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Officials lockout reaches tipping point, for both sides

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When it comes to public opinion, there are no formulas and little objectivity.  People think what they think, and they cling to the facts that support their views.

It doesn’t matter if the facts are wrong or outweighed by other facts.  People think what they want to think, and once they’ve established a line of thought it’s hard to turn it around.

That dynamic is becoming increasingly important when it comes to the lockout of the NFL’s officials because more and more people now think that it needs to end.

Every Monday during the season, I get up too early and head back down to 30 Rock for a visit with the fine folks at Morning Joe.  After Week One and Week Two, there was no talk about the officials.  Today, despite one of the most compelling slate of games in recent (or distant) memory, the Willie Geist, Mike Barnicle, and Andrea Mitchell wanted to talk primarily about the mistakes made by the replacement officials.  (Mika Brzezinski didn’t have anything to add, primarily because she has no interest in the NFL.)

The fact that the dispute has crossed over to a mainstream news show is very bad for the NFL.  Though the league has not (yet) had a game that was decided by a bad call at a critical moment, the thread of actual and perceived incompetence is getting thicker and more consistent, with big mistakes happening even though the league supervisor who is in direct contact with an eighth official on the sidelines moved as of Week Three into the replay booth.

They say it’s better to be lucky than good.  The NFL has been lucky that the replacement officials, who aren’t good, have yet to clearly cause a team to lose a game.

But that may not matter.  The tidal wave of public sentiment is growing.  And the league needs to fix this before any further damage is done to the game.

The locked-out officials have a stake in this, too.  As the labor dispute continues, fans will be more and more likely to scrutinize every mistake the regular officials make, and there will be a loud portion of the NFL audience that now has plenty of ammunition to legitimize the rants against the refs.  Already, the pressure will be greater than it ever has been.  As this mess lingers, the pressure awaiting the locked-out officials only will grow.

And even though the NFL has done its best to tune out the external criticism, it’s fair to wonder whether the complaints being made publicly are mirrored by private communications from owners and team executives to the league office.  Although the NFL has managed to muzzle the non-players whose interests directly ride on the performance of the replacements, it’s safe to say they’re not being silent in their discussions with the powers-that-be on Park Avenue.

UPDATE 8:53 a.m. ET:  Further proof that the officiating debacle has become mainstream news comes from the fact that the main headline on Drudge is “Football Follies.”

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70 Responses to “Officials lockout reaches tipping point, for both sides”
  1. terry4505 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:06 AM

    I would venture that the Phantom whistle by the ref in the Buc-Cowboys game on the second Romo fumble that the Bucs were forced to challenge cost the Buccaneers the game.

    In recent years, the regular refs have stopped blowing the whistle on those close fumble calls allowing the game to play out in the event that it is in fact a fumble and the defensive team returns it.

    Once the whistle blows, there is no going back.

  2. stoney18 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:08 AM

    If I was an NFL owner, I would certainly be bringing as much leverage as I possibly could to get the professional refs back on the field. The Sunday night game was ……. (can’t find the words.)

    Between this and the league’s “handling” of the alleged bounty program with the Saints, there is a problem at NFL Central in NYC.

  3. stealersfannot says: Sep 24, 2012 8:09 AM

    Cant they just settle on some hybrid pension/401k structure? Why is this a one-or-the-other dispute?

  4. shallweride says: Sep 24, 2012 8:09 AM

    The nfl needs to bring back the referees before the integrity of the game is utterly destroyed. Did anyone see the pats ravens game last night? Despite being a bills and bengals fan I couldn’t help but feel bad for both teams

  5. kurtrundell says: Sep 24, 2012 8:10 AM

    The refs are doing the best they can in a no-win situation. Fans, players, coaches and media are looking for someone to blame.

  6. mattolikesthevikes says: Sep 24, 2012 8:11 AM

    If they don’t bring them back players should try to encourage their fans to do the same chant as the ravens were doing last night. Chanting “BS” would even have the networks turning on the NFL. However, I guess if I get laid off I could always apply to be a ref and would probably be their top candidate, being as how I know ate am only has three time outs and two challenges, not five.

  7. jthv83 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:11 AM

    The Bucs were down 10-7 in the 3rd and suffering from ZERO offense when the officials blew the fumble call on Romo which was picked up and returned for a TD. The ball was clearly out as soon as LDE Bennett hit Romo and as he fell to the ground the ball was scooped up by Eric Wright about 6 yards away from the sack.

