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Report: Replacement officials likely will be used during regular season

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The labor dispute between the NFL and its game officials could linger into the regular season.  Which means that the league would be using replacement officials.

According to Jim Corbett of USA Today, that’s exactly what will happen.

Per Corbett, a person with knowledge of the negotiations expects the fight to escalate over the summer, and that the “first couple of weeks” of the regular season will be officiated by “scabs.”

“I will be very surprised if there are not games played with scabs or replacement officials,” the source said Tuesday.

Though it’s bad form to speculate on a reporter’s sources (as if that’s ever stopped me before), the source’s use of the term “scabs” suggests that the information comes from someone tied to the NFL Referees Association.  Though the use of both “scabs” and “replacement officials” makes the remark come off as balanced, it’s unlikely that any league-side sources would use the inherently pejorative term.  (Unless, of course, it was a brilliant effort to cover the source’s tracks.)

If the quote came from the NFLRA, it’s unfortunate that the officials are preparing to forgo multiple game checks before working out a deal.  If the hardship of lost pay (then again, most of the officials have other jobs) will get them to blink after a few weeks, why not blink before the game potentially suffers by the use of substandard officials?  (In turn, if the NFL will blink after a couple of weeks of using second-rate-or-worse officials, why not blink before the game and the men who play it are compromised?)

Using the best officials takes on greater importance than the last time replacements/scabs were hired, because officials are now expected to help spot players who may have suffered concussions. But the NFL has yet to share any of the details with the players regarding the plan to find other officials.

“The NFL doesn’t let us know anything, unfortunately,” NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth told PFT Live on Tuesday.  “Any information that we get from them, we have to pry it out of them.”

Foxworth deferred comment on whether the players would be reluctant to play with replacement/scab officials, stating only that, for now, “there’s a red flag and there’s lots of concerns.”

There should be.  Whatever the NFL plans to do, it’s critical that the two sides work together.  While the NFLPA naturally may be inclined to resist the league’s proposals in deference to a fellow union, both sides need to find a way to work together, putting the greater good of the game about their own interests.

That said, the greater good of the game favors having the best officials available.  Locking out the officials who have made it to the top of their profession and replacing them necessarily means that the league won’t have the benefit of the very best.

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67 Responses to “Report: Replacement officials likely will be used during regular season”
  1. jacobslatter says: Jun 5, 2012 9:42 PM

    One ref the NFL has to get is Mills Lane. He’d be great. He may have been born at night, but he wasn’t born last night.

  2. rcali says: Jun 5, 2012 9:42 PM

    Holding is holding, pass interference is pass interference. All the important stuff gets reviewed. Time for these guys to get over themselves.

  3. backindasaddle says: Jun 5, 2012 9:42 PM

    The only “scab” is the belligerent miscreant using the term as he’s referring to something less than human. In this day and age are we not beyond these archaic union tactics?

  4. showerswithsandusky says: Jun 5, 2012 9:42 PM

    This will be a good opportunity for Sandusky to work off some of the mandated community service he’s about to receive.

  5. backindasaddle says: Jun 5, 2012 9:45 PM

    as IF he’s referring….

  6. johanneschimpo says: Jun 5, 2012 9:48 PM

    Fingers crossed…this can only be good for the Chargers.

  7. staffordsyear says: Jun 5, 2012 9:49 PM

    Whatever,all these refs can go take a hike,didnt have control my @ss.

  8. gosuhgo says: Jun 5, 2012 9:49 PM

    I was worried at first but I’m thinking that this might actually be what they need. Get some uncorrupted fresh blood in. No more garbage Hochuli calls.

  9. orthomarine says: Jun 5, 2012 9:52 PM

    Meh

  10. raqaiw says: Jun 5, 2012 9:53 PM

    Nobody cares who officiates the games PFT, because most fans know the officiating will be deplorable no matter who does it. Tennis got laser foul lines, why aren’t there chips embedded in the ball that says TD/No TD? It’s 2012 for crying out loud.

