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NFL, officials head to federal mediation

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With the labor agreement between the NFL and its game officials expiring in less than a week, pro football will be heading back to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, in the hopes of working out a new deal before a lockout or a strike.

Via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the FMCS announced on Thursday that the league and the officials’ union have accepted an offer to submit their labor dispute to mediation, an informal process where the mediator has no power over the parties, other than possibly the power of persuasion.

The NFL’s labor dispute with players went to the FMCS before the lockout began.  Once a federal antitrust lawsuit was filed against the league, it made more sense to conduct mediation within the confines of the litigation, for a variety of reasons (including the reality that mediation conducted under the umbrella of a lawsuit generally helps keep the parties in line, since the mediator has a pipeline to the judge).

The NFL already has commenced the process of lining up replacements, something the NFL did 11 years ago.  Today, however, with unprecedented focus on player safety (and increased burdens on officials to spot possible concussions), an effort to replace the officials could be extremely controversial, especially in light of the current relationship between the NFL and NFLPA.

Especially if the officials strike — and if the players are inclined to respect their picket line.

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22 Responses to “NFL, officials head to federal mediation”
  1. sportsmeccabi says: May 25, 2012 8:42 AM

    I bet the league is trying to get rid of some of the crappy officials and the rest of the officials are protecting them.

  2. pftcensorssuck says: May 25, 2012 8:45 AM

    Do these morons REALLY think we can’t live without their horrible officiating?

    REALLY???????

  3. gweez76 says: May 25, 2012 8:51 AM

    Nah, just put it in the hands of Mara and Goodell.

    They’re honorable men. They’d never do anything to screw people over.

    Just in case though, put your wallet in your front pocket and don’t let either one get behind you…

  4. baddegg says: May 25, 2012 8:57 AM

    The NFL has disputes with everyone — the players union, the officials, and even screwed 2 of their own owners (Washington and Dallas). You just get the sense that they are a bunch of rich aholes who don’t want to deal fair with anyone. I love the NFL the way it is, but at a certain point I wouldn’t mind if Congress just took away their anti-trust protection and forced them to operate like they lived in a true world of competitive capitalism.

  5. highonluck says: May 25, 2012 9:03 AM

    If this about officiating. All sports but the NFL have it worse off. The NFL has replays, challenges, and all kinds of personnel on the field to just make sure the game is played properly. Players/Coaches will always complain. Ref’s being human will always blow a call. At least it is not the NBA, where the ref can T up and toss individuals for too much lip on the court. Could you imagine your starting QB or LB getting thrown out?

    If this is a matter of payment, or benefits after retirement. Suck it up, those ref’s are lucky to be where they are on this platform of professional sports. Replacements can and will be used against you.

  6. clintonportisheadd says: May 25, 2012 9:03 AM

    pftcensorssuck says: May 25, 2012 8:45 AM

    Do these morons REALLY think we can’t live without their horrible officiating?

    ——————–

    REALLY??????

    In this day and age one would assume most pro sports viewers (in person and on TV) would have come to have a better appreciation of the demands placed on these folks. It appears some here have not…

    The NFL player is faster, bigger, and smarter than 10 years ago-never mind 30 or 50 years ago. Same for the NBA. Between having to know and enforce the rules, keeping “control” of the game, looking for medical issues, and dealing with the emotions of coaches and players (whose future employment could hinge on winning a particular game) I would have to state it is not something I would want to do. Nor would many other people.

    For NFL officials, like the rest of pro sports officials, it’s basically a full time job, without the title of being full time employees by the league. During the week leading up to the weekend’s games the officials have other jobs like being lawyers or financial advisors, but still have duties with the NFL. During the season this can be mean working five days a week, flying out Saturday to the city where you are calling a game, then after Sunday’s game on a flight back to your hometown where you begin the process all over again.

    Given all of the above it is sad to still see people have such a knee jerk reaction to any story involving these people.

  7. anarchopurplism says: May 25, 2012 9:06 AM

    Given how much money is generated and how much attention (often negative) is given, its really odd that these guys are part timers.

    Coaches and players review tape…..how many hours of film study do these guys do?

