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NFLRA responds to league’s effort to create “bench” of officials

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On Tuesday, NFL V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson made a compelling case for the development of a bench of officials, who would replace during the season “starting” officials whom the league believes should be removed from action.

On Wednesday, the NFL Referees Association responded.

“The concept of hiring an additional 21 officials was raised for the first time by the NFL by a letter dated July 19, 2012,” NFLRA spokesman Mike Arnold told PFT via email.  “It proposed that the NFL could hire 21 additional officials but not pay them – it wants the current 121 officials to pay them.  This is not fair or reasonable and demonstrates that it is a negotiating ploy not a serious proposal.”

It seemed like a serious proposal on Tuesday.  Anderson was passionate, and persuasive, regarding his views on the topic.

“If the NFL was seriously concerned about this issue why was it never raised or discussed in the 10 months of negotiations prior to July 19?” Arnold said.  “The answer is obvious – it is not a serious proposal at all.”

The NFL contends that the late addition of the issue makes it no less important.  “That’s how collective bargaining works,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email.  “Concepts develop as you bargain. It happened in the CBA negotiations.”

The question of whether it’s a serious proposal will depend on how aggressively the NFL pushes it.  If the league surrenders on the point in exchange for a concession by the officials on another issue, then maybe it really was a ploy.

If it is a ploy, it shouldn’t be.  It’s important to have real accountability, in every line of work.

The NFLRA says that accountability already exists.  “The current 121 NFL officials are professionals dedicated to maintaining a high standard of officiating,” Arnold said.  “The NFL utilizes a detailed evaluation system to grade officials on every play of every game.  The NFL has indicated that the accuracy percentage of the real referees is 98% – 99%.  The Commissioner recently confirmed this and has stated that the NFL respects and values its real officials.  Clearly Ray Anderson hasn’t gotten the message from the Commissioner as he continues his ill informed attacks on the real officials.

“The reality is that the NFL monitors its real officials constantly and has a training program in place to immediately address any performance issues. This coupled with the real officials pride and professionalism have always made them accountable,” Arnold added.  “This latest from Ray Anderson is a distraction from the real focus which is to get back to the table to work toward reaching a fair CBA.”

We hope that happens.  But it may not occur until the pendulum swings one way or the other after the first set of regular-season games.

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45 Responses to “NFLRA responds to league’s effort to create “bench” of officials”
  1. sdb0ltz says: Sep 5, 2012 1:42 PM

    Helloooo 2012-2013 Season!!!

    Gooooodbyyyeee Integrity of game!

  2. blackandbluedivision says: Sep 5, 2012 1:42 PM

    Don’t mess up. Then you won’t have to pay for replacement officials. Simple.

  3. supafinger says: Sep 5, 2012 1:43 PM

    Just wait until after this weekend refs… I am sure there will be some game that is incorrectly decided by the replacement refs or some terrible call will be made. You will have the upper hand at that point.

  4. blackandbluedivision says: Sep 5, 2012 1:44 PM

    The NFL negotiating tactics stink. They pulled this same stunt with the Players: Fake proposals at the last minute.

    What is the NFL doing during all this time before the offseason when the players/referee contracts expire other than planning to lock them out?

  5. deadeye says: Sep 5, 2012 1:45 PM

    The NFLRA doesn’t want accountability. It’s the ugly reality of unions, they will protect members at any expense. We’ll see how it all turns out after the final agreement. But if the NFLRA had their way, no official would ever get fired or reprimanded for any reason.

  6. moagecu says: Sep 5, 2012 1:47 PM

    I am all for this. If a ref makes some awful calls during the season, bench him and bring scene else in. There needs to be accountability. In every job there is someone gunning for your job, why can’t this be the same for the refs.

  7. eaglesw00t says: Sep 5, 2012 1:47 PM

    121 officials.

    $30 million dollars in pay for 2012. Thats $247,933 per official total value (yes, I know Im not including pension/retired officials, etc)

    They refuse to be held accountable for their performance, with the exception of a grading system to be used for playoff appearances.

    They refuse to be full time employees, and only work 50 days per year, yet want pension benefits, and full health coverage.

    And still remain $70 million apart on what the referees feel they should be paid. Holy cow, they are some greedy sons of guns…

  8. hail74 says: Sep 5, 2012 1:49 PM

    2k/hour with 401k seems pretty good to me.

