NFL faces another labor battle, with officials

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In 2001, the NFL responded to a labor battle with game officials by locking them out and hiring replacements.

In 2012, it could be happening all over again.

Alex Marvez of reports that the NFL has commenced plans for hiring replacement officials, as negotiations with game officials reach an impasse.

“Talks are ongoing, and should the two sides reach an agreement in the near future, there will be no need to hire additional officials,” NFL director of recruiting officials Ron Bayne writes in a letter obtained by Marvez.  “This is a contingency plan to make sure the NFL season will continue on schedule as planned.”

As Marvez explains, replacement officials were used 11 years ago for the final exhibition games and the first week of regular-season games.  A new CBA was reached with game officials during the one-week NFL hiatus resulting from the 9/11 attacks.

Today, however, the game has changed.  With the NFL pushing for player safety — and relying on game officials to be more involved in spotting players who may have suffered concussions — the use of second-tier officials could undermine the league’s safety objectives.

The negotiations are reaching critical mass not long after Commissioner Roger Goodell floated the idea of experimenting with full-time officials.  Which means that the NFL realizes that the quality of the officiating can be improved.  Which means that it’s not acceptable to have anything other than the best officials.

In hindsight, it’s possible that Goodell mused about full-time officials as part of the effort to leverage game officials into accepting the league’s terms, given that most if not all of them prefer the ability to have a “real” job in addition to working for the NFL on weekends during football season.

21 responses to “NFL faces another labor battle, with officials

  1. NFL should also fire cheaters, like Winter, Green, Morelli, Coleman…. Wow, there are too many.

  2. I’m totally shocked that a multi-billion dollar business like the NFL doesn’t have full time officials yet.

  3. What Football is coming to, as in Boxing, it makes total sense that officials should have the authority/responsibility to permanently remove a player from any game who has been concussed….especially during a Brown’s game.

  4. Pictured: The late Gary Kubiak moments before he was beaten to death with his own right arm.

  5. funny how national catastrophes like 9/11 can make people stop arguing about money pretty quickly no matter how entrenched their positions might be

  6. Full-time officials are not needed. Write clear rules and state the intent. That should eliminate the ridiculous situational application of poorly written guidance. That would, in turn, fix some of the officiating problems. After that, they can start working on some sort of disciplinary action on those officials who still blatantly get a call wrong after watching HD slo-mo replays. I can see an occasional error in a fast moving game but missing an obvious call after replay is unacceptable.

    After seeing the trend over the last several years, it is hard to imagine that replacement officials could do any worse than the ones who have been screwing critical calls up for years.

  7. The replacements would have to be trained to call penalties for looking in the QB’s general direction and for breathing on a WR as he tries to catch the ball.

  8. NFL officials are like teachers entrenched with seniority/tenure often making them too old, ineffective, arrogant, out of touch, and complacent.
    This could be an excellent opportunity to clean house, bringing back those officials that you really believe are doing a quality job and finally getting rid of the over age, over weight, over the top attitude crews that too often are mis-managing the game today.

  9. I read the other day that the NFL officials make between 70-140K per year. That’s what I said, 70-140 thousand per year for a 16 weekend job. I could definitely handle that, throw a BUNCH of flags too as my right arm is still pretty solid. LOL. Anyway, for that kind of money and the amount of work they do, seems they should be full time anyways. Yet they want their full time 36K job to go with their 140K part time job. Figure that one. I agree with the poster that said “go Ronald Reagan on them”

  10. What they need to do is take the ‘Instant Replay Review’ away from the Officials, how do they bungle on a regular basis?

    Frankly, I’d like to see them all fired and hire back the one’s that actually know how to call a game…

  11. Have the requirements to get the job been changed/ updated? The best NFL news site on the web should have an article informing the readers what it takes to be an NFL official.

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