    This blown call was reversed, because of a Bucs challenge however it cost the Bucs a much needed defensive score. The Bucs lost by 6 …

    The refs cost the Bucs an advantage they sorely needed … and in the end, it cost the Bucs the game.

    Done.

  8. 2ndaryinsanity says: Sep 24, 2012 8:20 AM

    We fans have been caught in the middle long enough. We pay ridiculous amounts of money to attend games… games that have become a joke thanks to the inept replacement ref’s. The League has little incentive to bring back the regular officials….they’re still getting the revenue from the TV networks. Fans are still attending games for 2 reasons: most have already purchased the tickets; we love football and there are only 16 games in the season (not like baseball or basketball that have over 100 games), so we’d rather see bad football than no football at all.
    Until last night, I thought there was nothing we could do about the situation. Thanks to the Ravens fans, I now believe there IS something we can do…..
    Everyone in the stadium needs to chant “BS” throughout the game. The networks will get in hot water with the FCC, but they can’t bleep out a chant that goes on and on. If they get fined for it, the networks will be pissed. Goodell doesn’t listen to/care about the fans, but he WILL listen to the networks.

  9. larryed says: Sep 24, 2012 8:21 AM

    Our group has decided to fore-go football until the real refs come back. It’s too difficult to watch.

  10. tdshouldbeinthehall says: Sep 24, 2012 8:23 AM

    All I have to say is you get 90 seconds in the replay booth. 90 SECONDS, MAKE A DECISION AND MOVE ON.

  11. redlishus says: Sep 24, 2012 8:23 AM

    Game not decided by the referees Florio? How about the extra 12 yards giving to the Titans in overtime to put them in field goal range. Inexcusable to mark off the distance from the wrong 44 yard line.

  12. mswravens says: Sep 24, 2012 8:24 AM

    I despise Paul Tagliabue…but in fairness, I don’t recall the integrity of the league being a matter of constant challenge (bounty gate, replacement refs, ticks tack personal foul rules) pre-Goodell…he is NOT proving to be a very good steward of The Game!

  13. arm57romg says: Sep 24, 2012 8:25 AM

    terry4505 says:
    Sep 24, 2012 8:06 AM
    I would venture that the Phantom whistle by the ref in the Buc-Cowboys game on the second Romo fumble that the Bucs were forced to challenge cost the Buccaneers the game.

    In recent years, the regular refs have stopped blowing the whistle on those close fumble calls allowing the game to play out in the event that it is in fact a fumble and the defensive team returns it.

    Once the whistle blows, there is no going back.

    ———————————————————-

    As opposed to the missed call on helmet to helmet on the QB that would’ve negated the call? Or the 2 terrible spots that have the Bucs a 1st down, or the Terrible Felix Jones spot on the 3rd and long? Or the other helmet to helmet shot on Romo?

    It works both ways.

  14. nyg201 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:25 AM

    ROGER GOODELL must GO! He has done a horrible job since replacing Paul Tagliabue. Time to give this man a pink slip.

    This is why giving one man all this power is bad for the game. Get rid of him! He is bringing down this league all on his own! The UFL and NCAA both have better officiating than this year’s NFL.

    With each passing week these games get harder to watch. As a fan I’m spotting more calls than these lame officials. I’m tired of saying its not there fault, but it IS. These are basic calls that are being missed. BASIC!

    LIKE IF YOU AGREE!

  15. cometkazie says: Sep 24, 2012 8:27 AM

    I firmly believe that nothing will change until the gambling industry’s bottom line is affected. Then the NFL will respond, “How high do you want us to jump?”

    I don’t believe any of the replay system is done for “fairness,” just the illusion of fairness.

    The college games I watch flow. NFL games don’t. Notice the difference in body language between high level NCAA and the NFL officials: confidence vs tentative.

    I officiated track and field at the highest college level. They tell us the best officiating is when you aren’t noticed. It’s difficult to translate that to football.

    The NFL has blown it.

  16. gtodriver says: Sep 24, 2012 8:27 AM

    I would have to say that the “regular” officials had better be agreeable to the NFL’s desire for:

    1. 7 full time officials – one for each refereeing position to help train officials and improve overall performance. Why is the union fighting this?

