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Replacement ref making the jump from six-man football to the NFL

West Texas Six-Man Shootout Football AP

One of the NFL’s replacement officials isn’t just adjusting to calling games involving bigger, stronger and faster players. He’s also adjusting to a game with 22 players on the field, instead of 12.

Wayne Bernier has spent the last four weeks alternating between refereeing six-man football games at small Texas high schools and then working preseason games in the NFL. Bernier told the Amarillo Globe-News that it’s not as big a difference as you might think.

“You have seen it on TV and see this big field,” Bernier said. “But you walk in and it’s still a 100-yard field just like out at Dick Bivins Stadium [where Amarillo high school teams play]. There are more people. That’s all.”

Bernier has been training with the NFL since June and said that while he was taken aback by the athletes at first, he’s ready for it now.

“Humbling is what I’d first say I experienced because you are in awe, but you are there to do a job,” Bernier said. “You don’t get star struck. I had a lot to learn. I had to get acclimated to the speed. That’s the difference between any level and the NFL, the speed and size. But one thing is easier. They are so skilled and know how to catch a football. Now, the harder part is they have the chance to learn more technique, and they know how to hold better.”

Despite the widespread criticism that the NFL’s replacement officials have received, Bernier says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“You learn they all are human beings,” Bernier said. “They are in this spotlight all the time, but they are just human. And they are class acts, like Andy Reid. We all know he just lost his son, and there is emotion there. And then most of the players have been cordial. You hear every once in a while a ‘Oh, that’s why you are here’ comment. But most of them slap you on the butt and say, ‘Good job.’”

Most fans have wanted to kick the replacement officials in the butt and say, “Bad job” so far this preseason, but whether the fans like it or not, the NFL is about to start its season with refs whose experience comes from levels much, much lower than professional football.

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49 Responses to “Replacement ref making the jump from six-man football to the NFL”
  1. scrapingthefloorioforstorios says: Sep 3, 2012 2:07 PM

    the patriots will find a way to cheat no matter who is officiating..

  2. nomoreseasontix says: Sep 3, 2012 2:11 PM

    “Most fans have wanted to kick the replacement officials in the butt”….

    I disagree. I think most fans understand that the officiating product that’s been forced on us has been horrible and corrupt since at least the mid ’80′s.

    It’s past time for new blood. It may be painful and sometimes ugly, but I’m in no hurry to see the same old crappy officiating.

  3. seattlerogueburner says: Sep 3, 2012 2:15 PM

    You know that whistle sound that mimics something falling?b Yea I just heard that.

  4. thepvyharvin says: Sep 3, 2012 2:15 PM

    6 man kids ball to NFL,,,Really? About the same a RN moving up to brain surgery ,crazy

  5. richkotitte says: Sep 3, 2012 2:15 PM

    Expect a plethora of ‘too many players on the field’ calls from this ref, leaving Tiki Barber flabbergasted.

  6. thegreatgabbert says: Sep 3, 2012 2:24 PM

    “Tweeetttt…..Penalty on the offense, too many men on the field. Penalty on the defense, too many men on the field. Penalties are offsetting, repeat the down.

    Tweeetttt…Penalty on the offense, too many men on the field. Penalty on the defense, too many men on the field. Penalties are offsetting, repeat the down.

    Tweeettt……………………..”.

  7. olewize1 says: Sep 3, 2012 2:24 PM

    thats my area… amarillo by mornin

  8. kingbeason52 says: Sep 3, 2012 2:25 PM

    What kind of lame highschool plays 6 man teams?

  9. thegreatgabbert says: Sep 3, 2012 2:26 PM

    LOL, one of these guys is going to come back to his old job reffing W. Va. high school football and make life hell for Florio’s kid for the rest of the year.

  10. illiniftw says: Sep 3, 2012 2:27 PM

    Why do I keep reading things about how “most fans” dont like the new officials? In the comments section on almost every article on this I’ve read “most fans” just want football. If it was just about money the NFL would have probably just paid them and got it over with. There needs to be accountability

  11. canetic says: Sep 3, 2012 2:28 PM

    LOL. The NFL is just rubbing it in now.

