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NFL frustrated with NFLRA’s “moving target” demands

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

With the league and the locked-out officials talking on Friday and Saturday and then not talking any more, it looks like the NFL will be using replacement officials for Week One.

That surely frustrates many fans.  But it also frustrates the league.

Per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, the NFL believes that the NFL Referees Association has been changing and shifting positions unpredictably — a “moving target,” as one source explained it.

Whether it’s part of a deliberate plan or whether it’s simply happening randomly, it’s keeping a deal from being reached.

Maybe it is deliberate.  No amount of wagon-circling by the NFL will change the fact that the replacements need to be replaced.  And so it’s possible that the NFLRA senses weakness and is turn pushing for a strong deal, assuming that the deal will get better after a regular-season week with the junior junior varsity.

It would be easy for the NFLRA to justify its strategy by claiming that this is merely a business negotiation; after all, that’s the approach the league has been taking.  But someone has to bend for the good of the game.

The league, by agreeing to negotiate after weeks of assuming a take-it-or-leave-it posture, has taken a giant leap away from its hardheaded ways.  Now, the officials need to be willing to take at least one small step toward ensuring that the sport will have the best available personnel to supervise the games.

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62 Responses to “NFL frustrated with NFLRA’s “moving target” demands”
  1. sportmentary says: Sep 2, 2012 2:53 PM

    Boo Hoo to the NFL. They locked out these guys and played hardball, thinking that the SCABS would work out. Now that the NFL is in a pickle and really worries what will happen with the incompetents in week 1, they want the NFRA to cave? Not a chance. The NFRA lnows they have the NFL byt heir short and curlies.

  2. tbtrojan says: Sep 2, 2012 2:55 PM

    I hope when the officials get their new deal they are put under the spolight for their poor performance, if the “bottom feeders” they are using now are getting buried for every little thing the world best officials should be getting tarred & feathered for their endless mistakes.

  3. jmclarkent says: Sep 2, 2012 2:56 PM

    Those it does tarnish the product a bit, I doubt many folks will skip a Pro Football game because “That dude who looks like a skinny Al B. Sure isn’t ref’ing?”

  4. klutch14u says: Sep 2, 2012 2:58 PM

    I think the Zebra’s or overestimating just how awesome they are. The replacements just suck worse.

    Honestly I think the NFL should counter and while the lockout is going on give a booth ref the ability to intervene on any call made on he field and overrule. Of course this should be used sparingly but it’d help the guys on the field get it right which is the ultimate goal, not their individual pride. The booth ref could also bring to their attention of things like gross non-calls on things like holding.

  5. skoobyfl says: Sep 2, 2012 2:58 PM

    Personally speaking, I think anything that tarnishes the final product is bad for business. The league spent over half a century building a brand to place the best of the best football athletes on the field, now they want to send inexperienced people into supervise them ?? The entire concept is insane, pay these guys a few dollars extra & end the madness.

  6. nomad57 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:00 PM

    Kind of how Saints’ fans are frustrated with the NFL’s moving definition of bounty.

  7. trulyurkidding says: Sep 2, 2012 3:00 PM

    Now that the games are going to count, the league is starting to become flexible and negotiate – very timely I would say on their part. Didn’t the league sit on their hands for a month without talking to the refs?

    It sounds like they are getting a taste of their own medicine and not liking it very much!

  8. honkeyt says: Sep 2, 2012 3:01 PM

    The NFL offered a VERY nice compensation package. The arrognace and pride of the NFLRA is what has held negotiations up. First the arrogance in believing the NFL couldn’t do with out them and second the pride. Now they realize that the replacements are getting extensive training and they WILL get better as the season goes on. Goodell is a complete Jack@ss but I have to give him some credit for sticking to his guns on this issue.

  9. keepounding1234 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:04 PM

    You say one side has to bend for the good of the league. The refs don’t give a crap about the good of the league. They care about there contract. They will not bend for the good of the league.

  10. taintedlombardis says: Sep 2, 2012 3:06 PM

    Can’t wait for Wednesday night…the replacement’s incompetence will be on display for the world and it will be just another dent int the “shield” .

