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NFL says lockout of officials has begun

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If it wasn’t clear given the circumstances, it’s clear now:  The NFL has locked out its game officials.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello informs PFT that the lockout has commenced.  “They advised us in March of their intention to take a strike vote and their plans to drag out the negotiations until late summer,” Aiello said.

By taking the initiative, the NFL can proceed with plans for identifying and training replacements, without being backed into a corner by a late-August walkout.

The effort to line up replacements also clarifies something about which there was some speculation during the player lockout last year.  Even if the work stoppage is initiated by the employer, the employer can hire replacements.

Of course, the NFLRA could now try to take the league to court, either to block the hiring of replacements or, if the NFLRA decertifies (more accurately, “disclaims interest”) and the individual officials file an antitrust claim, like the players did in 2011.

That could be a more challenging task for the officials, since they are hired not by the 32 separate business that make up by the NFL but by the NFL to provide services to the 32 businesses.

Regardless, the league’s latest labor dispute officially has begun.  Ed Hochuli and company are locked out.  Barring a deal or a court order, the league will be using a new set of men in black (and white) once the 2012 season begins.

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57 Responses to “NFL says lockout of officials has begun”
  1. cags777 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:01 PM

    Great. The last time replacements were brought in, they botched a bunch of calls in the regular season. I suppose they’re no better than the officials in there right now cheering on specific teams – even with instant replay.

  2. cdanczak says: Jun 4, 2012 3:02 PM

    The NFL should adopt a new theme song. Something more closely resembling the theme of Ringling Bros, Barnum and Bailey Circus might be more fitting these days.

  3. trbowman says: Jun 4, 2012 3:05 PM

    No more Ed Hochuli and Gene Steratore? The horror!

  4. pleasantsurpriselefty says: Jun 4, 2012 3:06 PM

    This is a fight the officials can’t win. All the league has to do is put their people in the pressbox with replay capability, increase the number of challenges for the coaches and voila you have a better system than you had with the “real” officials.

    I will miss Ed Hochuli’s abs though.

  5. steelybills says: Jun 4, 2012 3:07 PM

    Temporary relief of Tom Brady favoritism?

  6. zoidenflak says: Jun 4, 2012 3:07 PM

    …maybe they’ll find a bunch of guys who can agree on what “holding” is…

  7. silverhornet says: Jun 4, 2012 3:07 PM

    Now they just need to throw away the key.

  8. footballrulz says: Jun 4, 2012 3:08 PM

    So, do you think the refs will hold their own “off-season workouts?”

  9. purplehayseuss says: Jun 4, 2012 3:10 PM

    Maybe the NFL will hire the guys that played Refs in The Replacements.

    At least those guys didn’t make any asinine calls that altered whole game outcomes.

  10. breadslicer says: Jun 4, 2012 3:12 PM

    You’re not going to out-lawyer the NFL.

    That much should be pretty clear by now.

  11. moseszd says: Jun 4, 2012 3:15 PM

    Eh. I doubt the replacements could be worse…

  12. ttoptom says: Jun 4, 2012 3:18 PM

    Hochuli and Goodell should arm-wrestle for it. Winner writes the contract.

  13. schmitty2 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:19 PM

    I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell Hochuli that

  14. p4hbiz says: Jun 4, 2012 3:23 PM

    Cool! Maybe the replacement refs won’t flag my Raiders as much.

    The old refs still have a bounty out on us, not cool guy’s.

  15. andyreidcarboload says: Jun 4, 2012 3:24 PM

    A 9 billion dollar industry and the fate of the games may be decided on replacement officials. Let that sink in.

    ::Million Dollar Mans WWF theme song starts playing::

  16. saints25 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:29 PM

    NFL is all about its money,an you cant have any..Used to be a time when players,refs an owners used to get along.

  17. abailey16 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:29 PM

    Is anybody else sick of the word “lockout”?

  18. emaimo80 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:33 PM

    The only thing that upsets me is if Jerome Boger is not an official this year. Fie yawd penalty on da de fenthh!!!!

  19. JaminJake says: Jun 4, 2012 3:34 PM

    This could be interesting. I mean, how many of the Refs are lawyers?

  20. tommytd says: Jun 4, 2012 3:34 PM

    The replacements couldn’t do any worse than the knuckleheads that just walked. Better get ’em started reading that rulebook and all the addenda…on second thought it might be easier reading War & Peace! LOL

  21. 4thandnone says: Jun 4, 2012 3:35 PM

    maybe the owners will be able to get the cities they play in to pay the salaries of the officials. They get them to pay for most of the stadiums, why not get them to pay for everything ?

  22. jakek2 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:36 PM

    If the NFL took an unrecognizable sliver of the BILLIONS it gained from the players in the new CBA and gave it to the refs, there would be no reason to lock out the refs.

    If this doesn’t show you folks how utterly greedy the NFL is, nothing will.