  9. dmartin17 says: Sep 5, 2012 1:51 PM

    Every week the refs hold out the further the fall into irrelevancy.

  10. makimaguro says: Sep 5, 2012 1:56 PM

    You would think that the NFL works for the NFLRA with some of these aggressive public remarks they have been using.

  11. pilonflats says: Sep 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    Im so tired of hearing union propaganda/fiction. Can we please revert to the old ways and talk about football? Please?

  12. csilojohnson says: Sep 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    Grading performance does not create accountability. 99-98%? What sport are they watching?

  13. eyedocjay says: Sep 5, 2012 2:07 PM

    TAKE THE DEAL!! Are these Ref’s serious?! They work at most 24 days/yr (including pre/post season) and make well over $100k for those days…Throw in insurances and weekend travel…I’m ready to close my practice and apply!! Seriously, you’re fighting one of the biggest businesses in the country and think you’re going to win…Have the players taught you nothing!!

  14. firstclasspack says: Sep 5, 2012 2:10 PM

    Let me get this straight. The “REAL” refs are bragging about being right 98-99% of the time. Let’s take a minute to break that down.

    The average NFL game has about 130 plays…multiply that by the 256 regular season games that will be played this year and you get 33,280 plays. If they are wrong 2% of the time then that means they are wrong 665 times per year. I wouldn’t be bragging about that! Maybe the replacement refs will be wrong 1,000 times or maybe even 2,000 times but the”REAL” refs want to double dip. They want a retirement plan from their part time NFL gigs and they also probably have a retirement plan from their full time jobs….not to mention 2 salaries which are both higher than most people make total.

    Somebody needs to tell these “REAL” refs to S.T.F.U. and stop looking like idiots and take the ridiculously huge amounts of money they are being offered and get back to work.

    I’ll live with replacement refs and still enjoy my football games every week. Every team is at the same disadvantage.

  15. micronin127 says: Sep 5, 2012 2:11 PM

    Tonight’s game is a good litmus test. It’s a big game: Giants vs. Cowboys.

    If the outcome is impacted by the replacement refs, there may be some urgency to make a concession and get a deal.

    However, if the replacement refs do a passable job tonight… the NFL will proceed with the lockout as planned.

  16. norseyapper says: Sep 5, 2012 2:11 PM

    What an idiotic thing to say that the 121 officials are being asked to pay the addtional 21!

    NFLRA: You are part time, by your choice and that means you don’t get paid when you don’t work. The NFL will pay the officials that are on the field any given week and to say anything else proves you to be liars.

    The idea of holding officials accountable for their performance every week and not giving them a certain spot on the field if they have gained weight and/or aren’t doing the job is ESSENTIAL.

    If the NFLRA can’t or won’t accept this then we’ll have to watch the fill in bozos for a year until we get the kind of deal that is needed to insure gthe best possible officiating in every NFL game.

  17. andrewfbrowne says: Sep 5, 2012 2:14 PM

    I am astonished at the tone of the response, “Clearly Ray Anderson hasn’t gotten the message from the Commissioner as he continues his ill informed attacks on the real officials.” No wonder a deal can’t be made, both sides have dug in and one side is throwing personal public insults at the other. It is symptomatic of American discourse right now, “us versus them” and fight to the bitter end. It is sad really.

  18. elijason says: Sep 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    I don’t care!

  19. hutch119 says: Sep 5, 2012 2:17 PM

    The NFL has indicated that the accuracy percentage of the real referees is 98% – 99%

    Lol.

  20. rockthered1286 says: Sep 5, 2012 2:18 PM

    Right now you have 32 teams/fanbases that want the refs back. With every passing week, teams that continue to rack up W’s will be less inclined to care about the ref’s “woe is me” ploy, and thus happier with the replacements. Of course the other side of the spectrum is the teams going winless who want the refs back and claim it on missed calls, but it’s still less than the 100% backing they have now.

  21. thewizardofbs says: Sep 5, 2012 2:19 PM

    This lockout has to stop! It has caused a shortage of flag-football refs in our city and my grandson’s flag football game was cancelled because there were no refs!

  22. abengalfan says: Sep 5, 2012 2:20 PM

    Note to NFLRA
    This is what this fan hears from you

    blah,blah,blah.

    I make 50k a yr w/ no pension.
    Considering your members are working a 2nd job at over 100k a year w/ a pension,,,stuff a sock in it already.