  11. marygratton18 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:08 PM

    I dunno one way or the other which side is right because there are valid points both sides, but my hunch is holding out any longer is going to work for theses subs about like holding out worked for MJ Drew with Khan.

  12. persianelvis says: Sep 2, 2012 3:11 PM

    The replacement refs keep the flags in their pocket and that is better for the game.

  13. cappa662 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:11 PM

    Do the refs even need the job? From what I hear, most of them are lawyers and principals and etc. I would stand pat if I were them. I think the NFL will eventually cave, especially when the regular season starts.

  14. petehemlock says: Sep 2, 2012 3:13 PM

    Am I the only one who has seen the replacement refs improving? It stands to reason they can get better and even as good as the originals. The more time they get the better they become and therefore the less leverage the originals have. I don’t think NFL officiating is rocket science.

  15. marygratton18 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:14 PM

    Correction: I meant holding out is maybe NOT going to work for the regular refs not the subs. Clearly I need to go do something more useful with my afternoon! Next Sunday can’t get here soon enough.

  16. nflfollower says: Sep 2, 2012 3:14 PM

    Keep them locked out. Ultimately I want refs who are accountable for their mistakes, that’s the only way it will improve. Plus, since its a union there’s no way the best can actually climb the ladder until one of the old farts retires, so let’s be honest with all of this integrity of the game talk. The old refs only care about themselves, they won’t make any concessions that would help the game or improve competition for their own jobs. Plus they blew Dallas all last season, and peirera defended them until he was blue in the face on FOX, it was just gross and insulting to every fans intelligence.

  17. nflfollower says: Sep 2, 2012 3:16 PM

    Excuse, me they blew “calls” not Dallas. Not sure how the ole phone made that leap.

  18. upyoursnfu says: Sep 2, 2012 3:17 PM

    He made his bed, now he has to sleep in it. Turd.

  19. richardmb52 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:18 PM

    OMG for the amount of money the NFL makes they haggle over pensions for the refs. give me a break they should be full time anyway. Talk about cheap.

  20. ravensaintsfan says: Sep 2, 2012 3:19 PM

    When the officials screw up Wednesday nights opener, the leverage the NFLRA will increase 10 fold.

  21. marcinhouston says: Sep 2, 2012 3:23 PM

    Based of Goodell’s history I cannot help be suspect that his secret motivation is to increase his power in this negotation. The ability to grade refs for performance really means Goodell wants the power to suspend one ref and forgive another, so even the refs have to play their part in Goodell’s PR games or pay the price. Any ref who will not play their part in Goodell’s continuing mission to crucify James Harrison, the Saints, etc and promote the Packers and old QBs like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre will be suspended and a ref who is willing to play along will be put in their place. Goodell will give the refs as much money and vacation as they want, as long as they give him power.

  22. riihab says: Sep 2, 2012 3:25 PM

    The NFL is a bully!

  23. marcinhouston says: Sep 2, 2012 3:26 PM

    Basically how this works is that James Harrison makes a hard tackle, the ref does not throw a flag, and Goodell suspends the ref in addition to Harrison. Meanwhile Charles Woodson throws a punch on the field, the ref does not eject Goodell, and Goodell does not suspend the ref or Woodson. Eventually the refs learn which teams they are supposed to throw more flags against if they want to keep their jobs, and Goodell gains more power over the outcome of games.

  24. keithbangedyermom says: Sep 2, 2012 3:27 PM

    They’re refs. You can get others. Let them all go and keep the replacements. I’d rather not see ticket prices go up just because the NFLRA gets a sweetheart benefits packages. SCREW THEM.

  25. taco87 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:29 PM

    People do know whenever they say that guy deserves to be paid the most i.e. drew Bree’s or pay those refs the money is coming out of the fans pocket because the owners aren’t going to take it out of their bottom line.

  26. bigbluefan11 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:33 PM

    If Ed Holuci’s team is permitted to return with the regular refs, there’s no gain in quality. That officiating team makes calls that changes the outcome of games and disrupts the flow of games with their constant flags, has done so for years, and needs to be replaced. If they will return, I don’t want to see this dispute settled. I know the poor quality I’m getting there. The replacement refs may grow into the job.

