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When it comes to officiating, NFL wants to change system of entitlement to accountability

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While money seems to be, as it always is, the most important factor in the ongoing dispute between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association, the league has an important point that it’s pushing unrelated to dollars and cents.

The NFL wants to establish a bench of officials, who would be available to replace officials who are struggling during the season.

During a Tuesday meeting with various NBC producers and broadcasters, NFL V.P. of officiating Ray Anderson explained passionately — and persuasively — the importance of being able to pull an underperforming official off the field during a season, not after it.  Anderson said that the league intends via the lockout to change from an system of “entitlement” to “accountability.”

While officials currently are held accountable via week-to-week grading that, depending on overall performance, could get an official fired or demoted, Anderson explained that some officials become complacent once they know they won’t be getting a postseason assignment.  He also said that some officials are in shape at the outset of the season, but that they are 20 or more pounds heavier later in the year, and in turn unable to keep up with the play on the field.

Though it’s hard to discern who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to issues of money, it’s even harder to find legitimate fault with the league’s position on this issue.  It’s easy to understand why the officials don’t want to have to worry about getting benched for a backup.  Still, the officiating will never be as good as it can be without the threat of real accountability — and without the ability to swap out a poor-performing official for someone who may be in better position to excel.

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51 Responses to “When it comes to officiating, NFL wants to change system of entitlement to accountability”
  1. remok9 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:34 PM

    Man, I wish I had a job where I could totally screw up and not be held accountable.

  2. steelersfan88007 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:36 PM

    AMEN!

  3. eastsideballa says: Sep 4, 2012 10:37 PM

    F*** the old referees, f*** the cops and go Lions!

  4. greenandgold1972 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:37 PM

    Players get benched for backups and they a “little” more important to the game. Coaches and GMs are held responsible for subpar product, but the “best of the best” don’t want to be. Gee, I wonder why. Any Seahawks fans here who would like to chime in ?

  5. ghjjf says: Sep 4, 2012 10:38 PM

    Underperforming officials? 20 pounds out of shape? Complacent? Is he talking about the “real” refs? The ones who everyone supposedly wants back on the field?

  6. hutch119 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:38 PM

    This is very much needed.

  7. herrcules13 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:40 PM

    Wow, I went into this article thinking, “Ok, he’s gonna bash the league for not giving in to greedy, self-entitled officials’ union.” Pleasantly surprised.

  8. gunndlewittlebaum says: Sep 4, 2012 10:40 PM

    I say give the Refs the money they are asking for BUT fine them (just like the players) for incorrect calls. Considering how often they make mistakes, I would think that the league would break even by week seven.

  9. isu1648 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:41 PM

    How is the NFL seriously admitting with a straight face that NFL refs are not that great, and going to the lengths of saying that they get COMPLACENT?!

    This is hilarious given how many bold face lies theyve released after heavily scrutinized bad calls. I can recall many times where refs blew very obvious calls, and the league blindly defended them and disciplined anyone who dare question them. All the times theyve fined coaches for criticizing the refs that the league clearly knew all along were screwing things up. This is so hypocritical, it absolutely amazes me.

  10. realitypolice says: Sep 4, 2012 10:42 PM

    remok9 says:
    Sep 4, 2012 10:34 PM
    Man, I wish I had a job where I could totally screw up and not be held accountable.
    ===================

    Join a Teacher’s Union.

  11. theauger says: Sep 4, 2012 10:43 PM

    “Still, the officiating will never be as good as it can be without the threat of real accountability — and without the ability to swap out a poor-performing official for someone who may be in better position to excel.”

    I am glad to see you have finally pulled your head out of you bum on this issue Florio.

  12. jlb10 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:44 PM

    i do think the nfl is to blame for this mess. but i do agree with them on this point. refereeing has gotten worse and so far there has been no seen accountability

  13. djstat says: Sep 4, 2012 10:46 PM

    Break the union. The replacements will get better. Hire some money hungry former players and out of work coaches to coach up the replacement refs.

  14. maxpowr says: Sep 4, 2012 10:46 PM

    Godell claims he’s all about safety, if that’s the case then what’s he waiting for ? He’s only for safety when it benefits him.

  15. sainttimbo says: Sep 4, 2012 10:49 PM

    remok9 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:34 PM

    Man, I wish I had a job where I could totally screw up and not be held accountable.

    Then get a job at the Weather Channel.

  16. dallasfan89 says: Sep 4, 2012 10:51 PM

    Don’t care for the stance of the NFL on this topic. Referees don’t need accountability cause you want them to react quickly without fear. And if you want them to improve then you need to do it with incentives to

  17. realfann says: Sep 4, 2012 10:52 PM

    What a load of bull.