    2. 3 extra crews of officials to replace officials to create a larger pool of trained referees and to help groom rookie refs into the professional game. This would allow a trained talent pool to draw from if some of the current refs are not performing to standards. Why is the union fighting this?

    The money issue is way overstated.

    Currently 120 officials split an $18,000,000.00 salary pool. No one can honestly say that these officials are “underpaid” for what they do. The NFL has offered a 5 – 11% salary increase for each year of the current contract proposal.

    The only other issue is the desire by the NFL to switch from a defined benefit plan to a 401K.

    If these officials are as smart as they claim to be – they should be able to manage their 401K well enough to equal or surpass the benefits of a defined benefit plan.

  17. gtodriver says: Sep 24, 2012 8:34 AM

    stoney18 says:

    “If I was an NFL owner, I would certainly be bringing as much leverage as I possibly could to get the professional refs back on the field. The Sunday night game was ……. (can’t find the words.)”

    The NFL owners are the one’s that have locked out the officials – because they are unwilling to be held accountable for their performance.

    “Between this and the league’s “handling” of the alleged bounty program with the Saints, there is a problem at NFL Central in NYC.”

    There is no “alledged” bounty program.

    Payton has admitted to it.

    Loomis has admitted to it.

    Williams has admitted to it.

    What do you need to accept it really happened?

    A video tape of Vilma handing over the $10,000.00 and a signed copy of his “rules” to “get paid”?

  18. majbobby says: Sep 24, 2012 8:35 AM

    The numbers show that the replacement refs are not that much different than the locked out refs. Here are the reasons it is constantly covered.

    1. Gives the losing team and easy excuse.
    2. They have been placed under a microscope, where the normal officials have not.
    3. Liberal (Pro-Union) Media – Not being political here just the truth.

    Fact there has not been a game lost by a bad call, can you say that about the locked out babies?

  19. sjoyner59 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:37 AM

    Its long over due to get this done,I fault the man entrusted with entirely to much power(judge,jury and executioner himself) Rodger Goodell,quit being hard headed and get it done !

  20. braven4evr says: Sep 24, 2012 8:37 AM

    as long as we (the fan) keeps watching and filling the stadiums, the owners won’t care and will keep counting $$$!

  21. unionsblow1 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:39 AM

    Look, the best teams still won each and every game. were ther mistakes ? sure. But I still had a blast watching 12 hours of football yesterday, and we have the new refs to thank for that. At least they show up for work and try their best. That’s more than I can say for those old, slow, overpaid, coddled, unionized jerks that we used to be stuck with on Sunday.

  22. righton989 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:39 AM

    Clearly you do not run a company with union employees. You can’t fire them, you can’t discipline them and you can’t replace dead wood or poor performance. The demise of GM, Chrysler and many major other U.S. companies are a direct result of having to employ an inflexible workforce and a management who is willing to rollover to keep labor peace.

  23. steveop24 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:42 AM

    There was a play in the bills-browns game where fitzpatrick lost control of a pass and it fell out of his hand. When the ball hit the ground it was whistled dead, ending the play. For some reason these officials reviewed the play, and decided it was actually a fumble ( even though they clearly whistled the play dead) and turned te ball over to cleveland. Buffalo was inside the 20 on a good looking drive. This blown call took almost guaranteed points off the board for buffalo, at least three. This dispute needs to get settled ASAP.

  24. tarmacjerry says: Sep 24, 2012 8:46 AM

    I beg the question: Why can’t the NFL use Div I (SEC, ACC, Big 12, etc.) officials?
    Are they apart of the same union?
    Do they not have the stamina to call games on consecutive games?
    Somebody enlighten me…

  25. belichickrulz says: Sep 24, 2012 8:51 AM

    As long as the NFL is happy with amateur hour referees officiating their games, they should not even consider sanctioning any coach for acting unprofessionally towards them. These “refs” are a joke. The only good thing that can be said about them is that they screw both teams equally with their incompetence.

  26. rainponcho87 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:52 AM

    I think this article touches on a bigger subject, which is even if/when the regular refs come back, the game is in transition as to what is legal and illegal and there is a lot of grey area in how the rules are being applied.

