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League slams door on potential conflict of interest for replacement officials

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As the NFL continues to dig in for the long haul with its locked-out officials, the league has eliminated a potential source of preferential treatment by the replacements.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the league has now prohibited the replacement officials from working for individual teams during midweek practices.

The locked-out officials already were prevented from working for specific teams, given that receiving money from a team (and hoping to continue to do so) could influence the official during a game involving said team.  At a minimum, it creates the appearance of potential impropriety.   (Training-camp work by the officials is compensated by the league, not by the teams.)

Some of the replacements hired by the league apparently have in past years provided in-season freelance services for the individual teams.  That practice will now end.

At least until the lockout ends.

The new rule is set forth in a memo from the league to the replacement officials.  The memo contains a variety of other specific tips, including one that became an issue in the Sunday night game between the Steelers and Broncos:  “For a Coach’s Challenge to be initiated, the red flag must be on the ground, and flag must be seen by one of the seven on-field officials before the snap.”

There were other errors last week, but the league continues to have the best response to any criticism of the replacement officials:  The locked-out officials have made the same mistakes.  So unless and until the replacements find a new and dramatic way to screw things up, the locked-out officials will have no leverage.

Even then, the NFL likely will continue to circle the wagons, applying more and more pressure to men whose wives are surely wondering:  (1) where the checks are; and (2) why they now have to put up with having these guys around all weekend.

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16 Responses to “League slams door on potential conflict of interest for replacement officials”
  1. eventhorizon04 says: Sep 16, 2012 9:27 AM

    I think the locked out refs may want to consider giving up.

    When the lockout began, I was on the side of the regular refs. However, the regular refs need the replacements to be SO bad that fans launch protests and send hatemail to the league.

    While the replacement referees are worse than the regular refs (mainly because they take much longer to make even routine calls), the replacement referees are not “bad enough” for this lockout to significantly harm the reputation of the NFL.

    That means the league has more leverage, and since the replacements will only get better each week, the regular refs don’t gain much from waiting anymore.

  2. kevinwi says: Sep 16, 2012 9:52 AM

    One thing the regular officials never did….misinterpret the rules and march off the wrong yardage…I have seen that a lot by the replacements.

  3. thcnote says: Sep 16, 2012 9:57 AM

    End of the year is coming and that means property tax on those lake houses, boats, and everything else. You can bet that some of these guys live paycheck to paycheck just like rich athletes. They need the money and just like MJD they will tuck tail and come back.

  4. tannethrill says: Sep 16, 2012 9:57 AM

    God forbid the replacements get paid to practice their craft during the week.

  5. migiantsfan says: Sep 16, 2012 10:05 AM

    Must be tough for the replacement refs to be working their REGULAR jobs while “MISSING” that six six figure check for part time gig…..

  6. eagleswin says: Sep 16, 2012 10:14 AM

    I can’t believe this. ESPN has uncovered that one of the replacement refs is actually a fan of an NFL team. Stop the presses! Because of this they are roundly criticizing the use of replacement officials and are saying the only remedy to having officials who are fans of the NFL are to bring back the old officials.

    They are even cutting to a live reporter at the Saints game. Apparantly uncovering that an official is a Saints fan is ESPN’s version of Watergate.

    While I understand the NFL needs to do it’s best to avoid even the appearance of impropriety this is an overreaction of the highest order by ESPN. Yes, to avoid any appearance of impropriety, the official shouldn’t ref the game but the ref actually did not do anything wrong. ESPN is making it sound like a criminal activity.

    I’d be surprised if the old refs didn’t have favorite teams, and by the way some of there calls favor certain teams you can even guess but to make a federal case out of facebook pictures taken when they weren’t employeed by the NFL is just stupid.

  7. Iain says: Sep 16, 2012 10:18 AM

    I don’t see how this is a problem now when all of the games have been officiated by Patriots fans for the last ten years.