  27. petarbell says: Sep 2, 2012 3:34 PM

    Scott Green, wasn’t he the ref that blew the call in the 2003 playoff game, 49ers vs NYG for not knowing the rules. Cost NYG a chance to win the game. So he shouldn’t be so critical of these other refs. These guys need to suck it up, they make great money for what they do, besides there regular jobs.

  28. ezra954 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:40 PM

    All BS aside how upset are they gonna be when the guys from Vegas come knocking on there door

  29. tink65 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:47 PM

    Maybe I’m crazy…..but I’ve seen many amazingly bad calls by the “professional” refs over the years!!!!! Isn’t that why we begged for NFL instant replay? If the “pro” refs aren’t willing to accept their HUGE pay…..why don’t we let others see if they can deliver a better product?

  30. samoanjungle says: Sep 2, 2012 3:49 PM

    The refs had a sweet deal as is. If they let this carry into the season and the new refs improve, they may have kissed goodbye one of the sweetest part time gigs in the world.
    Gigantic risk.

  31. playin2x says: Sep 2, 2012 3:51 PM

    Milk the nfl refs.. They do it to u and tr players and coaches all the time

  32. millerhour says: Sep 2, 2012 4:01 PM

    I’m torn on the topic. The referees are getting paid to be in a spot that millions of regular guys would love to be in and many of them could probably do on a similar skill level. They are already getting paid way too much for a job that requires little work. But on the other side of the argument, they are an integral part of a billion dollar corporation and deserve their fair share of the profits. I guess when you break it down, if the fans are crazy enough to keep supporting this league that makes way too much money (and we are) then players, owners, referees, whoever else is making far too much money for a “fun” job are going to keep making far too much. It’s not something you can get around. If you think players salaries are too high stop buying jerseys and paying for NFL Sunday Ticket.

  33. theauger says: Sep 2, 2012 4:02 PM

    “No amount of wagon-circling by the NFL will change the fact that the replacements need to be replaced.”

    This is nothing more than a Union/Labor fanboy’s opinion. There is nothing factual about it.

    I willing to bet that less than 50% of NFL fans share this OPINION. It might even be closer to 25% than 50%.

    This is not about the $$$ involved. It is about the NFLRA not wanting their officials to be accountable. There will be no deal till the NFLRA accepts the new system which would hold officials accountable for their poor calls.

    NFLPA:
    Doesn’t want officials full-time.
    Doesn’t want 2-3 extra crews.
    Doesn’t want officials replaced for bad performance.

    NFL:
    Doesn’t want to pay part-time employees outrages wages.
    Doesn’t want to provide a pension plan to part-time employees . Offers a 401k instead.

    Which stance seems more reasonable…

  34. depstein1983 says: Sep 2, 2012 4:23 PM

    I beg to differ, theauger. Financially speaking, officials are low-level employees of the NFL. While they do earn six figures, every single one of them earns less than a rookie UDFA. The NFL has a $4 billion per season television deal. The cost of the officials demands is a few million. I’m not going to stand up for big-business NFL against their employees while they get filthy rich, at the same time as they cry poor in labor negotiations.

  35. evrybdyhas1 says: Sep 2, 2012 4:25 PM

    1.) Both teams have to play with the same lousy refs whether replacement or regular part-time.

    2.) If the regular part-time refs want so much more money when is it feasible to just go to full time refs?

    3.) The NFL is successful because the players and coaches do the heavy lifting and the owners have the $$$$ and take the financial risks. The refs are important employees but they are not the game. Just because the game is succesful does not mean they should be over paid. Whats next hot dog vendors want $200.00/hour?

    4.) Which brings me back to point 2.).

    Bring me football. I dont care!

  36. abninf says: Sep 2, 2012 4:28 PM

    “No amount of wagon-circling by the NFL will change the fact that the replacements need to be replaced.”
    =====================================

    Don’t confuse your pro-union opinion with a fact. The game will go on with or without them.

