In Week One, the replacement officials looked the part, acted the part, and sounded the part.
In Week Two, they didn’t.
So after Monday night’s debacle in Atlanta, the NFL and the locked-out officials are gonna work this out, right? Wrong.
We’re told that there are still no talks, more than two weeks after the two sides made a late run at getting it done by the start of the season. And now that each side senses wobbly legs on the other side of the table, no one will pick up the phone.
It’s a simple reality of negotiations. Whoever makes the first move is deemed to be overly anxious to do a deal. So the NFL will wait for the NFL Referees Association to call, and vice-versa.
‘This is not the NFL that we are used to seeing and we need to somehow light a fire under both sides to get back to the table, lock a door, and don’t leave until you have a deal,” FOX rules analyst and former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira said earlier today on The Dan Patrick Show.
But that’s the problem. There’s no one to light a fire. Perhaps more accurately, there’s no Moe Howard to clunk heads together.
The NFLPA possibly could give the league a kick in the butt muscle by filing a lawsuit or a grievance. Congress could definitely get the league’s attention by convening a hearing (and then everyone complaining about the replacement officials would complain that Congress has better things to do).
The key will be for the locked-out officials to make the first move. “These regular guys I know do want to get back on the field because they’re hating what they see now,” Pereira said. That meshes with what NBC officiating consultant Jim Daopoulos told Peter King in this week’s MMQB. “The officials want to talk. They want to be back on the field. To a man, they want to come back,” Daopoulos said.
And the NFL knows it. And so the NFL will continue to hold firm, hoping that the next day, hour, or minute will be the day, hour, or minute when the phone rings.
The sooner the officials realize that and make the call, the sooner this will all get worked out.