    I used to think I knew what pass interference was. Now it gets called really randomly, both on defense and offense. Unneccesary roughness is also a total unknown. Yesterday I saw Dashon Goldson on the 49ers hit the vikings TE solidly using his shoulder to the other guy’s chest. It was a hard hit that in the Ronny Lott days everyone would be saying “great play”. Now he gets flagged. But last week Alex Smith runs and slides and the Lions defender (who was later fined) hits him in the head, causing his helmet to cut the bridge of his nose. No flag. I am by no means saying calls are going against my team one-sidedly. I am just saying I have no understanding of how the rules are being applied.

    Football is morphing something kinder and gentler, a process facilitated through the rules, but the transition is not a smooth one, leaving everyone a little bit confused right now, not the least of which are the refs.

  27. tink65 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:55 AM

    I can’t wait to see what type of media coverage/outrage there is when the regular refs come back and make bad calls. Because, they will make bad calls!! The major reason this is the “top story” is because the media is making it the top story. Al Michaels couldn’t shut up about the calls – however, he was wrong on most of the ones he made a fuss about. I certainly hope the media is on constant alert and points out every flaw once the regulars come back. I think we will then see the replacements haven’t been as bad as the media wants you to believe.

  28. emmonsh says: Sep 24, 2012 8:55 AM

    i dont see a problem with the refs. no diff than any other sunday. also the girl that says mishandle of the bounty. alleged. come moron taint fan. you have no cred. the taints suck and so does your opinion.

  29. justafanofitall says: Sep 24, 2012 8:57 AM

    As a huge fan of NFL Football, other than allowing a few extra time outs, challenges etc I don’t see too much wrong with the refs. First off what I see is all pro corners not getting away with holding or shoving as they had in the past….this would tend to piss off coaches and players. 2nd off..seems like this year, every time a receiver drops a pass the QB and reciever are looking for pass interference. I will probably get alot of flak but I think the officials are doing a pretty good job. Al Michaels and Collingsworth even agree as they talked about each call in showing the film….officials got it right. Yes it is taking a lot longer for games as they have to talk about rules amongst themselves. Goes to show…college and NFL should be playing by the same rules. Even players get confused from time to time. But what we forget is…the booth officials are the same people NFL had there last year and they are getting things wrong. Also..couldn’t someone other than officials be keeping track of time outs and challenges since each team is trying to get away with calling more than they have….taking advantage of replacements.

  30. randolph32 says: Sep 24, 2012 8:58 AM

    It won’t end until….ole Rog thinks he’s gotten the last drop of blood out of the ‘locked out’ Refs….it’s a shame!

  31. gochargersgo says: Sep 24, 2012 9:00 AM

    I would venture to say the phantom defensive holding call against the patriots on that 3rd and 15+ came close to costing them a game. Torrey smith was not even touched by McCourty on that play.

  32. miles58a says: Sep 24, 2012 9:17 AM

    gtodriver says:

    There is no “alledged” bounty program.

    Payton has admitted to it.

    Loomis has admitted to it.

    Williams has admitted to it.

    What do you need to accept it really happened?

    A video tape of Vilma handing over the $10,000.00 and a signed copy of his “rules” to “get paid”?

    ___________________________________

    You need to go read Williams statement

    It say there was no Bounty System and there was no Pay to injure program just a pay for performance, then at the end Williams says oh by the way Vilma offered $10,000 to take out Brett Favre. So Williams never admitted to a Bounty System and he is saying what Roger Goodell wants him to say to try and get back in the NFL. Also Sean Payton and Loomis never admitted they had a Bounty program. Sean Payton said he took responsibility for it because he was the head coach and should have caught what was going on. As far as he knows it was just a pay for performance, he only knows what Goodell told him because Payton appealed and when he met with Goodell he refused to show Sean, Loomis and Vitt any proof told them they would just have to take his word for it. So in Loomis and Sean’s case its a matter of who do you believe Goodell or the players

  33. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Sep 24, 2012 9:17 AM

    (1) The League does not want to set a modern day precedent that strikes from officials, players, whomever — will get the League to bend. It’s been about 30 years of the League taking a hard-line stance on an employee labor strike. Remember the scabs of ’87?

    (2) The League owners will continue to attempt to retain solidarity.

    (3) League owners will periodically voice measures of support for the replacement officials.

    (4) The League is not overly concerned about the quality of the officiating relative to the matter of not succumbing to union pressure.