  12. txxxchief says: Sep 3, 2012 2:31 PM

    Watched many games at Dick Bivins stadium by the way. I think it was the first stadium to install Field Turf. They have free wifi too. How many NFL stadiums do?

  13. greymares says: Sep 3, 2012 2:32 PM

    know the rules,and call what you see.

  14. chumleyofthenorthwoods says: Sep 3, 2012 2:34 PM

    Stop with the Ref Stories. Reporters are in a Union. You are the side of the Unions. We get it. Brothers stick up for the brothers. Even if they are getting an unfair wage and like to use the word SCABS.

    Michael David Smith: I am not in a union.

  15. gstewart400 says: Sep 3, 2012 2:34 PM

    “the patriots will find a way to cheat no matter who is officiating..”

    God, that is so funny…such fresh, fresh comedy. Wow, yes, thats all the Patriots can do right…they just cheat at everything. Sooooo true. Genius commentary! This guy is so profound and sharp in his incisive comments. And with the ability to tie the comment in to a story that had nothing to do with the Patriots or cheating…thats a level of brilliance reserved for the greatest football pundits!

  16. sportmentary says: Sep 3, 2012 2:35 PM

    This is an indictment on Goodell. It’s a travesty to allow someone with those lack of credentials to officiate an NFL game. This has become a joke.

  17. jimnaizeeum says: Sep 3, 2012 2:37 PM

    “Most fans have wanted to kick the replacement officials in the butt and say, “Bad job” so far this preseason”.

    I think the butts most fan want to kick are on the real refs.

  18. gmen5280 says: Sep 3, 2012 2:38 PM

    What a fubar this has turned into.

    No offense to Wayne Bernier, but this is PROFESSIONAL (caps intended) Football, a multi billion dollar enterprise. You just don’t jump from ref’ing high school to the pro’s

  19. joejoe51 says: Sep 3, 2012 2:41 PM

    The NFL crying about $100,000. per team for the reg. Refs is like Microsoft whining about a pay raise for their janitors, C’mon, Goodell/NFL Owners you are a 9+ BILLION dollar a year business don’t tell me you can’t afford to pay $3.2 million more a year for these Refs… That’s just being cheap!

  20. briank1ne says: Sep 3, 2012 2:42 PM

    yikes

  21. paulnoga says: Sep 3, 2012 2:44 PM

    The announced on ESPN yesterday that the Refs last year made $149,000 a year. Not bad for a 6 month job. The NFL this year offered to raise it to $189,000 a year and the NFLRA turned it down. Yes, they wanted pensions, but this is crazy.
    Its time to quit complaining about the refs on the field now. They will no longer be the replacement Refs nut just the NFL Refs. Like it or not, they will be on the field the entire year.

  22. eagleswin says: Sep 3, 2012 2:45 PM

    Most fans have wanted to kick the replacement officials in the butt and say, “Bad job” so far this preseason, but whether the fans like it or not, the NFL is about to start its season with refs whose experience comes from levels much, much lower than professional football.

    ——————————————

    You really like to club us over the head with this don’t you? If there were better qualified officials that were available for hire and weren’t in the NFLRA, they would’ve got them.

    The Div I officials would’ve been the perfect replacements but unfortunately, they were unavailable without being able to tell them that they would’ve been the permanent officials. If you have a better solution, other than the NFL caving to the regular officials unreasonable demands, then have at it.

    Remember, the regular officials want to be appointed for life with no accountability. The league wants to be able to replace refs that are performing badly and to make some of the refs fulltime.

    Isn’t that worth some short term pain?

  23. jwreck says: Sep 3, 2012 2:47 PM

    I just reffed a game of touch football in the cul-de-sac between my four-year-old son and his friends, can I apply for an NFL officiating job now?

  24. ncarolinarn7 says: Sep 3, 2012 2:48 PM

    It’ll be what it is. All will have to deal with it. Not real pleased but we all have to spoon this mess down. Yum.