  11. nepo784 says: Jun 5, 2012 9:55 PM

    Would Tommy Jabroni screwing up a call be any worse than Ed Hoculi?… I think not

  12. citizenstrange says: Jun 5, 2012 9:59 PM

    Clearly the taxpayers should foot the bill for NFL game officials.

    You wouldn’t want billionaires to use their own money to provide fans with the best product available now would you?

  13. cardmagnet says: Jun 5, 2012 10:02 PM

    Wonderful. Most of the regular officials screw things up on a regular basis, so it’s going to be worse with scabs.

  14. professorcolumbus says: Jun 5, 2012 10:04 PM

    Why does PFT keep pushing this myth that the officiating will be worse with replacement refs? What evidence do you have that leads you to believe the current refs are “the best officials?” For the most part, they are pretty bad, and most of us are actually eager to find out if there are better people for the job out there. I strongly suspect no fans will be banging the table for new deal with the NFLRA come week 4.

  15. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 5, 2012 10:06 PM

    P.A. announcers across the league will be dusting off that old crowd pleasing standard, “Seven Blind Mice”.

  16. randygnyc says: Jun 5, 2012 10:10 PM

    BUST ALL UNIONS, NOW! Make membership a FELONY!!! Congrats GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER!!!!

  17. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 5, 2012 10:14 PM

    I hope they settle soon. Shouting out “Kill the replacement ref!”, just doesn’t have the same cachet.

  18. monkeyhateclean says: Jun 5, 2012 10:15 PM

    The advent of replay has already minimized the impact of the poor on-field officiating. There isn’t much reason to fear scab refs being able to screw up a game more than “real” refs.

  19. tommyf15 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:16 PM

    raqaiw says: Tennis got laser foul lines, why aren’t there chips embedded in the ball that says TD/No TD?

    It wouldn’t work.

    If any part of the ball crosses into the end zone it’s a TD. The entire ball would have to be a chip, or else it would be ineffective.

  20. Punk says: Jun 5, 2012 10:18 PM

    That was an awful lot of words I had to scroll past.

  21. sasattack says: Jun 5, 2012 10:21 PM

    NFL=Gestapo. Fortunately, PFT doesn’t shill for them.

  22. christopher525 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:25 PM

    Suddenly calls start coming in correct, these “refs” need to get it together before they’re all out of work.

  23. hrdcorbengalsfan says: Jun 5, 2012 10:25 PM

    Who is to say which would be better…God knows refs suck!

  24. commonsensedude says: Jun 5, 2012 10:26 PM

    What happens if the games run by the scabs end up having fewer officiating errors than the games called by the regulars? Can the best of the scab officials be hired on to replace the worst of the regulars (yes, I’m talking about you, Mr. Triplette)?

  25. sixburghrules says: Jun 5, 2012 10:26 PM

    The officials haven’t got any power here! The ge paid 50K plus expenses for 16 weekes and bonus pay if they do the playoffs/SB Get real I could do that as a full time job Whining bastards!

  26. blspears says: Jun 5, 2012 10:28 PM

    NFL refs are horrible so who cares.

  27. realitypolice says: Jun 5, 2012 10:28 PM

    You hit the nail on the head. This “source” is obviously from either the ref’s union or the NFLPA.

    The use of the term “scab” is a dead giveaway, but the whole tone of the report is too.

    It is obviously designed to put pressure on the league not to use scabs and/or settle with the NFLRA.

    Pretty poorly disguised attempt, if you ask me.

  28. buffaloniner says: Jun 5, 2012 10:28 PM

    Strange that anybody would look that deep into the use of the term “scabs”. I use the term all the time when referencing a subject like this and I’m not part of the NFLRA or any union for that matter. Most other commenters on here do too, other journalists and really anybody who is familiar with what the word means usually will use it, I believe the author of this article has on many occasions as well… sowazatmean?

    Even stranger is the fact that I would look that deep into somebody looking that deep into the word… I guess that’s how much I care whether or not the blind and/or crooked refs are replaced by blind and/or crooked scabs. Refs are really shooting themselves in the foot on this one. Replaceable.