    I’m convinced that Goodell was cut from his 8th grade flag football team and pledged that day to ruin any and all football he’d ever come across. FYI to the blind followers, he’s succeeding!

  23. nineroutsider says: Jun 4, 2012 3:37 PM

    I know a lot of you are saying “big deal” and “throw away the key” which I get and agree with somewhat, but I saw the replacement officials in action live the last time it happened and they are far worse. I do think they need to permanently lockout Carey’s crew though and perhaps Corolla’s crew as well. Whoever did the Lions/9ers game last year was the absolute worst (Carey I believe).

    The league needs to get these guys back and I know most of this is all about leverage; I truly hope they don’t use replacements at all.

    On the plus side, I got a kick out of the stuff the union guys were yelling at the officials during the game I saw with replacement officials…even if you hate unions you would have been cracking up, it almost made it worth while until the phantom calls started…

  24. iambadkid says: Jun 4, 2012 3:38 PM

    who cares about the nfl, the nfl takes money away from everybody i told you, even if the regular season is canceled i have hardcore pawn to watch.

  25. patthepatriot666 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:39 PM

    Just don’t hire the NBA refs as replacements!

  26. jvelasco21 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:41 PM

    Ed Hochuli needs an explanation

  27. jakek2 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:43 PM

    Good luck finding decent replacements. This isn’t like finding player replacements.

    Replacement players had nothing to lose become scabs.

    Refs have similar paying jobs and their chances at ever reaching the show will be crushed if they become scabs. They likely won’t be welcomed back to college by their peers either. It’s not worth the few months of similar pay to be a scab.

    Wakey wakey. The 9 billion dollar NFL will be officiated by D-2 refs if the NFL is so lucky.

    Another Goodell abomination.

  28. govtminion says: Jun 4, 2012 3:45 PM

    “Can you figure out how to call a catch in the end zone properly?”

    “…caught the ball, both feet down inside the line, right?”

    “Hmmm… you got that right… I don’t think we can really use you, but thanks for coming in. NEXT! Bring the blind guy in here, I have a good feeling about him.”

  29. daysend564 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:53 PM

    If they agree to ditch their normal jobs and not treat this as a week-end hobby for 1/3 of the year, give them more money.

    If they hire now, anybody with half a brain would be able to be as familiar with the rules as most of what is out there. Just think if they have a year to familiarize. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about only hearing about how catching the ball isn’t actually a catch. They would be forced to conferences and they would all know what is what (perhaps that’s just a dream).

  30. steel9456 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:02 PM

    The NFL’s greed keeps getting worse. I will not watch Scab Refs just as I would not watch scab players. Now let the “I will do it for half the money” idiots start commenting. You fools could not Ref a youth flag football game.

  31. khmer379 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:06 PM

    Hire ref that dont favor certain team and players sincerely every NFL fans

  32. patriots123456 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:07 PM

    Promote the cheerleaders.

    Give them a whistle.

    Who cares if they blow a few calls. At least they would be fun to watch.

  33. daysend564 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:15 PM

    NFL officials salary range from $27,000-70,000 per year. Not too shabby for 48 hours worth of work a season.

  34. simonwelds says: Jun 4, 2012 4:20 PM

    They need to take the nba refs with them!!

  35. thefiesty1 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:21 PM

    When I was much younger I officiated high school football. It’s not a cakewalk at that level. I can’t imagine how difficult it is at the NFL level. Replacements? Good luck with that. Everyone will be unhappy with ALL the calls.

  36. spartan822 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:24 PM

    This is going to get ugly. The refs are already bad. The replacement refs will be even worse.

  37. meytonpanning says: Jun 4, 2012 4:25 PM

    Is it wrong that Hochuli reminds me of Robin Williams?

  38. spartan822 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:28 PM

    daysend564 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:15 PM

    NFL officials salary range from $27,000-70,000 per year. Not too shabby for 48 hours worth of work a season.
    48 hours is not even close to the amount of work the refs do. There are many hours of training and testing in order to be an NFL official.

  39. jakek2 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:35 PM

    daysend564 says:
    Jun 4, 2012 4:15 PM
    NFL officials salary range from $27,000-70,000 per year. Not too shabby for 48 hours worth of work a season.
    No wonder the officiating sucks. These guys have to work real jobs to make ends meet. If the NFL paid them a full time salary, they can focus on their craft. By the way, if there are 200 officials (way conservative guess) and they paid each $150,000 (way conservative)….The NFL would be out an overstated maximum of $30,000,000. This is peanuts and this is all that it would take to fix the officiating aspect of a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Keep siding with the owners though.

  40. clintonite44 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:49 PM

    zoidenflak says:
    Jun 4, 2012 3:07 PM
    …maybe they’ll find a bunch of guys who can agree on what “holding” is…


    It would be BEST if they could figure out what an actual pass reception looks like! Shouldn’t have to follow a receiver into the tunnel to find out if he’s still holding a ball. That’s really stupid!

