NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell liked what he saw from the replacement officials who worked Wednesday night’s Cowboys-Giants regular-season opener.
“Our officials did a more than adequate job last night,” Goodell said today at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit. “I think we’ve proven we can train officials, get them up to NFL standards, and we’ve done that in a three-month period. These officials will get even better as time goes by. The game is not going to stop.”
There were definitely mistakes on Wednesday night — most notably a missed call on what should have been a defensive holding penalty against Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick on a pass to Giants receiver Victor Cruz near the goal line — but there are mistakes with the regular officials, too. And for the most part, the game was well run by referee Jim Core and the rest of the replacement crew. The NFL got through one game without the replacement officials messing things up.
The question now is whether getting through one game without disaster striking will strengthen the resolve of Goodell and the owners in their ongoing standoff with the regular officials. Goodell said he thinks the league can continue to operate with the replacement refs.
“The officials are being trained. They understand the rules,” Goodell said. “Unfortunately, officials make mistakes. We have situations every season, every week, where an official may not drop a flag for a violation and we have to fine. Officiating is an imperfect science.”
But on Wednesday night, the officiating wasn’t as imperfect as many of us feared it would be.