  37. walrushooker says: Sep 2, 2012 5:01 PM

    “…ensuring that the sport will have the best available personnel to supervise”

    Wouldn’t the best personnel be a computer? Keep officials to make the judgement calls but make their jobs easy by taking away all the things that could be done electronically and through technology…

    They don’t have a dude sitting there counting, they use a clock. Use the chip technology out there to spot the ball. Use booth officials to review calls, all calls. Have an official monitoring all live camera angles to make calls.

    There’s such a better approach to officiating and overpaying a group of people because they’ve union-ed up and monopolized game experience is crazy.

  38. klutch14u says: Sep 2, 2012 5:04 PM

    It’s hilarious that people are clamoring for the other lousy refs….

  39. theauger says: Sep 2, 2012 5:12 PM

    “I beg to differ, theauger. Financially speaking, officials are low-level employees of the NFL. While they do earn six figures, every single one of them earns less than a rookie UDFA.”
    ____________________________________

    The NFLRA officials work less than 160 hours a year for the NFL. That is equal to or less than an UDFA that makes a team would work in a month. But you want to compare the two salaries? This logic is laughable.

    Again, if this was about money, the NFLRA officials would be getting ready for week one of the NFL season right now. The reason for little progress is the accountability issues that the NFLRA are opposing.

  40. mjkelly77 says: Sep 2, 2012 5:21 PM

    sportmentary says:Sep 2, 2012 2:53 PM

    Boo Hoo to the NFL. They locked out these guys and played hardball, thinking that the SCABS would work out. Now that the NFL is in a pickle and really worries what will happen with the incompetents in week 1, they want the NFRA to cave? Not a chance. The NFRA lnows they have the NFL byt heir short and curlies.
    _______________

    If the NFLRA didn’t intimidate the NCAA Division I officials, the NFL could sign them right now. They would be younger and better than the greedy part-timers who could then stay home permanently.

  41. Where's Bud Grant when you need him? says: Sep 2, 2012 5:22 PM

    The refs are overplaying their hand. They’ve made bad calls for years. That’s why instant replay was developed. The NFL could decide to improve the quality of the replacement refs by having the replay official, who isn’t a replacement by the way, overrule obviously bad calls.

    It likely won’t happen, unless week one has a few game changing calls and the regular refs won’t sign on the dotted line. Then look for some change.

  42. sportmentary says: Sep 2, 2012 5:25 PM

    mjkelly77 That’s part of the game and the NFRA has played it far better than the NFL. So the NFL should negotiate in good faith and prevent a disaster from occuring.

  43. mjkelly77 says: Sep 2, 2012 5:25 PM

    skoobyfl says:Sep 2, 2012 2:58 PM

    Personally speaking, I think anything that tarnishes the final product is bad for business. The league spent over half a century building a brand to place the best of the best football athletes on the field, now they want to send inexperienced people into supervise them ?? The entire concept is insane, pay these guys a few dollars extra & end the madness.
    ___________________

    So I take it that you’re the type of person who would give in to a ransom demand? I see.

  44. mjkelly77 says: Sep 2, 2012 5:27 PM

    nomad57 says:Sep 2, 2012 3:00 PM

    Kind of how Saints’ fans are frustrated with the NFL’s moving definition of bounty.
    ________________

    Give it up already. You were bad boys and got a spanking. Now go to your room.

  45. mjkelly77 says: Sep 2, 2012 5:34 PM

    richardmb52 says:Sep 2, 2012 3:18 PM

    OMG for the amount of money the NFL makes they haggle over pensions for the refs. give me a break they should be full time anyway. Talk about cheap.
    ______________

    Uhhh, the NFL wants the greedy part-timers to be permanent. They also want them to be accountable. As such, they can be relieved of their duties for not meeting performance standards. That way the officials collectively will be better. But the NFLRA sees this as a threat. I’d prefer to see a new batch of NCAA Division I officials come in and permanently take over.