  29. thefiesty1 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:29 PM

    Some of the collage officials won’t be too bad. Just like last year during the lockout and threatening cancelled games, they’ll get it figured out by game one. Just more drama for the summer. If college officials do a few games, so be it. Some new blood in the ranks might be an improvement and some of the old guys can just retire.

  30. dirtmcgirt24 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:31 PM

    This article assumes small conference referees aren’t good. Their job is to watch a game and compare what they see to a book of rules, and make calls accordingly. They’re not trying to develop cures for diseases.

    I’ve actually gotten to know a few referees in my day. At one point, they started in small conferences. Then I blink and they’re in bowl games, followed by Sunday games.

    Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be fine.

  31. latenightroach says: Jun 5, 2012 10:37 PM

    I’d laugh if the “scabs” do a better job.

  32. noeffinway says: Jun 5, 2012 10:39 PM

    H-o-c-h-u-l-i , Hochuli!

  33. bengalheel says: Jun 5, 2012 10:39 PM

    Piggybacking off the chips in balls, wouldn’t that be a perfect thing to test out during the Pro Bowl? I know I would be tuning in to see how accurate the device was on the goal line.

  34. prosourcetalk says: Jun 5, 2012 10:51 PM

    Oh boy

  35. sd5547 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:54 PM

    Hire the Obama administration they will be looking for work come November.

  36. easyeddie says: Jun 5, 2012 10:54 PM

    What are all these refs who lead very successful professional lives off the field striking over?

  37. hay1111 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:55 PM

    This helps the Saints from any fantom referee call conspiracies

  38. iced107 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:55 PM

    raqaiw says:
    Jun 5, 2012 9:53 PM
    Nobody cares who officiates the games PFT, because most fans know the officiating will be deplorable no matter who does it. Tennis got laser foul lines, why aren’t there chips embedded in the ball that says TD/No TD? It’s 2012 for crying out loud.

    —————————————————

    meh, I’d be careful what you wish for. Can you imagine the uproar if the officials were absolutely dreadful in the preseason/early in the regular season?

    I can’t remember which team it was but I’m pretty sure it was a playoff game and a team was down to its last play of the game,which was to be a field goal attempt. the snap was fumbled, the kicker had to throw the ball downfield and there was an eligible receiver downfield around the 2 or 3 who was blatantly interfered. The refs incorrectly determined him to be ineligible. I remember Mike Perrera went over this and said that was the wrong call.

    Wonder how many “bad calls” like that are going to occur with 2nd tier officials

  39. saklr1 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:56 PM

    Did you hear what the NFL is offering these guys for a part time job?

    $165K a year

    $16,500 a year into a 401K which expands to 23,000

    Expanded medical benefits with medical reimbursement.

    All for a part time job and these guys think that’s a bad offer.

    Where do I sign up?

  40. eyeh8goodell says: Jun 5, 2012 10:56 PM

    HAHA the league office is killing the Golden Goose…….and I couldn’t be happier watching Roger squirm and go down in flames.

    And I just have to point and laugh at lifelong armchair jockeys critique NFL officials (raqaiw i’m looking in your direction). You guys are absolute clowns and have no idea what you’re talking about. The League Office and Competition Committee have set these guys up for failure with so many rule changes/additions that not only leave much gray area…..but also are meant to effect the league’s hazy (and extremely hypocritical) culture changes. These guys work from the bottom of a hole and are constantly trying to dig out.

    I’d love to see you pot-bellied, beer guzzling, nacho shoveling LA-Z-Boy residents try to do their job. It would be pure comedy to every single rational person in this country watching you guys huff and puff trying to cover 10 yards with these guys.

  41. cooklynn17 says: Jun 5, 2012 11:00 PM

    There goes the Giants chance of a repeat, if people thought New York got screwed last season, wait till these idiots take the field…

  42. bigdawg24 says: Jun 5, 2012 11:02 PM

    Good. That means no more Mike Carey drawing attention to himself by acting like a clown and being overly dramatic when he does his calls.

    I think that guys likes to watch himself on TV after he officiates games. What an Ego-maniac.

