NFL will start hiring, training replacement officials this month


The NFL has confirmed that it will begin hiring and training replacement officials this month after talks broke down on a new contract with the current group of officials.

“Negotiations with the NFL Referees Association on a new collective bargaining agreement remain unresolved and the previous CBA has expired,” the league said in a statement. “Therefore, in order to ensure that there is no disruption to NFL games this season we will proceed immediately with the hiring and training of replacement officials.”

Regional training sessions for replacement officials will begin in June, the league said, in an effort to have the replacement officials ready to go if a deal with the regular refs is still unresolved when the regular season starts.

“Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of officiating for our teams, players, and fans, including proper enforcement of the playing rules and efficient management of our games,” the league said in its statement.

The NFL’s previous six-year agreement with its officials expired this year. Although negotiations on a new CBA with the officials began in October, progress remains slow.

70 responses to “NFL will start hiring, training replacement officials this month

  1. hopefully they hire some guys under the age of 103 who have the balls to make a tough call. I doubt this will actually happen anyway…I’m sure the nfl is bluffing.

  2. Good. They can’t possibly be worse. Last time replacements were used, I believe it was for just for week 1, the number of flags thrown was down. It was so refreshing not seeing a flag on every play. Bring on the new guys permanently!

  3. I hope this is serious and not just posturing.

    I’m afraid it’s just posturing though.

  4. If anything we could get more correct calls because the guys coming in would want to get it right there maybe keeping a job instead of taking there job for granted, i see this as a good thing

  5. I love when guys feel like they are too good and irreplaceable… right up to the moment they realize that they are in fact about to be replaced…

    I’d imagine the Refs will cave in shortly. They have no bargaining power… they’re already terrible… How much worse can the next group of guys do??

  6. Where exactly do they plan on hiring these officials from if they’re not going to take guys away from the BCS? The CFL? The Arena League?

  7. This has got to be a good thing! These refs are dumb, I don’t think they realize how replaceable they are, especially when they have been so horrible lately.

  8. Remember when the MLB Umpires thought they were “all that and a bag of chips”? How’d that work out for them?

  9. I so hope this happens. It’ll finally put an end to all the ridiculous “These refs suck!” nonsense.

    95% of the knuckle-draggers whining about the officials probably couldn’t even accurately explain the “down by contact” rule — but they think they know the rules better than the officials.

  10. there is only one prerequisite…

    you have to hate the raiders, and when officiating their games you must be willing to call offensive holding when they are moving the ball downfield, and when they are on defense on third and long plays you have to call pass interference everytime.

  11. And for all the yahoos out there who complain about the officials the NFL has now (“They miss half the calls” “They are just awful!” etc etc) wait until the scabs show up.

    I suggest folks go back to 2009 when the NBA actually tried doing this-even hiring back some former NBA refs who had been fired in previous years for poor performance. The fans were upset by the CONSTANT whistles, coaches and players were warned by King Stern that ANY comment about the lack of quality in officiating would be massively fined (ask Larry Brown who had to cough up $60K for pointing out the obvious), and Charles Barkley commented it would take 5 replacements to equal one regular locked out ref.

    So if you don’t think there are enough penalties now (and there can’t be that many of you) sit back and enjoy the show. 3 hour games will now run an extra half hour at a minimum.

    And the plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuits must be loving this. The NFL made a great big deal of announcing their new concussion procedures and made the refs the “first line of defense” in spotting players whose behavior was symptomatic and needed to come out. These replacement guys will have enough problems just keeping track of the down! Who is giving Goodell legal advice these days Vinny Gambini?

  12. Does the NFL ever do anything in a timely manner? I mean how many CBAs are they going to let expire and not renew until it affects the season? You would think they would have learned from last summer.

  13. Can’t blame the legacy refs. Why would they want to give up manipulating point spreads if the NFL has requested that? Let’s make the new guys take random polygraphs that the’re not bought by third parties.

  14. I’m a “glass half full” type who sees this as an excellent opportunity to finally, once and for all, correct an “old as the hills” wrong. The only people doing this work should be those for whom this is their ONLY Day Job. Go back to square one and seize this opportunity to finally get it right. And that should include hiring roughly 5 to 6 of those “outgoing” guys (with a stipulation) because a few of them were above adequate.

  15. snowpea84 says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    It’s always great to watch a union be put in their place.

    When did anti-union become popular. I remember as a kid people won cars on game shows and actually turned them down, because they were not union made.

  16. perfect time to hire full time officials and implement a replay officialin the booth. I always felt the umpires had a lot of power over these two issues. Mike Pereira has made comments in the past alluding to the power officials have.

  17. 5 weeks of classroom (learning the rules)… 5 weeks of training camp/preseason and let’em work.
    If the “experienced” officials don’t want to be part of it, thanks for your prior services… good bye.

  18. NFL officiating is bad enough with the regular guys, how much worse does it have to get! I can’t wait until a “scab” official has to try and figure out if it was a catch vs not a catch depending on whether it was on the right sideline or left, in the endzone, near the back if he maintained control or spiked it to early, or whether he had possession before crossing the goal line….heck I dont even know what I am doing anymore….

  19. Has DeSmith filed a lawsuit over this yet or is his Docket full with his other grievances and lawsuits?

    I’d be surprised if he wasn’t advising Vilma behind the scenes as well since both him and Bree’s were advising Pamphillon on releasing the Williams video help the players case.