  46. fmwarner says: Sep 2, 2012 6:23 PM

    Before you all tell the union refs they’re greedy and anyone can do the job, know this…

    1. They don’t show up once a week and work three hours. They work on NFL business four days a week. They have evaluations, they travel to and from the game site, and they’re constantly being drilled on their knowledge of the rules.

    2. NFL officials are the lowest paid officials of any of the four major team sports. And the NFL is the richest of those four sports.

  47. doctorfootball says: Sep 2, 2012 6:30 PM

    The replacements are bound to get better. That can’t get much worse. If they show marked improvement, there goes the NFLRA’s leverage.

  48. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 2, 2012 7:13 PM

    “OMG for the amount of money the NFL makes they haggle over pensions for the refs. give me a break they should be full time anyway. Talk about cheap.”

    Uhm NO! Just because the NFL makes a lot of money (which honestly how do these refs contribute to that revenue) doesn’t mean they should be paid more just because these ass clowns demand it. They are MORE then fairly compensated for working a part time job. Walmart makes a ton of money too but you don’t see them giving cashiers raises just because the amount of money they make.

  49. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 2, 2012 7:14 PM

    “2. NFL officials are the lowest paid officials of any of the four major team sports. And the NFL is the richest of those four sports.”

    They also are the only NON Full Time and they work a lot less games. Therefor they should be paid less. Who cares if the NFL makes more money. That is completely irrelevant. How do the refs help them make more money?

    162 games
    82 games
    16 games

    Hmm….

  50. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 2, 2012 7:18 PM

    “So the NFL should negotiate in good faith and prevent a disaster from occuring.”

    whats the disaster? That the replacement refs end up being better? Let’s be honest the regular refs are NOT that good. They screw up consistently. sure these guys aren’t as good yet but honestly I don’t think it will take them very long to be on the same level. It’s not like you are trying to replace Peyton or Brady here…

  51. theauger says: Sep 2, 2012 7:25 PM

    “2. NFL officials are the lowest paid officials of any of the four major team sports. And the NFL is the richest of those four sports.”

    I wonder why this is, could it be that they work by far, the least amount for an official compared to the other 3 sports leagues?

  52. eriktheliberal says: Sep 2, 2012 7:25 PM

    Mike,

    Did you ever consider the possibility that the NFL might be leaking this “moving target” story to make the NFLRA look bad – regardless of whether or not it is true? Also, the NFL is locking out the refs, the refs are not striking. Any interpretation of this situation should shade on the side of the NFLRA considering the obnoxious stance that the NFL had taken towards the union refs.

    Remember, the NFLRA gave much more than the NFL when they negociated their last contract in 2001. They conceded quite a bit in those negociations, including much lower raises than they had originally asked for.

  53. dscol715 says: Sep 2, 2012 7:26 PM

    Another example of Roger Goodell’s thinking the NFL can steamroll anyone they want regardless of the situation. What he forgot is that these are part time jobs for the refs and most of them do not need the money to survive. He always assumes he has the leverage because he represents the “NFL” and as a result he overplayed his hand on this one from the jump. Anyone with any sense knew that this would play out by these underwear football refs he hired being a disaster while the real guys just watched and laughed.
    Roger, your plan backfired, you have no leverage to make the refs come back and you do not have sufficient replacements. Just give them whatever modest amount they are asking for and call it a day. You already lost this one, stop making it worse just to save face.

  54. mjkelly77 says: Sep 2, 2012 7:31 PM

    mgdsquiggy17 …

    I agree with everything you’ve posted above. Perhaps some people need to learn more about cost containment.

  55. mjkelly77 says: Sep 2, 2012 7:37 PM

    eriktheliberal says:Sep 2, 2012 7:25 PM

    … Did you ever consider the possibility that the NFL might be leaking this “moving target” story to make the NFLRA look bad – regardless of whether or not it is true? …
    Remember, the NFLRA gave much more than the NFL when they negociated their last contract in 2001. They conceded quite a bit in those negociations, including much lower raises than they had originally asked for.
    _______________

    NFL leaking a story? Do you mean like the NFLRA cries to the media every day in an effort to solicit fan suppot? They won’t get any from me.