    (5) However, the League would respond if there was a stark decrease in revenue. There has be no fall-off in revenue. TV deals are in place. The CBA has been set since ’11. Fans are packing stadiums. Since the League is not feeling any meaningful pain from a revenue perspective — it will continue to try to break any union of its employees.

  34. armchairgm9 says: Sep 24, 2012 9:21 AM

    The owners are the ones who have locked out the refs. Any time you see “the league” or “the NFL,” that means that it’s coming from the owners. Goodell works for them and on their behalf.

  35. greymares says: Sep 24, 2012 9:23 AM

    the replacement ref’s need to wait 15 min. before kickoff next week then all go home. guaranteed this would stop the crying from players, coaches, media members and fans. they are being paid to do a job where they are not as qualified as their predecessers but are doing a job they are being asked to do because the OWNERS don’t want to pay the proper compensation for the regulars and the REGULARS are trying to hold up the teams. If the complaining stops these guys will do a better job. If they have to continue it’s time to throw a few of the worst crybabies out of the game, that will effect the wins and loses. think about it people how well would you do your job if you were being screamed at on every decision you make.

  36. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Sep 24, 2012 9:27 AM

    Above, I described that a meaningful loss in revenue is the only thing that might cause the NFL to crack to the officials’ union.

    Have given this matter a little more thought, there is one other consideration that might also have some sway with the League.

    The League might also be considered about civil liability too.

    If League ownership determines that the benefits of breaking the officials’ union for relative chump change – is outweighed by the possibility of undercutting their litigation regarding concern over player safety, integrity of the game, protecting the shield, etc. — that might also influence their posture in the labor negotiations.

  37. commonsensedude says: Sep 24, 2012 9:33 AM

    Many may disagree, but, I do believe that Roger Goodell is hastening the end of his own tenure by continuing this mess.

    Unlike every other NFL season to date, the top headline in NFL sports news has nothing to do with the performance of any team or player but the incompetence of the replacement officials and the unwillingness of the league leadership to protect its own product by putting the best officials in place.

    At some point, the owners may believe that the easiest way of restoring the league’s image is to get rid of its lightening rod Commissioner, who is the public face of the league. If this happens, they will not be as loyal to Goodell as he has been to them.

  38. mostlombardisintheleague says: Sep 24, 2012 9:35 AM

    The Oakland Raiders, one of the most penalized teams in the history of the league doesn’t get a flag until the 3rd quarter not even a holding call ?????? No team is that disciplined, especially with replacement refs on the field.

  39. tjigger says: Sep 24, 2012 9:45 AM

    stoney18 says:

    “If I was an NFL owner, I would certainly be bringing as much leverage as I possibly could to get the professional refs back on the field. The Sunday night game was ……. (can’t find the words.)”

    The NFL owners are the one’s that have locked out the officials – because they are unwilling to be held accountable for their performance.

    “Between this and the league’s “handling” of the alleged bounty program with the Saints, there is a problem at NFL Central in NYC.”

    There is no “alledged” bounty program.

    Payton has admitted to it.

    Loomis has admitted to it.

    Williams has admitted to it.

    What do you need to accept it really happened?

    ( they all admitted that no bounty system was in place… Just a pay for performance plan that every team had some form of)

  40. plarkin88 says: Sep 24, 2012 9:46 AM

    The thing that sucks, is that in this day and age, labor disputes in a league that is dormant for nearly 7 months a year, the only solution they have to an ongoing negotiation is to lock out the employees.

    You would think that knowing the vital importance of each of the 16 dates on the schedule, there would be some reasonable work solution that didn’t involve televised incompetence. Possibly have the regular refs work under a temporary agreement, have them work week to week under the old agreement until things are settled, mandatory mediation and/or arbitration, or god forbid negotiate in earnest during the offseason. But no, we get a lockout designed to bring the officials to the negotiating table once they start to hurt in the wallet. Essentially negotiations under financial duress.

    Good job Goodell…this is on you.

  41. jetblackninja says: Sep 24, 2012 9:46 AM

    I don’t watch another game until they fix this. I like football, but this is just frustrating, and I don’t need it.

    I will probably watch it again after they fix it, but hey… who knows?