  23. honkeyt says: Sep 5, 2012 2:26 PM

    When is Walt Coleman going to be held accoutable?

  24. jpb12 says: Sep 5, 2012 2:27 PM

    These guys are part time. Who gets a full pension when they’re part time.

    Bad referees were around before the lockout and will be afterwards. They can be replaced.

  25. sdakota says: Sep 5, 2012 2:38 PM

    gee, the nfl says they are offering x amount and some people take them at their word. why? have they ever told the truth before? screw nfl management, the scabs and the scab lovers

  26. brewfangrb says: Sep 5, 2012 2:38 PM

    If the officials are “accountable” merely because they are rated after every game and the accuracy percentage is allegedly 98-99%, then how does that explain how clearly awful officials, like Tripplette, are still around?

    Frankly, neither side is really doing itself any favors. The real officials ARE likely to be far better than the replacements at first and that’s basically the NFLRA’s only argument. I want the fewest mistakes on-field, period. The NFLRA’s crying about pay, pension, accountability, etc just fall on deaf ears to me.

    The NFL, on the other hand, is a stupidly profitable operation and it’s refusal to budge on costs that ultimately add up to an imperceptible difference in their bottom line just irritates me. They are cutting off their nose to spite their face.

  27. marima07 says: Sep 5, 2012 2:48 PM

    Walt Coleman made the right call. Whether there should be a “Tuck Rule” or not is a whole different question.

    By the way, what happens if the replacement refs do a phenomenal job in Week 1?

  28. dadawg77 says: Sep 5, 2012 3:06 PM

    NFL refs maker more then me but I’m jealous out mad they are fighting for what they want.

    NFLRA means by saying the nfl wants the refs to pay for the bench is, NFL proposed a pool of money to compensate the refs and wants to add 21 people without increasing the size of the pool. Thus less for the 121 refs.

    This week is a game of chicken right now. The scab refs performance pin the preseason leads the NFLRA to believe there will be a major screw up. NFL hopes there isn’t. Lockout will be resolved within two weeks with the answer to that question determining who wins.

  29. gisellichek says: Sep 5, 2012 3:08 PM

    There should be a penalty for excessive use of replay by the referees and it should be they get fined for every call they make that gets overturned by instant replay.

  30. cwwgk says: Sep 5, 2012 3:08 PM

    “‘The reality is that the NFL monitors its real officials constantly and has a training program in place to immediately address any performance issues. This coupled with the real officials pride and professionalism have always made them accountable,’ Arnold added.”

    A training program and the refs own pride are what they consider a system of accountability?

    How do the locked out refs expect to be taken seriously?

  31. cubano76 says: Sep 5, 2012 3:14 PM

    @ Real Refs, these current refs aren’t always going to suck. They will get better, over time (just like you did). You’ll better get back to work before it’s too late and the blown calls start to go down.

  32. jsbrasha says: Sep 5, 2012 3:15 PM

    Some crazy NFL propaganda here. Did you not read what the NLFRA said? The NFL says they want the salary for the potential replacement refs to come out of the current salary pool without an increase in that pool. Wouldn’t any of us object in that situation?

    Both sides need to stop f-ing around. The “real” refs are very replaceable in the long-term, but using a trial by fire approach this season to train new crews will damage the 2012-13 product significantly.

  33. eaglesw00t says: Sep 5, 2012 3:30 PM

    cwwgk says:
    Sep 5, 2012 3:08 PM
    “‘The reality is that the NFL monitors its real officials constantly and has a training program in place to immediately address any performance issues. This coupled with the real officials pride and professionalism have always made them accountable,’ Arnold added.”

    A training program and the refs own pride are what they consider a system of accountability?

    How do the locked out refs expect to be taken seriously?

    —————

    I conocur. I dont believe they know what accountable truly means.

  34. pilonflats says: Sep 5, 2012 3:32 PM

    marima07, walt coleman did NOT make the right call. He did NOT call the tuck rule on the field. That was the excuse the head of officiating gave AFTER THE FACT in the announcers booth trying to explain away the joke on the field. Go look it up :)

  35. skinsfaninnebraska says: Sep 5, 2012 3:33 PM

    Wow, the NFLRA crews have been 98% to 99% correct in their calls all these years? Did the league seriously just say that?

    There’s about as much chance of that being an accurate assessment as there is of Rex Grossman making the Hall of Fame!