    This dispute is all about money.

    If this nonsense was indeed the real issue we would have heard of it 6 months ago and not the day before the season starts.

    Fact is that under-performing refs have always been dropped. Go check.

  18. mojosmagic says: Sep 4, 2012 10:53 PM

    A 9 billion a year industry needs full time refs. That would improve efficiency.

  19. zaggs says: Sep 4, 2012 10:54 PM

    Hold a union member accountable for their work? No wonder Trumka got pissed off.

  20. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Sep 4, 2012 10:54 PM

    I think the officials should be held more accountable.
    Sincerely, The Weather Man

  21. giantsfanlewis says: Sep 4, 2012 11:03 PM

    Seemed about time that pft put up its once a week(at 11 eastern time) view that achually represents what people achually think and care about. To bad when the people who need to read this won’t see it as by the time they get back on it will be burried by 6 articles bashing the replacement refs

  22. skinsfanwill says: Sep 4, 2012 11:04 PM

    I get that, but they sure beat the hell outta what they are putting out there now. these replacements are friggin terrible. With those performances that they have been showing, none of them would be around for more than a week. Then what? the scabs of the scabs will be refs. Bring the old guys back. Period.

  23. onehstntxn says: Sep 4, 2012 11:04 PM

    He should go play for the Jets and Rex Ryan – what a pair of braggarts!

  24. prospero63 says: Sep 4, 2012 11:05 PM

    Wait. This almost read like it wasn’t a pro-union piece. I’m confused.

  25. kairn42 says: Sep 4, 2012 11:05 PM

    …Let me get this straight…

    The “Old” refs want to replace the “replacement” refs because the “replacement” refs aren’t good enough to do the job….but the “old” refs don’t want to be replaced for not being good enough to do the job?

    ……yeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh…..

    /headdesk

  26. crunchyclam says: Sep 4, 2012 11:08 PM

    It’s not at all suspicious that the NFL chose to release this information the eve of the first game, after having the replacement refs ripped unanimously by coaches, players, and fans.

    “While officials currently are held accountable via week-to-week grading that, depending on overall performance, could get an official fired or demoted… He also said that some officials are in shape at the outset of the season, but that they are 20 or more pounds heavier later in the year”

    So the NFL’s biggest concern is fat refs in the latter part of the season, and NOT the amount of money? The NFL is trying to spin this a certain way before everyone witnesses how much worse these replacements will be once the season starts. But it isn’t surprising considering Goodell was a career PR man before becoming commish.

    What a joke.

  27. cags777 says: Sep 4, 2012 11:08 PM

    Although this has been long overdue, the NFL has enabled refs to get away with bad calls and non-calls for years that have negatively impacted games. I say it’s too little too late.

  28. sdakota says: Sep 4, 2012 11:09 PM

    I’d rather have a ref a little overweight than a guy who doesn’t have a clue, also known as a scab

  29. biasedhomer says: Sep 4, 2012 11:10 PM

    Now if they could do this with baseball umps, Id be so happy!

  30. vincentbojackson says: Sep 4, 2012 11:10 PM

    The average NFL ref took home $154,000 last year while working PART-TIME. On top of that, all of their expenses are paid while on the road for games and training.

    Sorry, no sympathy for refs that can’t get by on three-times what the average American takes home working their FULL-TIME JOB!

    Get back to work or the NFL will continue to train your permanent replacements.

  31. sampulls says: Sep 4, 2012 11:10 PM

    We vote Obama back in….the locked out officials get what they want. We vote Romney in…the NFL gets what it want.

    Simple as that.

    Go Romney!

  32. tennesseeray says: Sep 4, 2012 11:11 PM

    Darn Florio. You actually wrote an article that did not blindly support the NFLRA. What happened??????

  33. romoscollarbone says: Sep 4, 2012 11:15 PM

    They want back ups for the quality unionized refs, while they trot out back up, back up’s, back ups. Yet they claim these temps are quality and won’t affect the product.lol.

  34. carmelaanthonysoprano says: Sep 4, 2012 11:16 PM

    “Anderson said that the league intends via the lockout to change from an system of “entitlement” to “accountability.'”

    Wow, if only some sports journalism websites had something along those lines. It would be pretty cool to see Florio benched and then replaced with someone who actually knew something about sports.

  35. mjkelly77 says: Sep 4, 2012 11:18 PM

    When it comes to officiating, NFL wants to change system of entitlement to accountability
    _______________

    That’s exactly right. And the NFLRA is resisting and attempting to garner public support by trafficking in fear. I just wish that the best of the NCAA Division I official pool were hired. The greedy part-timers could stay on permanent hiatus.

