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NFL will start hiring, training replacement officials this month


The NFL has confirmed that it will begin hiring and training replacement officials this month after talks broke down on a new contract with the current group of officials.

“Negotiations with the NFL Referees Association on a new collective bargaining agreement remain unresolved and the previous CBA has expired,” the league said in a statement. “Therefore, in order to ensure that there is no disruption to NFL games this season we will proceed immediately with the hiring and training of replacement officials.”

Regional training sessions for replacement officials will begin in June, the league said, in an effort to have the replacement officials ready to go if a deal with the regular refs is still unresolved when the regular season starts.

“Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of officiating for our teams, players, and fans, including proper enforcement of the playing rules and efficient management of our games,” the league said in its statement.

The NFL’s previous six-year agreement with its officials expired this year. Although negotiations on a new CBA with the officials began in October, progress remains slow.

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70 Responses to “NFL will start hiring, training replacement officials this month”
  1. feck12a says: Jun 4, 2012 12:03 PM

    hopefully they hire some guys under the age of 103 who have the balls to make a tough call. I doubt this will actually happen anyway…I’m sure the nfl is bluffing.

  2. jimbobobjr says: Jun 4, 2012 12:04 PM

    Good. They can’t possibly be worse. Last time replacements were used, I believe it was for just for week 1, the number of flags thrown was down. It was so refreshing not seeing a flag on every play. Bring on the new guys permanently!

  3. mjbulls45 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:06 PM

    and it always comes back to that tuck rule

  4. dirtydrynn27 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:09 PM

    Look for tons of bad calls and missed calls,Oh wait we already have that!!!!

  5. steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing says: Jun 4, 2012 12:09 PM

    Grooming them for corruption…

  6. turgidsen says: Jun 4, 2012 12:11 PM

    How does one apply?

  7. lafan85 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:11 PM

    Think this threat will make the officials sign?

  8. snowpea84 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    It’s always great to watch a union be put in their place.

  9. joetoronto says: Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    I hope this is serious and not just posturing.

    I’m afraid it’s just posturing though.

  10. ukgiants91 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    If anything we could get more correct calls because the guys coming in would want to get it right there maybe keeping a job instead of taking there job for granted, i see this as a good thing

  11. truthfactory says: Jun 4, 2012 12:14 PM

    I love when guys feel like they are too good and irreplaceable… right up to the moment they realize that they are in fact about to be replaced…

    I’d imagine the Refs will cave in shortly. They have no bargaining power… they’re already terrible… How much worse can the next group of guys do??

  12. southpaw2k says: Jun 4, 2012 12:15 PM

    Where exactly do they plan on hiring these officials from if they’re not going to take guys away from the BCS? The CFL? The Arena League?

  13. albanyhawker says: Jun 4, 2012 12:16 PM

    Ahhh yes, Bill Leavy, the poster-boy for bad officiating!

  14. rickyrich14 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:17 PM

    and the Raiders will still get screwed by them!

  15. dvdman123 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:17 PM

    I mean come on do these really think they have any leverage? I could do just as good a job.

  16. 7ransponder says: Jun 4, 2012 12:20 PM

    This has got to be a good thing! These refs are dumb, I don’t think they realize how replaceable they are, especially when they have been so horrible lately.

  17. pooflingingmonkey says: Jun 4, 2012 12:21 PM

    Remember when the MLB Umpires thought they were “all that and a bag of chips”? How’d that work out for them?

  18. PFTiswhatitis says: Jun 4, 2012 12:22 PM

    Hire full-time non-union refs and be done with it!

  19. mavajo says: Jun 4, 2012 12:24 PM

    I so hope this happens. It’ll finally put an end to all the ridiculous “These refs suck!” nonsense.

    95% of the knuckle-draggers whining about the officials probably couldn’t even accurately explain the “down by contact” rule — but they think they know the rules better than the officials.

  20. dumbolt says: Jun 4, 2012 12:24 PM

    there is only one prerequisite…

    you have to hate the raiders, and when officiating their games you must be willing to call offensive holding when they are moving the ball downfield, and when they are on defense on third and long plays you have to call pass interference everytime.

  21. clintonportisheadd says: Jun 4, 2012 12:26 PM

    And for all the yahoos out there who complain about the officials the NFL has now (“They miss half the calls” “They are just awful!” etc etc) wait until the scabs show up.