  41. schmitty2 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:51 PM

    p4hbiz says:Jun 4, 2012 3:23 PM

    Cool! Maybe the replacement refs won’t flag my Raiders as much.

    The old refs still have a bounty out on us, not cool guy’s.

    Maybe you can tell your team to stop committing blatant penalties and being near the league lead in them like they have for the last 3 decades

  42. lovefootball4life says: Jun 4, 2012 4:52 PM

    “Can you figure out how to call a catch in the end zone properly?”

    “…caught the ball, both feet down inside the line, right?”

    “Hmmm… you got that right… I don’t think we can really use you, but thanks for coming in. NEXT! Bring the blind guy in here, I have a good feeling about him.”
    That’s funny. It would be nice if we went back to being that simple. Now it is

    “…caught the ball, both feet down inside the line, maintained control, ball is not moving, didn’t lose the ball when hit the ground..”

  43. discosucs2005 says: Jun 4, 2012 4:56 PM

    With the first labor dispute, I was kind of like “eh, two sides to every story.” now that we are on labor dispute number 2, I’m starting to see the NFL as the common denominator. It’s really hard to have any sort of patience for this kind of thing when fans and cities are contributing so much money.

    And for the people who don’t thing there will be a difference between replacements, I assure you that will not be the case. Would you expect equal quality performance from replacement players? If not don’t expect so from refs. I hate refs too, but I have a feeling if this gets dragged into the season, we’ll all hate refs a lot more.

  44. bsizemore68 says: Jun 4, 2012 5:05 PM

    The problem with SCAB replacement is they are a cancer to pro football, they show the NFL for what they really about, rich owners who just want more money, the chief former scab in NO is out for a year, this is what a scab will do, stab you in the back, the players if they weren’t so rich they might set out any game that has scabs in it, scabs are a cancer, they would screw there mother for a scab job. Bill

  45. borisbulldog says: Jun 4, 2012 5:06 PM

    Can any of the replacement refs be any worse then Jeff Triplette?

  46. jonasgrumbyoftx says: Jun 4, 2012 5:11 PM

    Don’t worry. NFL Management will kill the NFL by the end of the decade … after they soak as much money out of it as they can.

  47. b3nz0z says: Jun 4, 2012 5:18 PM

    i’m no business guru, but isn’t it a really bad sign for a company to have separate labor disputes culminating in lockouts in consecutive years?

  48. bigzant82 says: Jun 4, 2012 5:19 PM

    we all know what this mean wirth replacement ref EXPECT ALOT BAD CALLS
    those this mean the Jets or Browns have a shot at the Super Bowl?

  49. bucfandango says: Jun 4, 2012 5:24 PM

    Do you really need officials at all? How about some old fashioned Kill the man with the Ball?

  50. northeastkiller says: Jun 4, 2012 5:39 PM

    All this free time suddenly on his hands, Hochuli’s going to have to run around giving random citizens tickets to the gun show.

  51. thrstr says: Jun 4, 2012 6:14 PM

    it’s not like there a thirty cameras running for every game to make sure everything is called correctly, – oh wait . . .

  52. pgh75 says: Jun 4, 2012 6:15 PM

    I believe the only lawyer that is an official is Holchuli.

  53. bearsstillsuck says: Jun 4, 2012 6:37 PM

    A season with scab officials and scab players would of been chaos and amazing to watch.

  54. foosballisthedevil says: Jun 4, 2012 7:09 PM

    Mike Pereira

  55. cowboyscanada says: Jun 4, 2012 7:40 PM

    Can the NFL get any more out of control?

    Its getting pretty sick hearing the garbage that is coming out of this league. Ppl just want to watch football and not be constantly picking sides between lawyers for the NFL, defendants, etc etc etc… Get your S**t together NFL!!

  56. rayguyreturns says: Jun 4, 2012 8:54 PM

    Would love to see these guys walking a picket line. Can you imagine the abuse they would take? It would make the actual game look like a cake walk for them.

  57. pftstory says: Jun 4, 2012 9:07 PM

    Its not a simple job that anyone can do. But I also d not believe making it a year round job with year round pay is going to make it so they have all this time to “work on their craft.” They really going to spend 40 hours a week during the off season reviewing film and doing drills? Ain’t gonna happen. For those talking pay scale. The number on the check is not the only form of pay. They are going to want pensions (based on that annual number) health insurance, 401K, disability…..
    The biggest comment is how the replacements cant be any worse. Well that should be the argument. How about give the refs more money if the league makes it easier to get rid of the ones that stink? The ones that are out of position, or who can’t keep up with a lineman returning a fumble, or the ones wth a history of blown/missed calls.
    Sure they have other full time jobs. But if they cannot commit the time to the second job to do it well, they should lose the second job (or not take it in the first place). The first job should not be a crutch to explain why you suck as a ref.
    How many people can tell their night job that the reason they suck at it is because of their day job and see the night time boss say “oh OK.?”

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