  25. truthfactory says: Sep 3, 2012 2:50 PM

    All things considering, I feel they’ve done a decent job.

    I support the NFL even more now that I’ve heard how much money the regular refs make to basically work 3 hours per day for 17 days out of the year.

    The NFL has a more than generous deal on the table and the Refs arent taking it… What else can you do but keep training the replacement refs? They will get better and better as the weeks go on. There has already been big improvements from week 1 of preseason till now

  26. mjkelly77 says: Sep 3, 2012 3:03 PM

    I sure wish the NFLRA wasn’t practicing intimidation on the NCAA Division I officials. They’d be the solution to all of this. But of course, the NFLRA is deathly afraid of this happening.

  27. mjkelly77 says: Sep 3, 2012 3:08 PM

    Most fans have wanted to kick the replacement officials in the butt and say, “Bad job” so far this preseason, but whether the fans like it or not …
    _______________________

    Most fans? I suppose that’s why the overwhelming majority of comments are pro NFl and anti NFLRA. The overpaid, greedy part-timers can stay home forever as far as I’m concerned.

  28. barrywhererufrom says: Sep 3, 2012 3:10 PM

    You know something even these replacement officials could be just as bad as the regular officials given the time.

  29. foosball11 says: Sep 3, 2012 3:11 PM

    lib/commie media types shilling for a union…why am I not surprised?

  30. mjkelly77 says: Sep 3, 2012 3:12 PM

    thepvyharvin says:Sep 3, 2012 2:15 PM

    6 man kids ball to NFL,,,Really? About the same a RN moving up to brain surgery ,crazy
    ________________

    Exaggerate much?

  31. realityonetwo says: Sep 3, 2012 6:31 PM

    These jokers are going to decide at least one game this weekend, probably screwing a playoff contender. After that team’s owner places a collect call to Mr. Goodell, we will see swift completion of “negotiations” with the real referees.

  32. realityonetwo says: Sep 3, 2012 6:39 PM

    It’s past time for new blood. It may be painful and sometimes ugly, but I’m in no hurry to see the same old crappy officiating.

    ——

    Are you in a hurry to see even worse officiating? Because that’s what you’re gonna get. Much worse.

  33. yelix says: Sep 3, 2012 6:40 PM

    I’m frustrated at the situation, not the replacement refs themselves. They have a really difficult job to do, and they’re doing the best they can. Sadly, their best just isn’t up to the standard that we, as fans, are used to.

  34. andrewfbrowne says: Sep 3, 2012 6:51 PM

    I would like to know what guys in the NFLRA did before they were refs, because last time I checked there is not a single college program for referees anywhere on earth. So these guys had to come from somewhere also. All this integrity of the game nonsense is just that.

  35. geo1113 says: Sep 3, 2012 7:09 PM

    Bernier has been officiating for 19 years, working high school, college and professional indoor football games during that span. His career started for a reason familiar enough to many of the fans who watch him work.

  36. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Sep 3, 2012 7:26 PM

    Look for some “too many players on the field” calls from this official.

  37. suhdidntstompanyone says: Sep 3, 2012 9:05 PM

    All of you writers at PFT have made it crystal clear where you stand as far as the replacement refs go.
    Personally I’m so sick of hearing them get bashed here that there are now times that I simply avoid the site.
    Every call they make gets nitpicked to no end.
    It’s like you guys are the schoolyard bully and you’ve identified the weak kid and you’re never going to leave him alone no matter what he does.
    Obviously these refs are not of the same caliber as the regular officials. If they were they would be the regular officials.
    Could we possibly give it a little bit of a rest and (heaven forbid) give them a couple more games to hopefully get up to par or were they just supposed to step in and be perfect right away?

  38. skinsfaninnebraska says: Sep 3, 2012 9:06 PM

    While there has obviously been a real learning curve for them, the replacements have gotten better towards the end of the preseason.