    I suggest folks go back to 2009 when the NBA actually tried doing this-even hiring back some former NBA refs who had been fired in previous years for poor performance. The fans were upset by the CONSTANT whistles, coaches and players were warned by King Stern that ANY comment about the lack of quality in officiating would be massively fined (ask Larry Brown who had to cough up $60K for pointing out the obvious), and Charles Barkley commented it would take 5 replacements to equal one regular locked out ref.

    So if you don’t think there are enough penalties now (and there can’t be that many of you) sit back and enjoy the show. 3 hour games will now run an extra half hour at a minimum.

    And the plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuits must be loving this. The NFL made a great big deal of announcing their new concussion procedures and made the refs the “first line of defense” in spotting players whose behavior was symptomatic and needed to come out. These replacement guys will have enough problems just keeping track of the down! Who is giving Goodell legal advice these days Vinny Gambini?

  22. lucky5934 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:26 PM

    Does the NFL ever do anything in a timely manner? I mean how many CBAs are they going to let expire and not renew until it affects the season? You would think they would have learned from last summer.

  23. bobbyhoying says: Jun 4, 2012 12:28 PM

    Can’t blame the legacy refs. Why would they want to give up manipulating point spreads if the NFL has requested that? Let’s make the new guys take random polygraphs that the’re not bought by third parties.

  24. dspyank2k11 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:30 PM

    Does this mean that Ed Hochuli is going to try out for the WWE now?

  25. flapjackdaddy says: Jun 4, 2012 12:30 PM

    Hell they might be better.

  26. time2speakup says: Jun 4, 2012 12:31 PM

    I’m a “glass half full” type who sees this as an excellent opportunity to finally, once and for all, correct an “old as the hills” wrong. The only people doing this work should be those for whom this is their ONLY Day Job. Go back to square one and seize this opportunity to finally get it right. And that should include hiring roughly 5 to 6 of those “outgoing” guys (with a stipulation) because a few of them were above adequate.

  27. mediasloppy says: Jun 4, 2012 12:31 PM

    snowpea84 says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    It’s always great to watch a union be put in their place.

    When did anti-union become popular. I remember as a kid people won cars on game shows and actually turned them down, because they were not union made.

  28. tommccrossin says: Jun 4, 2012 12:31 PM

    Just get rid of Jeff Triplett and you’ll hear no complaining from me

  29. ijahru says: Jun 4, 2012 12:32 PM

    perfect time to hire full time officials and implement a replay officialin the booth. I always felt the umpires had a lot of power over these two issues. Mike Pereira has made comments in the past alluding to the power officials have.

  30. pkrjones says: Jun 4, 2012 12:33 PM

    5 weeks of classroom (learning the rules)… 5 weeks of training camp/preseason and let’em work.
    If the “experienced” officials don’t want to be part of it, thanks for your prior services… good bye.

  31. reclinerqb says: Jun 4, 2012 12:33 PM

    NFL officiating is bad enough with the regular guys, how much worse does it have to get! I can’t wait until a “scab” official has to try and figure out if it was a catch vs not a catch depending on whether it was on the right sideline or left, in the endzone, near the back if he maintained control or spiked it to early, or whether he had possession before crossing the goal line….heck I dont even know what I am doing anymore….

  32. reclinerqb says: Jun 4, 2012 12:35 PM

    At least Ed Hochuli will have more time to hit the gym….

  33. eagleswin says: Jun 4, 2012 12:38 PM

    Has DeSmith filed a lawsuit over this yet or is his Docket full with his other grievances and lawsuits?

    I’d be surprised if he wasn’t advising Vilma behind the scenes as well since both him and Bree’s were advising Pamphillon on releasing the Williams video help the players case.

  34. iambadkid says: Jun 4, 2012 12:39 PM

    i hope there will be a full nfl season this year

  35. briang123 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:39 PM

    I wish Major League Baseball would do the same thing.

  36. Steeley McBeam says: Jun 4, 2012 12:40 PM

    Hire some young guys who can actually keep up with the players instead of making judgement PI calls from 30 yards away while sprinting to catch up.