  42. realfann says: Sep 24, 2012 9:48 AM

    @gtodriver

    “The NFL has offered a 5 – 11% salary increase for each year of the current contract proposal”

    Not true. They’ve offered that amount over the life of the contract. Works out to be a 0.7% raise per year. Of the total money spent on refs.

    Which leads to the 2nd point:

    The NFL wants the extra officials to be paid out of the same money as the current set. Meaning the current officials have to take pay cut to afford them.

  43. amunoz78 says: Sep 24, 2012 9:54 AM

    majbobby says:
    Sep 24, 2012 8:35 AM
    The numbers show that the replacement refs are not that much different than the locked out refs.

    ————————————————–

    It’s not the number or percentage of certain types of penalties that are being called. It’s the blatant mistakes that we didn’t see with the regular officials that are so frustrating. The last 2 minutes of the Bengals/Redskins game featured:

    -Spotting a false start + personal foul 25 yards from the original LOS.

    -Calling for a 10 second runoff (correct call) but not making sure it actually happens.

    There are going to be missed calls, but a lot of things are happening that just shouldn’t.

  44. leroysbutler says: Sep 24, 2012 9:55 AM

    If the players really want to end the lockout, have the NFLPA threaten a work stoppage and follow through if no progress is made. The ultimate black eye for the league would be no games.

  45. tjigger says: Sep 24, 2012 10:07 AM

    The refs did cost a few teams games from bad calls… This weekend they took 2 Saints TDs off the board after a whistle on a fumble return and Thomas had a td over turned when the ball never did hit the ground on a catch

  46. magicbucs says: Sep 24, 2012 10:09 AM

    These refs slow in game down, no momentum for either team. They make bad calls or no calls like the romo fumble that lead to a bucs defensive TD which cost th 6 points. Yes romo got hit with a helmet to helmet but that non call didn’t immediately lead to a score like the other play.
    These refs don’t make the games as fun to watch as a fan. I loved how the Baltimore fans were chanting BS and the announcers kept silent so it can be heard lol.
    Yes the regular refs make mistakes but nothing like these that are being made. The game flow makes the game easier to watch and more exciting.

  47. bfieldlion says: Sep 24, 2012 10:15 AM

    I’m kind of incredulous that some posters think they can’t see any difference between these replacement refs and the real ones. You’re either blind and not paying attention or abiding by some tired party line to hurr durr breaktheunion. These guys don’t even know where to spot the ball on a penalty and they’re clearly losing control of games, e.g. last night’s game. The debacle in Minnesota yesterday was unbelievable, especially given that they don’t know the basic fact that most armchair fans do that you can’t challenge – and should be penalized – when you don’t have any time outs.

  48. bigjdve says: Sep 24, 2012 10:15 AM

    realfan is correct 5 – 11% over the lifetime of the contract. What is interesting is that this isn’t the real sticking point right now.

    The sticking points are with regards to an evaluation system and the guaranteed pension.

    1. Evaluation system: The league wants to have a system where each week the referees are grading on their performance, and at the end of the season they can be either demoted or fired. The refs are flat out refusing this, there has been no movement on this from their side. I think this funny because the system the NFL purposes allows the crappy ref to last until the end of the season before any disciplinary action can be done. The question I would ask is if you are as good as you say you are, why do you mind an evaluation system? If you are as good as you say you are, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

    2. Guaranteed Pension: The league wants to go from a fully guaranteed pension to a 401k plan. The referees want to keep a guaranteed system, at least for the existing refs. This system guarantees 38k to each official no matter how many games officiated per year. This ranges from 20 – 25% of their salaries depending on which number you use as what they make. – I can’t speak for others BUT that is more than I am allowed to put in my 401k a year by almost double.

    These are both items that the referees aren’t budging on.

    People keep blaming the NFL and Goodell. Is it really the NFL or is it the refs thinking that they can bleed the NFL because people are complaining about the replacements.

  49. mogogo1 says: Sep 24, 2012 10:35 AM

    If I ran the NFL, there’d only be two “deal breakers” in dealing with the refs:

    1) They need to go full-time. If Ed Hochuli has to decide between being an official and an attorney, tough call for him. But it’s always been ridiculous when the refs claim their job is impossibly hard, but resist doing it full-time. And it looks all the worse since other major sports have full-time officials.

    2) There needs to be some sort of review system and way to demote and/or fire guys. Hochuli blew a call that cost a game years back and absolutely nothing happened to him. He continued on his rise to being one of the leading officials. That’s not right and that sort of stuff simply cannot be allowed.

