoln Financial Field.

The NFL on Sunday removed a replacement official from the New Orleans-Carolina game because it discovered he's a Saints fan. Side judge Brian Stropolo was replaced by alternate Tim Keese just hours before kickoff Sunday morning.

"He was replaced because of the information that surfaced disclosing that he is a Saints fan," league spokesman Michael Signora said.

The league will look further into the matter. It received several phone calls and e-mails about Stropolo, who is from New Orleans and posted several photos of himself in Saints gear tailgating at a preseason game on his Facebook page. Stropolo's Facebook page has since been taken down.

Stropolo worked in a nationally televised opener between the Cowboys and the defending champion Giants.

In the end, the Saints could've used some friendly calls: They lost, 35-27, to fall to 0-2.

Coughlin vs. Schiano

Instead of a handshake after Sunday's game, Giants coach Tom Coughlin had choice words for the Buccaneers' Greg Schiano.

The rookie coach had his team play hard when the Giants tried to end their 41-34 win over Tampa Bay with a traditional 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."

"I don't think you do that," Coughlin said after the game. "You jeopardize the O-line, you jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn't get anybody hurt - that I know of. A couple of linemen were late coming in."

Eli Manning, who threw for 510 yards and three touchdowns, was knocked on his rear end 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 last 11 seasons coach at Rutgers, defended the play. He refused to say what Coughlin and he 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 [nothing] illegal about it. We crowd the ball. It's like a sneak defense, and we try to knock it loose.

"If people watched Rutgers, they would know that's what we did at the end of the game. We're not going to quit."

Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck said there is no protocol for that type of play.

"It won't be forgotten," he added.

Amendola's great day

The Rams' Danny Amendola, an undrafted wide receiver out of Texas Tech, had 12 receptions in the first half Sunday against the Redskins to tie the NFL record set by the Colts' Reggie Wayne in 2007.

Amendola, who caught five passes for 70 yards in the opener, finished the game with 15 catches for 160 yards and a 1-yard touchdown reception. The four-year veteran missed virtually all of last season after injuring his elbow in the opener.

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.

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