  36. musicman495 says: Sep 4, 2012 11:20 PM

    This is a snow job, launched by the league is knows because they know they are losing the PR fight in this dispute – nickle and diming refs when they are making billions – and are likely to get it even worse when calls are blown or players are injured starting this weekend.

    Refs are held accountable and bad refs are replaced all the time. Please interview someone from the Refs Association so we can also get their side of the story.

  37. knucklebucket says: Sep 4, 2012 11:24 PM

    This is an example of where unions can be detrimental to job performance. If I don’t perform my job well, I will be fired. Why should these well paid part timers be any different.

  38. bittersportspills says: Sep 4, 2012 11:27 PM

    The league is using Florio as a mouthpiece for their postion. I suspect these people here backing that position are league employees on their lunch breaks.

    Bottom lines here:

    The worst NFL official is the commissioner.

    These replacement refs have been horrible and anyone with a set of eyeballs can see it.

    Despite what Florio says, you hear players and coaches begging to bring back the regular officials so the players won’t get killed on stuff these fake officials miss.

  39. fan70 says: Sep 4, 2012 11:56 PM

    How about we hire a backup commisioner so we can just replace Goodell when he underperforms.

  40. robgilman says: Sep 5, 2012 12:09 AM

    Finally, some sense is being brought to the issue. I think they may be getting somewhere!

  41. marcinhouston says: Sep 5, 2012 12:47 AM

    Accountable to who? A truly independent review board composed of NFLPA and team nominated representatives, or just accoutable to Roger Gooddell and his direct reports. Goodell already has too much power and if he gets a new set of sticks and carrots to force individual refs to play along with his agenda it will be too much. With the wrong system in place, it won’t matter if independent review or the justice system overturn Goodell’s defamation and attack on players, he will just be able to get them back through control of refs and suspending refs who dont call enough flags on players and teams he dislikes.

  42. crunchyclam says: Sep 5, 2012 1:01 AM

    Cry babies everywhere. How many people are going to post some variation of “If I pulled this in MY job I’d get canned!” or “These guys already get TOO GOOD a deal!”?

    Well fellas, what’s stopping you from becoming an NFL ref (or player, or anyone associated with the NFL who makes money)? Comparing the standards of your job to the NFL (most valuable sports league in the world) is ridiculous. Bunch of self-pitying bums.

  43. scytherius says: Sep 5, 2012 1:57 AM

    While I am definitely in the Official’s corner on this whole thing, on the surface, this sure sounds like a good idea to me.

  44. geeforcer says: Sep 5, 2012 2:57 AM

    Whether NFL is a $9 Billion or $9 thousand business does not mean that they should automatically overpay every empolyee they have above and beyond what the said employee actually contributes to the bottom line. Walmart is $100 Billion/year business, should they pay greeters $100K a year?

  45. joetoronto says: Sep 5, 2012 4:32 AM

    Union members cannot be held accountable for their actions. The only way to change it would be to bust the union.

    Time to bust the union.

  46. watchfullhose says: Sep 5, 2012 6:54 AM

    Always funny when a bunch of entitled people complain about people acting entitled.

  47. jimmysee says: Sep 5, 2012 6:59 AM

    Refs work as a team. Pulling someone out and inserting someone else because of perceived shortcomings will hurt the entire team.

    Annual performance reviews are consistent with typical jobs in most industries.

    If you are complaining because of the fear of getting fired every day, you’re probably delivering pizzas.

  48. thelastpieceofcheese says: Sep 5, 2012 7:33 AM

    I propose a simple rule: referee misses a call, victimized player gets a free swing at the ref.

  49. m2karateman says: Sep 5, 2012 8:37 AM

    If this is truly how the league feels, then why do they defend the referees so much when coaches and players criticize them when they make mistakes? Many times the coaches and players are correct and have a legitimate right to complain, yet the league will fine them into keeping them quiet.

    Kinda doesn’t make sense.

  50. mjkelly77 says: Sep 5, 2012 9:08 AM

    crunchyclam says:Sep 4, 2012 11:08 PM

    It’s not at all suspicious that the NFL chose to release this information the eve of the first game, after having the replacement refs ripped unanimously by coaches, players, and fans …
    ____________________

    Actually, the accountability issue has been a known point of contention since the first stories of this impasse were released. Pay attention.

  51. bluebongzilla says: Sep 5, 2012 5:19 PM

    Make their employment contingent on a weekly physical. Suspend or fine referees for calling penalties that did not actually occur. Nothing makes me as mad as some dumb ref calling something that didn’t happen. I can understand missing things that happened. But if it didn’t happen, YOU DIDN’T SEE IT HAPPEN.

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