  50. skinsfaninnebraska says: Sep 24, 2012 10:40 AM

    A blown call hasn’t cost a team a game yet? Really?

    Am I the only one here who thinks the Ravens’ game-winning field goal try last night was a miss?

  51. footballace says: Sep 24, 2012 10:46 AM

    Roger Goodell is the worst commissioner in sports today. He was given a Bentley and is turning it into a Ford Pinto.

  52. popcrowl says: Sep 24, 2012 11:10 AM

    After further review, the replacements refs (still) suck.

  53. billh1947 says: Sep 24, 2012 11:20 AM

    Jerry Jones is the undisputed leader and mouthpiece of the NFL Owners Association(Goodell is just a figurehead for the owners) and being that Jerrah likes the scab refs and thinks they are doing a bang up job it will nothing will change until Jerrahs Cowboys take a bad call or two in the ass and they lose a game or two because of that bad call,then and only then will he wake up to whats really going on in NFL games and talk to the rest of the owners on a settlement plan.

  54. hutch119 says: Sep 24, 2012 11:33 AM

    I would venture that the Phantom whistle by the ref in the Buc-Cowboys game on the second Romo fumble that the Bucs were forced to challenge cost the Buccaneers the game.

    Come on Terry did you not watch last years playoffs where the happened in CONSECUTIVE GAMES. The Bucs being an awful football team and Josh Freeman being an incompetent QB lost that game not some whistle.

  55. hoosiermizuno says: Sep 24, 2012 11:37 AM

    This officiating fiasco is an embarrassment to the NFL. how Goodell can not see this and think its worth a measly 3 million that is in question is beyond me.

    The fact that we’re talking about officials every monday morning instead of the great OT games is ridiculous. I’m sick of Goodell already

  56. jgedgar70 says: Sep 24, 2012 11:40 AM

    tarmacjerry – all of the BCS conferences have told their officials that if they so much as step on to an NFL field, they are fired. No one is going to risk their permanent job for a few-weeks temp job.

    This has to end because the players’ lives are at risk. In case anyone missed the news, Darius Heyward-Bay damn near got killed yesterday (literally, as Joe Bidenopolis would say).

    I loved what Ian Eagle said while the medical staff was working on DH-B: “This can’t just be something that these guys check off their bucket list – ‘I made it to the NFL as an official’ – but at some point they have to be held accountable for the work they are doing.” Dan Fouts agreed, as you would expect a former player to do. They are absolutely right. I’ll give you that the first week of preseason, the speed and size of the players had to be a shock to these D-2 officials. But they’ve had a couple months to learn the rule book and adjust to the faster pace of an NFL game. The players have figured out that they are still so overwhelmed they can get away with more physical play with no penalty being called. So this Steelers player knew he could hit someone in the teeth with his helmet and the official would miss it, and that’s exactly what happened.

    The time for making excuses for these replacements is past, especially now that their ineptness has put a man in the hospital.

  57. commonsensedude says: Sep 24, 2012 11:54 AM

    “But no, we get a lockout designed to bring the officials to the negotiating table once they start to hurt in the wallet. Essentially negotiations under financial duress. ”

    The flaw in this argument and tactic is that the experienced officials ALREADY HAVE FULL-TIME JOBS. HIGH PAYING FULL-TIME JOBS IN MOST CASES. They’re not the ones who are suffering the most now.

    In contrast, the NFL brand has been tarnished. This season will most likely be designated with an asterisk. Goodell is running the risk of being forced out in response to mounting public pressure and ridicule. And the NFL’s product and public image has taken a beating and the beating is getting worse every week.

    The NFL is losing this battle, not the experienced refs. And the sooner they cut their losses and cut a compromise/deal, the better off the league will be.

  58. radrntn says: Sep 24, 2012 11:59 AM

    I don’t think it needs to end. I love the replacement refs. I think they should settle today, and make it permenent.

    Way better then the numskulls who use to make up calls against the raiders every time.

  59. bigjdve says: Sep 24, 2012 12:03 PM

    Something that is maddening is that people keep talking about how the replacement refs are a risk to player safety.

    How is this possible? Please tell me how regular or replacement refs can solve that problem?

    They call penalties after the injury, or not, then the players get fined penalty or not.

