ESPN’s explanation regarding absence of Division I officials misses the mark


The replacement officials have gotten plenty of attention on Thursday night, in part because they have made more than a few mistakes.

In the first half of the nationally-televised Packers-Chargers game, ESPN’s Mike Tirico explained that officials from Division I conferences aren’t available because it’s not feasible for them to moonlight, given that they work on Saturdays, the day on which NFL officials typically are preparing for Sundays.

But that wasn’t an impediment 11 years ago, when the NFL used Division I officials during the last lockout of game officials.

The explanation from ESPN creates the impression that the NFL affirmatively chose not to use Division I officials.  The more accurate explanation is that the Division I conferences refused to allow moonlighting in 2012.

That’s why the NFL doesn’t have access to top college officials this time around.  And that’s why the replacement officials come from the third tier and lower.

27 responses to “ESPN’s explanation regarding absence of Division I officials misses the mark

  1. Officiating games isn’t rocket science. Regular NFL officials make plenty of mistakes themselves. Not like there’s some steep drop off in talent as you move down the ladder. I’d say many of those guys are actually better, younger, more hungry, and better fit to be running up and down the field. Alot of those guys in the NFL and Div I college are like career politicians…….time to go.

  2. The touchback call in the Buffalo game is unbelievable. That alone should be the catalyst to settle the issue.

  3. Like most NFL fans, I don’t have a whole lot of love for the regular officials.

    That being said – these replacement referees are pretty bad. Multiple mistakes in multiple games. Incorrectly marking where a punt gets downed.
    Throwing a flag for false start but not whistling the play dead.
    Completely missing obvious pass interference calls.


    I hope that the situation with the regular referees gets done sooner rather than later.

  4. Reporter just asked Belichick about replacement officials. Belichick: “I think Mike Perreira made his comments about the officials. I don’t think anyone knows more about NFL officiating than Mike Perreira.”

    Somehow I doubt that was on the talking points distributed by the league.

  5. The guy with the first comment on here sounds like he’s one of the replacement refs.

  6. The regular officials are bad. The hall of fame game was in line or better than most regular officiated NFL games but the rest have been atrocius. I still see the only reasonable solution as 30 or so full time referees and then thry can be held accountable when their crews blow it. There is a reason more and more plays are starting to go to automatic review and it isn’t because they had been doing a great job

  7. Sad really. Millionaire, Mike Tirico reciting the talking points of his billionaire employer and the billionaire league while the little guy gets screwed once again.

    Stay strong real NFL and D1 refs!!

  8. i don’t understand any of this. surely the nfl has some rule and safety tweeks that it wants the real refs (who 100% of us all know will eventually be back in these games) to be working on in preseason, so that the regular season is not undermined by storylines of officiating mistakes.
    but instead of productive practice for the real refs, the nfl decides to make a purely testosterone driven show of ownership force over an expenditure that doesn’t amount to the money it spends on catering. and all this at a time when retired players are looking for any smoking gun that may show the nfl doesn’t value player safety. are the owner billionaires so insecure after not being able to roll the players’ union a year ago that they would put their own machismo above the good of the league just to beat down a bunch of refs? who is going to care if they win? and do they not realize what they stand to lose? yeah, everyone may hate unions… but this is still stupid.

  9. Anyone who watched any of the games tonight and still thinks there is “no steep drop off” between these and the regular officials, needs to refill their meds.

    Forget missed penalties, these guys can’t even spot the ball properly or announce the penalties right.

    In the Eagles-Steelers game, the ref announced that the Eagles would be charged with a timeout after the Steelers lost a challenge. Later he announced a holding penalty on third and long against the Steelers and said it was 10 yards and a repeat of third down without even bothering to ask the Eagles if they wanted to decline the penalty to make it 4th down. Some of their spots were so comically off base it was almost as if they were doing it on purpose.

    Couple that with the embarrassing unsportsmanlike conduct call on the lineman in the Packers-Chargers when he flexed his biceps after a sack, and you can begin to see how embarrassing this has the potential to become.

  10. Give the replacement refs a chance. They’re still ironing out they’re officiating during these preseason games just like players and coaches are ironing out their game-playing. Everyone complained last year about how bad and blind the officials have been. This year we have new officials working hard to get used to the NFL rules. To be honest, I thought they were better in many cases. Some not so good. But geez…. give ’em a chance. No one will ever be perfect by some peoples’ standards.

  11. Granted, their roles are pretty important but are these even full time jobs for these guys? Do they have anything to do with ticket sales, jersey sales or attracting butts in the stands with the local product (team)? Has the job somehow changed or gotten more difficult since last year? There’s a camera covering the dang gnat buzzing Belichick’s ass at camp not to mention most every other damn thing you could need to see…Shut up and be glad you have the priveledge of having the best seats imaginable for an NFL game every single week while being impowered to stop play and impact the game on every single snap should it “become necessary”.

  12. I wonder if Division I officials would shy away from becoming replacement officials if they aspire to become regular NFL officials in the future. It might be very uncomfortable working with veteran officials who you crossed the picket lines to replace as scabs in the past.

  13. And let’s NOT forget . . .those Div 1 officials want to officiate in the NFL someday Being a replacement ain’t gonna make that happen.

  14. NFL is a Joke!!!!! owners out of control. Saturday is football day where you know both teams are doing everything than can to win and not have a bad call lose a game.
    “Winning a championship is the most important thing” all NFL teams say, yes other than colluding in an uncapped year and paying for the best refs they can get. then winning a Superbowl is number one? sick of the BS! fix it or just bring back “HE HATE ME” and quit pretending your a real league.

  15. Just pay the regular officials what they want. How much more is it really in the grand scheme of things?

  16. I don’t have the numbers in front of me but I’ll go out on a limb and guess there were ten times the comments on a bad call any givin week last year. “No matter how much the variables change the axioms themselves remain the same” Stephen King. Player safety? Integrity of the game? Or is it just the scratch?

  17. ESPN took what Goodell gave them hook, line, and sinker. Just like they did with the bounties.

  18. Anyone trying to defend the replacement refs needs to quit. They completely sucked and we need the regular guys back. What I saw Thursday night was ridiculous.

  19. The NFL has the perfectly right to lock out the officials working on an expired contract if they can’t reach an agreement on a new one. The REASON for this being legal is to be able to keep conducting business as well as geaining leverage. The league have a right to continue conducting business as best they can.

    The refs are the best they could find. And the notion that the new ref’s “are going to get player’s killed” is silly.

    Cheers, BostonTim

  20. What I like about the replacements is they make the calls. None of this some officials call this or that so theNFL teams can scout them. When they saw holding the flag came out, makes the players play the game.

  21. Help me out, isn’t the issue with the regular refs not the money as much as the NFL doesn’t want them working their other jobs?

    And on a separate note.

    I have no doubt that the replacment officials will get better, and may eventually become as good as the existing officials. The problem is the learning curve. It’s going to take quite a bit of time for this to happen, and a whole lot more than 4 games. The NFL will suffer if it doesn’t do somethign about this. Even if the regulars are back for week 1, I’d image it’s going to suffer as they will certainly be rusty.

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