  20. for those who think that officiating can’t get worse – have yo watched an MLB or NBA game recently. it can get a lot worse

  21. Can’t be any worse than what’s available now…until they have full time officiating it doesn’t really matter.

    But I bet that even with replacement officials the Raiders will still lead the league in penalties…the NFL will definitely teach them that.

  22. Yes, I’m sure all you armchair referees would do just fine making calls on the fly without the benefit of multiple HD camera angles…

    Not saying the refs are infallible, of course, but some folks need to come back to reality.

  23. Heck, these guys are already receiving AARP benefits and social security…..what else can they possibly need?

  24. I wonder if they hire some former players. That might make things interesting.

  25. pooflingingmonkey says: Jun 4, 2012 12:21 PM

    Remember when the MLB Umpires thought they were “all that and a bag of chips”? How’d that work out for them?


    Not even a valid comparison. That whole thing was over Bill Madlock and included mass resignations by the umpires.

    A much much better example to look at is the 2009 NBA referee situation. Just like the NFL, they hired and trained replacements as leverage. Unfortunately the real refs would not cave the NBA were forced to actually use them. After a month of the worst officiated games ever seen the NBA gave up and made a deal with the union and sanity was restored.

    For those who think too many flags are thrown NOW, wait until these scabs get into a game. You’ll be lucky to finish a game in 4 hours.

  26. Certain they will train them to look at the sky when Ben gets pummeled eight seconds after he releases the pass, or when Heath Miller gets a direct helmet-to-helmet hit two yards in front of the official.

  27. Lets maybe add a few requirements to the position. Must be under the age of 60 and in good health and have adequate athletic ability. People over 60 can apply if given medical clearance of being in good physical health. Must have good vision (Wearing glasses or contacts is ok), near, far and peripheral. Maybe incorporate a program aimed at re-training and/or refreshing each officials knowledge of the rules before and during every season.

  28. I remember the last time this happened and the most notable problem (apart from missed calls) was that teams trying to run the two-minute offense simply couldn’t because the officials weren’t getting the ball set quickly enough… I wonder if the training will emphasize that this time…

  29. If you think the refs are horrible now (I don’t think they are) wait until these replacement refs come in and stumble all over themselves trying to learn the NFL rules and screwing up calls more frequently than the normal refs do. This won’t be a pretty outcome. Just pay the damn refs. They don’t make that much anyway. Quit being so cheap NFL.

  30. Hire officials full time? What would they do during the week? Ref practices? Study game film? Play golf? I hate to break it to you, but reffing once a week for 4 hours doesn’t equate to a full time job.

  31. They should hire Ron Cherry. We need to know when a player is “giving him the business”.

  32. Millions of people out of work, the economy is showing signs it might crash again, even if it doesn’t the high unemployment isn’t ending very fast…. and the current refs refuse to go to work.

    And who said the refs were dumb – LOL

    Give jobs to people who want to work

  33. mediasloppy says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:31 PM
    snowpea84 says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    It’s always great to watch a union be put in their place.

    When did anti-union become popular. I remember as a kid people won cars on game shows and actually turned them down, because they were not union made.


    Since they outlived their usefulness

  34. The actual answer to “when did unions become unpopular” is very simple.

    It’s when the richest companies and individuals bought legislatures (especially in the South) to pass laws that made unions hard to form. It then advanced to those same folks buying media (newspapers, TV and radio stations, and cable channels) to spread anti union propaganda to Americans too lazy (yes–thats you!) to do their own independent thinking.

    Its a FACT (get a book and look it up) that the largest percentage of Americans who were “middle class” was at the exact same time union membership was at its highest. We are now actually regressing toward the point where the “middle class” will be as extinct as the “two way” football player.

    And history tells us what happens to a society when 1% own all the wealth and 99% get the scraps. (see France 1789, Russia 1917, Iran 1979, etc etc)

  35. mediasloppy says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:31 PM
    snowpea84 says:
    Jun 4, 2012 12:12 PM

    It’s always great to watch a union be put in their place.

    When did anti-union become popular. I remember as a kid people won cars on game shows and actually turned them down, because they were not union made.


    Unions themselves are good. When people work together for a common cause, it benefits the members. That is, until they get greedy and begin having too much influence in law making. When unions lobby state governments to require union membership, it restricts freedom of choice and destroys liberty for those who choose not to join. Nobody should be forced to join to make a living.

  36. Actually, the whole reason for the break down was over benefits. The NFL, NFLPA, and the fans want the current refs to pay for a better vision plan…but the current refs think they see just fine now. Unfortunately, the ref spokesman was talking into a mop at the time and could not be reached for comment. LOL 😉

  37. I would rather the replacements make mistakes, bad calls, or whatever, because they were new, than have the current crop do it because they don’t care and have their union to make excuses for them. If you make a mistake, instant replay corrects it and you move on. If it isnt replayable, then you just move on. Players have never taken one red cent from a ref, and one bad call or lackadaisical call can cost the players 1000’s. Fine them and make the fines public just like the players.

  38. Current NFL refs or new refs can’t possibly be as horrible as current NBA refs. They’ve never been trained (obviously) and are the most biased of any professional sports. People off the street who have never seen an NBA game would be an improvement.

  39. I hate to get baited into this crap (especially on a football blog comment section for Pete’s sake!), but for those keeping score at home:

    Unions and pro-worker lobby groups throwing their weight around and influencing legislation for personal gain = bad

    CEO’s and pro-business lobby groups throwing their weight around and influencing legislation for personal gain = good?

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