    As far as the replacements possibly affecting the outcome(s) of game(s), come on please, that has been happening with the regular officials every single week in the NFL since anyone can remember! It’s even extended as far as the Super Bowl (PIT vs SEA).

    Once they get a few more weeks of on the job training, I don’t think there will be enough of a difference anymore to be worthy of comment.

  39. mullman76 says: Sep 3, 2012 9:52 PM

    @gtstewart400: The patriots are a false dynasty, a franchise built on a bogus call and the destruction of evidence.

  40. sactogary says: Sep 3, 2012 10:14 PM

    joejoe51 says:
    Sep 3, 2012 2:41 PM
    The NFL crying about $100,000. per team for the reg. Refs is like Microsoft whining about a pay raise for their janitors, C’mon, Goodell/NFL Owners you are a 9+ BILLION dollar a year business don’t tell me you can’t afford to pay $3.2 million more a year for these Refs… That’s just being cheap!
    ————————————————
    Janitors are absolutely essential to Microsoft and every other company. So you think Microsoft would pay their janitors $150K/year if they demanded it? I’ll bet they don’t have a defined benefit pension plan, either.

  41. prospero63 says: Sep 3, 2012 10:32 PM

    Most fans? I’d be curious to know how you derived that. Because if the comments around here are any indication (and let’s face it, these are only the comments that aren’t getting pulled, like my original one on this story, factor all those in and I’d wager it’s even more) most fans understand that the old officials are making completely unrealistic requests and understand that the only thing keeping the old officials from their jobs is their union. They could come back to work any time they wanted. But they want to play hard ball and that’s fine. I hope the NFL continues to invest in their current officials and given time, gets the kind of officiating crews they want, without having to hassle with a union at all.

  42. warrenpeacephotography says: Sep 3, 2012 11:24 PM

    “Why do I keep reading things about how “most fans” dont like the new officials? In the comments section on almost every article on this I’ve read “most fans” just want football.”

    Most fans are also morons.

  43. huejackson says: Sep 3, 2012 11:31 PM

    This is not going to end well, All these refs were just fans a few months ago, so If one of these guys is say a Chargers fan and he is going to be the ref for Raiders Vs Chargers, what is going to stop him from making some bogus calls to get the out come he wants or bet on?

  44. cowboyscanada says: Sep 4, 2012 12:00 AM

    Im sure New England and the Saints will find extra ways to cheat with the replacement officials in there!

  45. bobzilla1001 says: Sep 4, 2012 12:22 AM

    huejackson:
    Nothing’s going to stop a replacement official from slanting a game to suit his own agenda; just as nothing ever stopped the regular refs from doing exactly the same things…
    I don’t know how many times my favorite team has been issued apologies from the league by Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
    Those letters usually say: Sorry for your luck. Maybe next time we’ll do better.
    Have a nice day.
    Roger Goodell

  46. commonsensedude says: Sep 4, 2012 1:00 AM

    This is a complete nightmare.

  47. billh1947 says: Sep 4, 2012 6:11 AM

    Improvement will come week to week,the replacement refs will call what they see on the field,they will figure out exactly where the ball should be spotted,they will make out of bounds catches null and void,they will save some injured hands by stepping between two players who want a piece of each other like always happens in the NFL. no need to complain as they will make some mistakes on both teams equally.

  48. redandgoldhitman52 says: Sep 4, 2012 9:40 AM

    i think the replacement refs are doing a good job. lets face it. they are rookies. rookies make mistakes. but they will learn and get better. i say keep the replacement refs.

  49. warrenpeacephotography says: Sep 6, 2012 8:40 AM

    sactogary says: “Janitors are absolutely essential to Microsoft and every other company. So you think Microsoft would pay their janitors $150K/year if they demanded it? I’ll bet they don’t have a defined benefit pension plan, either.”

    ———————–

    Good job making a really weak straw man that’s real easy to knock down! This isn’t a good parallel at all. Imagine the janitors at Microsoft asking to go from minimum wage to $15 or even $20/hour. Is that so unfair of them? That’s closer to what the refs are asking.

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