  8. wallacebillingham says: May 25, 2012 9:17 AM

    the NFL would have a lot more leverage here if they had not pushed for the sanctions against the Skins and the Boys. Now they have the players union all up in arms also.

    I hope all this was worth it for Mara to get an unfair advantage in the NFC East.

  9. rmc1995 says: May 25, 2012 9:20 AM

    This is why the league won’t go full-time. The so called refs union is about as weak as it gets. Most of these guys have full-time jobs outside of the NFL. I doubt the players will find solidarity with a guy like Hochuli who has to watch football at home with his Law Firm partners rather than make a few thousand dollars reffing a game. So replacement refs won’t cause players to get all union sentimental.

    If they become full time refs then real money and livelyhoods will be at stake. Then the union becomes legit, then crossing a picket line could be a problem for the players.

  10. stanklepoot says: May 25, 2012 9:30 AM

    anarchopurplism says: May 25, 2012 9:06 AM

    Given how much money is generated and how much attention (often negative) is given, its really odd that these guys are part timers.

    Coaches and players review tape…..how many hours of film study do these guys do?
    _________________________________
    I’m guessing most refs take their jobs pretty seriously. If they make a major blunder, then they end up a national joke. Then you have the more unhinged fans who think it’s perfectly acceptable to threaten people, as long as they think they can do it anonymously. Seriously, these guys take enough grief for making a call the way it’s written in the rule book, despite the fact they have no control over what the rules are…and I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly don’t want refs deciding what rules will or will not be enforced. Now, as for refereeing being a part-time position, that’s the NFL’s fault. They could have made it a permanent position any time they wanted, as well as setting up classes for them to make sure they were completely up to date on any and all rules. The League doesn’t, however, because that would be more expensive, and would give refs more leverage.

  11. hystoracle says: May 25, 2012 9:39 AM

    Does the L in NFL now stand for Litigation? The NFL spends more time in a courtroom these days than on the field.

  12. dexterismyhero says: May 25, 2012 9:46 AM

    I think they should get paid as much as Drew Brees.

  13. rufustfireflyjr says: May 25, 2012 9:46 AM

    anarchopurplism says:
    May 25, 2012 9:06 AM
    “Given how much money is generated and how much attention (often negative) is given, its really odd that these guys are part timers.”

    It’s not odd at all. Most of these guys are successful, fairly well-paid and highly respected members of whatever other profession they pursue (lawyers, business owners, college athletic directors and the like). The reason for this, I believe, is that the NFL knows that the more successful and highly-placed someone is in his profession, the more they would have to lose if they were caught accepting a bribe from a gambler to throw a game, and, therefore, the less likely they would be to do so. The league would have to pay regular folks a lot of money to achieve a similar deterrent effect, and they don’t want to do that.

  14. malee2 says: May 25, 2012 10:07 AM

    REALLY??????

    In this day and age one would assume most pro sports viewers (in person and on TV) would have come to have a better appreciation of the demands placed on these folks. It appears some here have not…

    The NFL player is faster, bigger, and smarter than 10 years ago-never mind 30 or 50 years ago. Same for the NBA. Between having to know and enforce the rules, keeping “control” of the game, looking for medical issues, and dealing with the emotions of coaches and players (whose future employment could hinge on winning a particular game) I would have to state it is not something I would want to do. Nor would many other people.

    For NFL officials, like the rest of pro sports officials, it’s basically a full time job, without the title of being full time employees by the league. During the week leading up to the weekend’s games the officials have other jobs like being lawyers or financial advisors, but still have duties with the NFL. During the season this can be mean working five days a week, flying out Saturday to the city where you are calling a game, then after Sunday’s game on a flight back to your hometown where you begin the process all over again.

    Given all of the above it is sad to still see people have such a knee jerk reaction to any story involving these people.

    __________________________________________

    This guy must be an official, look ma, they are talking about me!

  15. vtsquirm says: May 25, 2012 10:12 AM

    If this is a matter of payment, or benefits after retirement. Suck it up, those ref’s are lucky to be where they are on this platform of professional sports. Replacements can and will be used against you.

    _________________________
    Good point… i’ll take it a little further. NOBODY is paying to see officials. They pay to see the players. So get over yourselves. You are back office administrators that can be easily replaced.