  8. theauger says: Sep 16, 2012 10:20 AM

    “One thing the regular officials never did….misinterpret the rules and march off the wrong yardage…”

    The NFLRA officials just make blatantly bad calls that effect the game’s outcome and then need new rules instituted in the offseason so that they don’t make that mistake again.

    ~I’m talking to you, Ed Hercules!

  9. steeltownpride says: Sep 16, 2012 10:21 AM

    The replacement refs are doing such a good job they cost the Steelers 14 points . First one was Tamme’s touchdown that didnt count . He went to the ground and didnt maintain control and lost the ball . NO TD . The second was Thomas’ 71 yard touchdown should have been brought back for defensive holding of Ryan Mundy . Cost the Steelers one win . I cant recall others as i didnt pay attention like i did for the Steelers game for obvious reasons . Hate us if you like but Facts are FACTS .

  10. alabamalowlife says: Sep 16, 2012 10:23 AM

    For all those against the locked out officials, let’s hope your employer doesn’t decide to strong arm you out of your job. The NFL makes billions, but the officials are the greedy ones?

  11. paperlions says: Sep 16, 2012 10:53 AM

    Steeltown, you don’t penalize the offense for a penalty on the defense….if there was defensive holding, the Broncos would have simply decline it. Result = TD.

    The Tamme TD is the kind of play that has been called inconsistently ever since it the rule started being employed. There is pretty much a 50/50 chance the regular refs would have called it the same way. By the way, ALL TDs are reviewed automatically and the person doing the reviewing is NOT A REPLACEMENT OFFICIAL, but the same person that always does booth reviews.

    In other words, the replacement officials cost the Steelers 0 pts. Facts do not appear to be the things you think they are.

  12. paperlions says: Sep 16, 2012 10:56 AM

    Alabama, I’m sure most people could live with the handsome raise the NFLRA was offered. Don’t confuse the NFLRA wanting more than they are offered with the NFL offering them crappy terms in the CBA. Most people never see the kinds of raises the officials are being offered, and most certainly wouldn’t turn their nose up at it.

    FWIW, if you are a fungible resource, you should run the risk of over-reaching.

  13. tdk24 says: Sep 16, 2012 10:56 AM

    So how about the nfl just decides it won’t do business with a refs union. Hire all the replacement refs as full time refs and move on.

  14. giantsfanlewis says: Sep 16, 2012 10:57 AM

    Steeltowpride

    The reg refs ADMITTED to giving your steelers the SUPERBOWL against te Seahawks so gtfoh with that crap

    Alabamalowlife

    Things like that happen all the time. It’s called highering employees who will do the SAME work for LESS money. It’s competition. When your head and sholders better you can DEMAND more money or go somewhere that will. When your at the top and have it incredibly nice(six figures for 52 days of work) then you need to just keep your mouth closed and enjoy making more then your already worth. The league is proving these clowns are not worth 6 figures and will continue to do so.

  15. lks311 says: Sep 16, 2012 11:34 AM

    steeltownpride says:
    Sep 16, 2012 10:21 AM
    The replacement refs are doing such a good job they cost the Steelers 14 points . First one was Tamme’s touchdown that didnt count . He went to the ground and didnt maintain control and lost the ball . NO TD . The second was Thomas’ 71 yard touchdown should have been brought back for defensive holding of Ryan Mundy . Cost the Steelers one win . I cant recall others as i didnt pay attention like i did for the Steelers game for obvious reasons . Hate us if you like but Facts are FACTS .
    ________________________
    The regular Refs blew the same kind of calls (see: Johnson rule, any Sunday on holding, etc.) so please stop your whining.

    And yes, we do hate you.

  16. mazblast says: Sep 16, 2012 12:42 PM

    steeltownpride–The team we love lost. Let’s not whine like a Pats (or Bengals or Cowboys) fan. Let’s move on.

    giantsfanlewis–You just WISH your team had been playing that late in that season. Deal with it.

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