  37. patpatriotagain says: Jun 4, 2012 12:41 PM

    for those who think that officiating can’t get worse – have yo watched an MLB or NBA game recently. it can get a lot worse

  38. yssupasigninnamnotyep says: Jun 4, 2012 12:43 PM

    Can’t be any worse than what’s available now…until they have full time officiating it doesn’t really matter.

    But I bet that even with replacement officials the Raiders will still lead the league in penalties…the NFL will definitely teach them that.

  39. cleverbob says: Jun 4, 2012 12:46 PM

    Yes, I’m sure all you armchair referees would do just fine making calls on the fly without the benefit of multiple HD camera angles…

    Not saying the refs are infallible, of course, but some folks need to come back to reality.

  40. jagsfanugh says: Jun 4, 2012 12:46 PM

    How tough is it to make a deal. $100 a game seems fair considering how bad they are.

  41. upperdecker19 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:47 PM

    Heck, these guys are already receiving AARP benefits and social security…..what else can they possibly need?

  42. mancave001 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:49 PM

    If we’re lucky this thing will drag on until Obama pulls a Reagan and fires them all. They would be pimp.

  43. milehigh85 says: Jun 4, 2012 12:53 PM

    Good. Hire some new guys and make them full time just to rub it in to the last group of morons…

  44. bearsrulepackdrool says: Jun 4, 2012 12:56 PM

    I wonder if they hire some former players. That might make things interesting.

  45. t16rich says: Jun 4, 2012 12:57 PM

    Refs suck, Concussions suck, Cowboys suck.

  46. tebowsafraud says: Jun 4, 2012 12:58 PM

    pooflingingmonkey says: Jun 4, 2012 12:21 PM

    Remember when the MLB Umpires thought they were “all that and a bag of chips”? How’d that work out for them?


    Not even a valid comparison. That whole thing was over Bill Madlock and included mass resignations by the umpires.

    A much much better example to look at is the 2009 NBA referee situation. Just like the NFL, they hired and trained replacements as leverage. Unfortunately the real refs would not cave the NBA were forced to actually use them. After a month of the worst officiated games ever seen the NBA gave up and made a deal with the union and sanity was restored.

    For those who think too many flags are thrown NOW, wait until these scabs get into a game. You’ll be lucky to finish a game in 4 hours.

  47. Vegas Guy says: Jun 4, 2012 12:58 PM

    Here’s an idea…

    Hire Officials FULL TIME.

    NFL is so cheap sometimes.

  48. mostlombardisintheleague says: Jun 4, 2012 1:03 PM

    Certain they will train them to look at the sky when Ben gets pummeled eight seconds after he releases the pass, or when Heath Miller gets a direct helmet-to-helmet hit two yards in front of the official.

  49. waldoampere says: Jun 4, 2012 1:07 PM

    Let’s see: Most current refs are getting older, getting slower, and have eye sight that seems to be failing. OK, I’ll do it.

  50. benbilk33 says: Jun 4, 2012 1:13 PM

    If there is no requirement to be built like 62 year old Ed Hochuli then I may be eligible…. sign me up.

  51. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: Jun 4, 2012 1:18 PM

    Lets maybe add a few requirements to the position. Must be under the age of 60 and in good health and have adequate athletic ability. People over 60 can apply if given medical clearance of being in good physical health. Must have good vision (Wearing glasses or contacts is ok), near, far and peripheral. Maybe incorporate a program aimed at re-training and/or refreshing each officials knowledge of the rules before and during every season.

  52. JohnnyRyde says: Jun 4, 2012 1:18 PM

    I remember the last time this happened and the most notable problem (apart from missed calls) was that teams trying to run the two-minute offense simply couldn’t because the officials weren’t getting the ball set quickly enough… I wonder if the training will emphasize that this time…

  53. kane337 says: Jun 4, 2012 1:18 PM

    If you think the refs are horrible now (I don’t think they are) wait until these replacement refs come in and stumble all over themselves trying to learn the NFL rules and screwing up calls more frequently than the normal refs do. This won’t be a pretty outcome. Just pay the damn refs. They don’t make that much anyway. Quit being so cheap NFL.

  54. lucky5934 says: Jun 4, 2012 1:31 PM

    Hire officials full time? What would they do during the week? Ref practices? Study game film? Play golf? I hate to break it to you, but reffing once a week for 4 hours doesn’t equate to a full time job.

  55. timbuttrum says: Jun 4, 2012 1:43 PM

    I’ve missed you so much Phil Luckett. Welcome Back!