    The players are the only people that increase the safety of the game without the NFL making rule changes.

    The replacement refs are making some really bad calls but call or no call that doesn’t stop or prevent injuries.

  60. mikev65 says: Sep 24, 2012 12:12 PM

    @shalweride and anyone else, the integrity of the game has nothing to do with the officials. They call the people that break the rules, they do not disrupt that fact, no one wants to put the blame on those that the blame is deserved!

    Its the coaches and players that uphold the integrity!!!

  61. Loose Changeup says: Sep 24, 2012 12:19 PM

    The TV announcers on both the MNF game and the SNF game were complaining, which is very significant.

    The long BS chant from last night followed by the Belichick ref tap is very significant

    The money comes from the networks, so when they start complaining, there is a chance that the league & owners will listen

  62. numberonesteelerhater says: Sep 24, 2012 12:21 PM

    Officials will always have to make crucial and critical calls and I know from experience that no matter how right or how wrong the call is, someone is going to disagree. People would still be ranting and raving about calls even if the regular refs were doing these games. The fact that you have replacements only throws fuel to the fire. If teams are in a position to depend on an officials call to decide whether they win or lose then that is not on the officials. The team put themselves in that position. That is how it goes at every level.

  63. footballchic777 says: Sep 24, 2012 12:29 PM

    Point well made about the fact that the NFLRA is going to be facing extreme scrutiny when they get back to work, and that is probably why they don’t want that ‘pool of refs’ sitting on the sidelines in case they get yanked. Compromise is the name of the game….BOTH SIDES! The BS chant during last nights game was hilarious because it was an embarrassment to the NFL, and there was no way they could bleep it! That is ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE until they get this straightened out.

  64. armoderate says: Sep 24, 2012 12:32 PM

    C’Mon. Drudge report “main stream”. Give me a break. CBS, NBC, ABC, Newsweek I would agree. Drudge is an online tabloid with a right wing political agenda just like the Huffington Post is a tabloid with a left leaning agenda. Sensationalism even at the expense of reality is their bread and butter. ProfootballTalk, we all know what category this falls into. That’s why we take your articles with a grain of salt.

  65. bengalmaniac says: Sep 24, 2012 12:41 PM

    I don’t care what the article says, the refs did cost some teams games yesterday. NE definitely got hosed, not only on some calls, but that game winning FG was no good.
    The 12 yard error that helped Tennessee win. And in the Cincy/Skins game, the error of not running the 10 seconds off the clock for the injury under two minutes with no timeouts, although it did not cost Cincy the game, it could have because Washington got a last play to heave a Hail Mary at :07 seconds.

  66. bengalmaniac says: Sep 24, 2012 12:44 PM

    I also saw some bogus helmet to helmet calls yesterday, but then in the Oakland game, they did not call the one that almost took Heyward-Bay’s head off, and there was another one in the Pats game that Ed Reed almost decapitated someone and they did not call it. They did call the second one that he threw on Branch. But the calls are way too slow and inconsistent.

  67. bengalmaniac says: Sep 24, 2012 12:48 PM

    bigjdve I agree with you on your point to some degree. However, the players are pushing their limits more than they would with the regular refs because they think they can intimidate them into making calls go their way. I saw a TON of cheap shots yesterday that you wouldn’t normally see. The whole league looked like the cheap shot artist Steelers, and the Steelers looked worse than normal. I know that the NFL has been preaching do not lead with your helmet, but I have seen that so much the past few weeks, it’s getting out of hand.

  68. bigjdve says: Sep 24, 2012 1:30 PM

    bengalmaniac: your right there are alot of cheap shots, and they might be taking them because of the replacement officials.

    The problem is that the players and coaches are taking advantage of a situation and then complaining about it.

    It is funny these teams complaining are the same teams that have people delivering the hits to the other side.

  69. Florio's Lawyer says: Sep 24, 2012 2:04 PM

    “..It doesn’t matter if the facts are wrong or outweighed by other facts. People think what they want to think, and once they’ve established a line of thought it’s hard to turn it around…”

    Are you talking about fans in general, or Republicans?

  70. Mr. Wright 212 says: Sep 24, 2012 2:40 PM

    I agreed for the most part, Florio, but the refs HAVE cost about 5-6 teams games; including the Giants in Week 1.

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