    And, even if it WAS accurate, isn’t it amazing how that 1% to 2% always seems to directly affect the outcome of a close game.

  36. mwindle1973 says: Sep 5, 2012 3:45 PM

    Probably half or more NFL fans are casual fans only. Meaning they won’t start paying any attention to football until the 1st game. They may know there is a lockout, and they may know some of the details. But they haven’t watched a game yet. When the entire collection of NFL fans shows up to the TV to watch this Sunday for the 1st time this year, the dissatisfaction will start to swell. By week 2 or 3 it will be to a fever pitch. And I bet that the average fan isn’t going to care about details. They are just going to want a deal and the old refs back. That is unless these replacements can somehow get it together and ref the games at close to the same level as the regular refs. But that’s not going to happen. You may have a few individual refs that are close to the normal standard. But as crews and as a whole they are going to be way off the mark.

  37. apopnj says: Sep 5, 2012 3:52 PM

    I wonder how the handicappers will handicap the games with replacement officials. Can you handicap that? how is that factored into the equation? There will be blown calls that can cause games to go the other way. This should be fun.

  38. apopnj says: Sep 5, 2012 3:58 PM

    to skinsfaninnebraska says:

    Well considering lets say there are 5000 calls during the season play: 1% is 50 missed calls during the season. Those 50 calls could have negative effects for some if not all those games. 2% is 100 missed calls. So you see the 1-2% is deceiving when it comes to stats. 1-2% can mean hundreds of bad call depending on the number of total calls that were made during the season. So, yes i would agree that 1-2 % of calls were missed if you look at the numbers but as you can see 1-2% is really not that good.

  39. mwindle1973 says: Sep 5, 2012 3:59 PM

    skinsfaninnebraska says: Sep 5, 2012 3:33 PM

    Wow, the NFLRA crews have been 98% to 99% correct in their calls all these years? Did the league seriously just say that?

    There’s about as much chance of that being an accurate assessment as there is of Rex Grossman making the Hall of Fame!

    And, even if it WAS accurate, isn’t it amazing how that 1% to 2% always seems to directly affect the outcome of a close game.
    _______________________

    Most NFL games have 130-170 or more plays when including kickoffs, punts, FGs & dead plays. 150 plays @ 98% accuracy = 3 mistakes. I don’t think the regular refs make more mistakes than that on average. There may be another 2-3% of the calls that could be in a questionable category. Where one could argue a bad call was made. But overall that seems pretty accurate to me.

  40. Getoffmylawn! says: Sep 5, 2012 4:21 PM

    If the Ref’s were so good at their job, why do the coaches have to carry a red challenge flag? Then we have figured out that the coaches need more challenges than they already get.
    The regular Ref’s suck too!

  41. bloodisred says: Sep 5, 2012 4:24 PM

    So much “hate” directed at the officials. Let’s remember it’s the NFL who has locked the Refs out (just as they did the players last year). Seems that if the NFL doesn’t get it’s way, fair/open negotiation isn’t an option.

  42. sullijo1 says: Sep 5, 2012 4:31 PM

    “It’s important to have real accountability, in every line of work.”

    ……except for when unions are involved.

    Watch the documentary “Waiting for Superman” if you want to see what Unions have done to the opportunity for inner-city children to receive a quality education.

    Warning: it’s disgusting, take your blood pressure med’s in advance!

  43. omikeyboy says: Sep 5, 2012 4:32 PM

    It seems to me for every greedy entity grabbing their perceived slice of the pie, the people who ultimately suffer are the fans. When it costs well over $600 to bring a small family to a football game something is wrong. Seriously wrong.

    It’s time the entire NFL wakes up to this simple fact, and the fans begin to boycott the games.

    Until that is done, you are condoning the madness.

  44. patpatriotagain says: Sep 5, 2012 5:06 PM

    if condi were commish, she’d go Ronald Reagan on them, fire em all, and tell them they can come back as non-union employees.

    I can dream can’t i?

  45. skinsfaninnebraska says: Sep 5, 2012 6:06 PM

    Maybe I was wrong to dispute the 98% to 99% assessment.

    However, after 40+ years as a football fan there is no doubt in my mind that NFL game officials tend to blow the most calls when close games are at a turning point. Even with replay review there are many times they just can’t seem to get it right, and that is what is the most frustrating thing.

    Bottom line, the NFLRA seems to think their crews are irreplaceable, but they are dead wrong.

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