  43. purplengold says: Jun 5, 2012 11:11 PM

    Pay the officials a full-time salary and give them full benefits.

  44. steelcurtainn says: Jun 5, 2012 11:47 PM

    They can’t be any worse then the regular officials. Heres an idea. How about a replacement commissioner? Maybe then the NFL could get back to the way it used to be. Good Hard Nosed Football.

  45. justwinbaby29 says: Jun 5, 2012 11:48 PM

    Again, of course you’d rather have the regular officials but it’s not like the games will be diminished like it would be with replacement players.

    As long as they can do about the same level of quality (and let’s face it that’s not a very high standard) I don’t think many people will be complaining.

  46. whiteshoesjohnson says: Jun 5, 2012 11:52 PM

    I don’t want to let the iguana out of its cage but the NFL has an ingenious plan to quell any unrest that second tier refs may engender. Here it is: If the strike goes into the regular season the league announces Ray Guy as Head Referee. In return Ray gets the Hall. Everybody wind

  47. Wahoo's Wigwam says: Jun 5, 2012 11:55 PM

    It is interesting how this comissioner has wrapped himself in the blanket of being for player safety and yet we may have scabs officals some this season! Pay the refs if you want the best for the players ( your assets) this season. It is not like the league cannot afford them.

  48. Wahoo's Wigwam says: Jun 5, 2012 11:58 PM

    Owners = CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!!!

  49. kane337 says: Jun 6, 2012 12:31 AM

    Unless the Refs demands were so outrageous I think the NFL is making a big mistake here.

  50. maximusprime107 says: Jun 6, 2012 12:43 AM

    I dont think we’re going to notice much of a difference, NFL referring is already a joke

  51. donniebmc says: Jun 6, 2012 1:29 AM

    I wonder if the replacement refs will also be 65-70 years old.

  52. macwomack says: Jun 6, 2012 1:36 AM

    As we saw a few years ago the replacement officials are every bit as good (and bad) as the regular officials. I don’t see how the game “suffers”.

    Seriously. I never saw the difference – I certainly don’t consider replacement officials “substandard”.

  53. macwomack says: Jun 6, 2012 1:37 AM

    Hey Florio – go tell the Seahawks fans (and for that matter Jerome Bettis) that the regular officials are superior to the replacement officials.

  54. jcg23 says: Jun 6, 2012 2:10 AM

    I’m not sure replacements would be worse than what the refs have been for the last 5 years anyway.

  55. skolvikesskol says: Jun 6, 2012 2:20 AM

    You guys left out Green. Youtube will give you a small sample of his……….. work.

  56. jimbo75025 says: Jun 6, 2012 5:39 AM

    jacobslatter says:Jun 5, 2012 9:42 PM

    One ref the NFL has to get is Mills Lane. He’d be great. He may have been born at night, but he wasn’t born last night.
    ————-

    One small problem-he had a stroke maybe a decade ago and can barely walk and talk. Had the pleasure of meeting him in Reno 5-6 years ago when the courthouse was named after him. A legend in many fields indeed, but replacement NFL ref no.

  57. 6thsense79 says: Jun 6, 2012 6:29 AM

    Can’t wait until most of these commentators favorite teams lose out on games due to extremely poor officiating. As bad as these arm chaired beer bellied QBs think the current officials are there haven’t seen a thing until they watch an entire crew of rookie officials go through on the job training together. This promises to be fun!

  58. griblets says: Jun 6, 2012 6:32 AM

    There sure seem to be a lot of people posting here that think they could officiate an NFL game. I would bet everything I have that these guys have never officiated a game at any level in their life. Officiating is not easy, or all the calls would be made correctly. There is more than just making calls. Managing the game, players, and coaches is just as important, if not more important than making calls. Most of these “I could do their job” types would soil themselves on the field trying to do the job of an NFL official. Nothing would give me more joy than to watch them try!

  59. griblets says: Jun 6, 2012 6:43 AM

    saklr1 says:
    Jun 5, 2012 10:56 PM
    Did you hear what the NFL is offering these guys for a part time job?