  16. pftcensorssuck says: May 25, 2012 10:19 AM

    clintonportisheadd says:May 25, 2012 9:03 AM

    REALLY??????

    In this day and age one would assume most pro sports viewers (in person and on TV) would have come to have a better appreciation of the demands placed on these folks. It appears some here have not…

    The NFL player is faster, bigger, and smarter than 10 years ago-never mind 30 or 50 years ago. Same for the NBA. Between having to know and enforce the rules, keeping “control” of the game, looking for medical issues, and dealing with the emotions of coaches and players (whose future employment could hinge on winning a particular game) I would have to state it is not something I would want to do. Nor would many other people.

    For NFL officials, like the rest of pro sports officials, it’s basically a full time job, without the title of being full time employees by the league. During the week leading up to the weekend’s games the officials have other jobs like being lawyers or financial advisors, but still have duties with the NFL. During the season this can be mean working five days a week, flying out Saturday to the city where you are calling a game, then after Sunday’s game on a flight back to your hometown where you begin the process all over again.

    Given all of the above it is sad to still see people have such a knee jerk reaction to any story involving these people.
    ———————————————————-

    Wow…….. either you are an NFL referee yourself, or you’ve never actually watched an NFL game in your life.

    There is a huge cry for the NFL to hire fulltime officials, because these “lawyers and financial advisors” blow call after call; some not so important, and others that cost teams playoff spots.

    Or have you never read one of the countless articles here expressing the need for full-time “professional” referees???

    By the way, other than “lawyers”, is there ANY profession with a worse reputation than “financial advisor” these days????

    Haven’t we spent BILLIONS bailing “financial advisors” out for their monumental screwups and greed the past five years?

  17. savocabol1 says: May 25, 2012 10:19 AM

    Here is another case of it doesn’t matter.

    The games will still be played each week.

    The fans will still watch.

  18. daysend564 says: May 25, 2012 10:50 AM

    It’s quite simple.

    NFL – give them more of what they are asking.

    In turn…

    Refs, make this your ONLY job, and not something you do in your spare time of being a lawyer, etc.

  19. clintonportisheadd says: May 25, 2012 11:07 AM

    pftcensorssuck—

    I never said there was no need for “full time” or “professional” game officials. Given the huge revenues the NFL generates they can certainly afford them. But it would take a while to get that in place-many of these current officials make much more in their “day job” than the NFL would pay and many more would never dream of being a full time NFL “employee”. It would take 3-5 years to recruit and train a new type of official while phasing out the current group.

    Given that the above scenario should scare any fan, coach, player, or NFL suit why not just settle with the group they have now?

    As far as the “they blow every call, what a bunch of bums, they can all quit and no one would know the difference” morons out there (and you know who you are!) I am not an official. Or know one, married to one, or related to one.

  20. macwomack says: May 25, 2012 11:29 AM

    Too bad for the officials union John Mara doesn’t have anything to say on this topic.

  21. skolvikesskol says: May 25, 2012 12:33 PM

    Honestly, we do have the best and most scrutinized officiating in the major sports. Referee influence in the NBA is staggering, each game is different and the refs seem to feel a need to be a part of the game (or fix the game). Each MLB ump calls their own completely different game, with different rules and different strike zones – the most important part of the game is different every game! And the there’s ice boxing – er, I mean ice hockey… nuff said. No other sports referee takes lumps more than NFL referees for blown calls. There seem to be only a handful that regularly blow it like Scott Green, Hoch was good until that sd/den game, then he has seemed to lost his touch and of course McCrarey who is just inconsistent… other than that, they do a pretty good job for sport where you could call a penalty every single play.

    As far as full time refs… great idea! Their job is dangerous, has the most rules of any sport, has ever changing rules, has replay to double check their work and again the most BRUTAL and regular criticisms of any sport.

    I know I wrote a lot, but the last few years I started handicapping refs. It has helped my wagering winnings quite a bit.

  22. granadafan says: May 25, 2012 4:05 PM

    Maybe the refs could all quit en masse. That’ll show ole Roger. Worked well for the baseball umps, eh?

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