  56. tombradysponytail says: Jun 4, 2012 1:59 PM

    I don’t think the movie is going to be as good this time…

  57. shackdelrio says: Jun 4, 2012 1:59 PM

    They should hire Ron Cherry. We need to know when a player is “giving him the business”.

  58. bradentonbuc says: Jun 4, 2012 2:04 PM

    Are the refs still part time and holding other jobs? If so they need full time refs. If not, well, never mind.

  59. radrntn says: Jun 4, 2012 2:13 PM

    they will still cheat when it comes to the raiders.

  60. coloradotexan says: Jun 4, 2012 2:31 PM

    Millions of people out of work, the economy is showing signs it might crash again, even if it doesn’t the high unemployment isn’t ending very fast…. and the current refs refuse to go to work.

    And who said the refs were dumb – LOL

    Give jobs to people who want to work

  61. turgidsen says: Jun 4, 2012 2:32 PM

    mediasloppy says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:31 PM
    snowpea84 says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    It’s always great to watch a union be put in their place.

    When did anti-union become popular. I remember as a kid people won cars on game shows and actually turned them down, because they were not union made.


    Since they outlived their usefulness

  62. treesloth16 says: Jun 4, 2012 2:54 PM

    You clowns who are supporting replacing officials will be complaining about the new officials who called a bad game for your team.

  63. tebowsafraud says: Jun 4, 2012 3:00 PM

    The actual answer to “when did unions become unpopular” is very simple.

    It’s when the richest companies and individuals bought legislatures (especially in the South) to pass laws that made unions hard to form. It then advanced to those same folks buying media (newspapers, TV and radio stations, and cable channels) to spread anti union propaganda to Americans too lazy (yes–thats you!) to do their own independent thinking.

    Its a FACT (get a book and look it up) that the largest percentage of Americans who were “middle class” was at the exact same time union membership was at its highest. We are now actually regressing toward the point where the “middle class” will be as extinct as the “two way” football player.

    And history tells us what happens to a society when 1% own all the wealth and 99% get the scraps. (see France 1789, Russia 1917, Iran 1979, etc etc)

  64. griblets says: Jun 4, 2012 3:01 PM

    mediasloppy says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:31 PM
    snowpea84 says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    It’s always great to watch a union be put in their place.

    When did anti-union become popular. I remember as a kid people won cars on game shows and actually turned them down, because they were not union made.


    Unions themselves are good. When people work together for a common cause, it benefits the members. That is, until they get greedy and begin having too much influence in law making. When unions lobby state governments to require union membership, it restricts freedom of choice and destroys liberty for those who choose not to join. Nobody should be forced to join to make a living.

  65. cags777 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:10 PM

    Just hire some guys who aren’t cheering for any particular team.

  66. gameshowlover72 says: Jun 4, 2012 3:11 PM

    Actually, the whole reason for the break down was over benefits. The NFL, NFLPA, and the fans want the current refs to pay for a better vision plan…but the current refs think they see just fine now. Unfortunately, the ref spokesman was talking into a mop at the time and could not be reached for comment. LOL 😉

  67. nofunleague says: Jun 4, 2012 3:56 PM

    I would rather the replacements make mistakes, bad calls, or whatever, because they were new, than have the current crop do it because they don’t care and have their union to make excuses for them. If you make a mistake, instant replay corrects it and you move on. If it isnt replayable, then you just move on. Players have never taken one red cent from a ref, and one bad call or lackadaisical call can cost the players 1000’s. Fine them and make the fines public just like the players.

  68. foosballisthedevil says: Jun 4, 2012 7:06 PM

    Mike Pereira

  69. leeann10 says: Jun 4, 2012 11:11 PM

    Current NFL refs or new refs can’t possibly be as horrible as current NBA refs. They’ve never been trained (obviously) and are the most biased of any professional sports. People off the street who have never seen an NBA game would be an improvement.

  70. cleverbob says: Jun 7, 2012 10:02 AM

    I hate to get baited into this crap (especially on a football blog comment section for Pete’s sake!), but for those keeping score at home:

    Unions and pro-worker lobby groups throwing their weight around and influencing legislation for personal gain = bad

    CEO’s and pro-business lobby groups throwing their weight around and influencing legislation for personal gain = good?

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