    $165K a year

    $16,500 a year into a 401K which expands to 23,000

    Expanded medical benefits with medical reimbursement.

    All for a part time job and these guys think that’s a bad offer.

    Where do I sign up?
    ———————————————

    The players make much more than that for their part time jobs. Why not sign up to play also? Oh, that’s right, you don’t have the skill that’s required to do either job! You wouldn’t get past the application process. Whining about how your team is getting screwed by officiating from your Mom’s couch isn’t a desirable qualification for the job.

    The NFL officials are the best football officials in the world. No official is perfect, just like no player is perfect. Just like you and I are not perfect at our jobs. These officials have leverage because they have skills better than others. They risk asking too much and being replaced, but I assure you, the replacement refs will not be as good. If you think it is bad now, wait until you see what happens with replacements!

  60. mancave001 says: Jun 6, 2012 9:39 AM

    professorcolumbus says:
    Jun 5, 2012 10:04 PM
    Why does PFT keep pushing this myth that the officiating will be worse with replacement refs? What evidence do you have that leads you to believe the current refs are “the best officials?” For the most part, they are pretty bad, and most of us are actually eager to find out if there are better people for the job out there. I strongly suspect no fans will be banging the table for new deal with the NFLRA come week 4.

    ——————–

    Couldn’t agree more. The officiating in the NFL over the past few years has been a disgrace. Maybe the “scabs” will be a little less likely to call holding and BS interference on every positive play our respective teams make. :)

  61. mjkelly77 says: Jun 6, 2012 10:32 AM

    “Scabs”? The replacement officials may turn out better than “the old blind guys”.

  62. giantsfanlewis says: Jun 6, 2012 11:08 AM

    Iced107

    The play your talking about was week 16 game in 2002 giants vs 49ers. The play your going on about was a driod goal attempt in which the holder mis handled the snap and tried to improvise. The ineligible receiver was a linemab who came in as a blocker on the edge, meaning he was a tight end. He went for the pass and was tackled before the pass. The ruleing was pass interference and ineligible man down field. Later we find that he checked in as eligible for that play. It knocked the giants out of the plaloffs. As a lifelong giants fan that play killed me. Not as much as the refs dictating the 2009 season for peyton vs no in the sb or how hard they were trying to get Gb to repeat. When the refs don’t work to decide 4 games that I can remember off the top of my head(both giants vs packers, both saints vs lions) then I will agree these refs are better then the scabs. Til then ill take the scabs who hopefully will either call clay for the 5 second late hit on eli or remember first when rodgers leaves the pocket he is a runner not a qb and second that if a players head is not touched its not a penalty.

  63. CKL says: Jun 6, 2012 11:43 AM

    This won’t be popular but IMO some of the officiating issues stem from the recent rule changes. It takes a bit to get better consistency when rules change. I’ve always joked that whatever new rule is passed, the following year, it gets over called out the wazoo. Then it settles down. There have been some big ones in the past several years so it seems like every year recently we’ve had huge wrong/bad call issues.

    Let me be the dummy who asks why the NFLPA is acting like they have any right to get any info out of the NFL on their negotiations with an entirely different set of employees?

  64. amg503 says: Jun 6, 2012 12:13 PM

    I heard that Warren Sapp knows who the source is…

  65. mrfrostyj says: Jun 6, 2012 12:33 PM

    Wait you mean the ref’s used prior to this upcoming season were the good ones? Does ESPN have to dig up that great refereeing moment during the Browns/ Bengals game last season where Scott Fujita sneezed and Jerome Simpson flew 30 yards and drew a penalty flag?

  66. jfinn5 says: Jun 6, 2012 1:45 PM

    So you want me to drop a couple hundred bucks to go to a NFL game and watch scabs officiate a game. Who is in charge? Scott Walker, the jerk from Wisconsin.

  67. richc111 says: Jun 6, 2012 2:45 PM

    I think the best officiating I have seen was the last time replacements were used. They let the players play and didn’t call every little ticky tack infraction. I look forward to that again. Also for jfinn5 Walker won 2 times now. the public has spoken!

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