NFL memo regarding replacement officials

[Editor’s note:  On July 25, Carl Johnson and Ray Anderson of the NFL office sent a memo to all chief executives, club presidents, General Managers, coaches, and P.R. directors a memo regarding the replacement officials.  The full text of the memo, a copy of which PFT has obtained, appears below.]

Commencing July 26, our 2012 replacement officials will be visiting training camps to work and prepare for preseason and regular season game assignments.  We have signed 136 dedicated and experienced officials (including one woman) who have been carefully screened and are committed to providing quality service to the NFL.  Every official has received full medical clearance, passed a background check, completed two intensive training clinics with our NFL officiating staff, and participated in video and teleconferencing training sessions as well.  They are now ready for ‘grass time’ at your training camp practices.

As discussed in our recent recent conference calls with clubs, it’s imperative that your entire organization welcomes these officials and provides them with an environment that maximizes their training opportunities and encourages their development.

During these camp visits, replacement officials will not be available to the media.  We want them focused on training and not distracted by labor-related issues.  Assistance from your public relations staff in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

Additionally, during camp visits replacement officials will not give the presentation to coaches and/or players regarding 2012 rules changes.  That presentation will be given by Carl Johnson, David Coleman or one of our regional supervisors who will be visiting your camp at some point.

Finally, we remind you that club personnel should not engage in public discussions about the lockout.  We have attached some talking points for use by owners and a separate set of talking points for use by head coaches, if necessary.  If you are asked about the negotiations or the replacement officials, feel free to refer the question to our office.

Please share these expectations with your coaches, players, and operations staff so that all may contribute to the success of our official on the field in 2012.

If you have any questions or suggestions on these matters, please call either of us directly.


July 25, 2012


We have great respect for our officials and in keeping with that view have made a proposal that includes substantial increases in compensation for all game officials.

We have negotiated in good faith since last October.  We accepted the union’s suggestion that we involve the Federal Mediation Service in the negotiations, and we continue to be available to meet with the NFLRA and the mediators.  We remain committed to a negotiated resolution.


Our last proposal before the work stoppage began covered the 2012 through 2018 seasons and offered annual compensation increases of between 5 and 11 percent for each individual official.

In 2011, the average pay for NFL game officials was $149,000.  Under our last proposal, that would increase to more than $189,000 by 2018.

Officials that qualify for postseason games, or are referees, would earn substantially more.


No game official will lose any vested pension benefit under our proposal and the clubs will fully fund all pension obligations.  The officials would retain all the benefits that they have under the current defined benefit plan.

We have proposed to freeze the current defined benefit plan and replace it with a defined contribution/401(k) arrangement.  This is the norm in the American economy today, and is in place for other league office employees as well as a growing number of clubs.


We only began the process of hiring replacements when the NFLRA told us it planned to ask its members to authorize the union leadership to call a strike.

We took this step to ensure that there is no disruption to NFL games this season.  There have been three training clinics to date.  These experienced and high-quality officials will be prepared to work preseason games, beginning with the Pro Football Hall of Fame game on August 5.

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.

We are confident that these game officials will enforce rules relating to player safety.  Contrary to NFLRA leadership, we do not believe that players will “play dirty” or intentionally break the rules.


Our focus is on preparing our team for the coming season.  We don’t worry about things we can’t control.

We will play by the same rules and we are confident that the official will know the rules and do their jobs.

We hope an agreement is reached soon.  If not, we are looking forward to having the replacement officials in training camp, so that we can get to know them and help them prepare alongside us for the season.

(If asked) No, we don’t agree that coaches and players will play fast and loose with the rules if the regular officials are not working.

10 responses to “NFL memo regarding replacement officials

  1. Doesn’t sound as bad as it did before, actually lays out the league’s argument quite well.

  2. They did a horrific job tonight in the Redskins-Bills game and apparently they stunk it up all over the league. Go get the real refs back NOW brother!!!

  3. “(If asked) No, we don’t agree that coaches and players will play fast and loose with the rules if the regular officials are not working.”

    Translation: no, the NFL isn’t compromising player safety by having people out there that are less than the best at enforcing rules that protect players. Not hypocritical at all.

  4. The replacement officials looked okay to me and still have a month to prepare. The NFL should give the NFRA a take it or leave it offer and then just sign the replacement officials full time. If i didn’t know that they were replacement official I wouldn’t have noticed a thing.

  5. After reading this, you still don’t believe Goodell is capable of railroading the Saints, you are the most naive person alive.

  6. The NFL is one big manipulation machine. Is anyone else getting tired of this? They have most of the media in their pockets, the coaches and players can’t speak their minds, and the hypocricy and double-standards are so thick anymore you can cut it with a knife. Not to mention, their use of talking points and catch phrases or their ability to constantly “move the goal line” without so much as a peep from us.

    Is this politics or pro sports?

  7. I hope the league was watching Bills vs Redskins closely last night. If these Temp-O-Refs can’t tell the difference between the 4 yd line and the goal line…

  8. You do understand that a lot of the QBs stunk things up, too, right? Rodgers had a QB rating of 0.0 Tom Brady hardly played but fumbled when he did. Kolb threw an interception on his first play. Cornerbacks blew assignments. Surefire can’t miss interceptions were dropped. It’s the pre-season, people, and EVERYBODY is working out the kinks, just as these replacement officials are.

  9. Shoot I’ll ref for 50k a game if you want. Well, make it 75k, and I will never ask for a raise again!

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