    And raise concessions? Their raises dwarf what the rest of the American working public has received in the same time frame. Again, no sympathy here.

  56. eriktheliberal says: Sep 2, 2012 7:51 PM

    @mjkelly77

    “NFL leaking a story? Do you mean like the NFLRA cries to the media every day in an effort to solicit fan suppot? They won’t get any from me.

    And raise concessions? Their raises dwarf what the rest of the American working public has received in the same time frame. Again, no sympathy here.”

    I will always side with professional referees making 150k per year over billionaire owners who did not earn of their money. I am really surprised you don’t.

  57. ssh991 says: Sep 2, 2012 9:06 PM

    Ok, here’s the thing. If the NFLRA refuses to sign for much longer the NFL will completely stop trying to come to an agreement with them, keep the replacement officials, and at season-end lure the NCAA division I referees to come work in the NFL (unless of course there is some sort of “No Compete” clause in their contracts. Assuming there’s not, I say to heck with the NFLRA, bite the bullet this season and hire Division I refs to come ref in the NFL. The NCAA could not punish or fore them for crossing the proverbial picket line because the NFK would hire them permanently. Well, yes the NCAA could, but it wouldn’t matter. And yes they would most likely gladly leave the NCAA for the NFL. Also I should point out that Ed Hochuli’s son is a Division I ref, who called the USC game yesterday.

  58. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 2, 2012 9:08 PM

    “I will always side with professional referees making 150k per year over billionaire owners who did not earn of their money. ”

    So you apparently know how each and every NFL owner made their money? They weren’t all handed companies or golden eggs from their parents. Some of them actually did work to make the money they have.

  59. randymachomansavage says: Sep 2, 2012 9:19 PM

    Lot of union hate coming out on this union made 3 day weekend. Mmmm…that is some delicious irony.

  60. randymachomansavage says: Sep 2, 2012 9:30 PM

    Also–the fact the officials work less than their counterparts in other sports doesn’t hold water. Players only play sixteen games–should they make less? A garbage man works much harder than a librarian but the bookworm makes more. It is about skill and the amount of folks who can do the job. All you super capitalists ought to be supporting people working to get their fair market value.
    It is still a free country and a free market. These men have decided to negotiate together in order to protect themselves from the rich and powerful. What is so wrong with saying, “No one can do what we do as well as we do it. We expect to be paid as such.” I mean, unless you’re a socialist or communist.

  61. marima07 says: Sep 3, 2012 8:29 AM

    As part of the new deal, will the referees be continuing with their recent and enlightening practice of publicizing all of their mistakes each week?

  62. bikelikemike says: Sep 4, 2012 11:57 AM

    randymachomansavage says: Sep 2, 2012 9:30 PM

    Also–the fact the officials work less than their counterparts in other sports doesn’t hold water. Players only play sixteen games–should they make less? A garbage man works much harder than a librarian but the bookworm makes more. It is about skill and the amount of folks who can do the job. All you super capitalists ought to be supporting people working to get their fair market value.
    It is still a free country and a free market. These men have decided to negotiate together in order to protect themselves from the rich and powerful. What is so wrong with saying, “No one can do what we do as well as we do it. We expect to be paid as such.” I mean, unless you’re a socialist or communist.
    —————
    randy took way too many hits to the head!! “the fact the officials work less than their counterparts in other sports doesn’t hold water” Oh yes it does, you dimwit!! WTH is a super capitalist anyway?? Why do you seem to hate the by far- very best and most fair system this world has ever seen?? Is it because you don’t like it that people with greater mental capacities than your own are rewarded for it? How much ability does it take to pick up trash, you braniac?? You ‘think’ people picking potatoes in a field in blistering heat ought to be paid as much as the people ‘pushing a pencil’ inside the air-conditioned office of that business???? Do you realize that those people picking potatoes have EVERY opportunity to go to school, study hard, and make a better life for themselves in this Capitalist society???? And in a socialist system, that would be nullified, no.. KILLED by the insane and inordinate distribution of compensation “all in the name of “fairness””.

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