Problems persist with replacement officials

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As criticism of replacement officials mounts, another important difference between the locked-out officials and their substitutes is emerging.

The men whom the league has assembled over a period of years have the innate ability to don thick skin, to forget about their mistakes, to tune out the coaches and players and media and fans, and to continue to do their jobs efficiently and decisively despite realizing that they will be subject to scrutiny for anything and pretty much everything they do.

Plenty of the folks from NCAA Division II and lower apparently are being paralyzed by the reality that they will be subject to scrutiny for anything and pretty much everything they do.

How else can the extended delay at the end of the first half of Wednesday night’s Bucs-Redskins preseason game be exclaimed?  Long after the Buccaneers called a time out to stop the clock, the referee trotted over to review the spot of the ball, via a replay challenge initiated by the booth.  And then he eventually came back to the middle of the field and explained that the call on the field stands.  And then everyone lined up for the next play.  And then the whistle was blown.

And then the referee turned on his microphone and said he needs to take another look.  And scattered laughs and moans emerged from the crowd.

Look, we realize that the locked-out officials make plenty of mistakes.  But we can’t recall a single time when a referee had to go back under the hood after already doing so.  While the rule book doesn’t expressly forbid it, the rule book states that the review must be completed in 60 seconds.

With the regular season only a week away, the biggest challenge for the league comes from getting the replacement officials ready to properly and quickly administer the game after the whistle is blown, knowing immediately what to do and how to do it despite the many distractions inherent to making those decisions with thousands of voices telling them what to do — and millions of eye watching.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just work out a fair compromise with the locked-out officials?

72 responses to “Problems persist with replacement officials

  1. It’s funny how most people believe there’s no difference between these refs and last years refs… Even I can go out there and screw around the way these refs have performing…

  2. So now you’re bitching cause they wanted to get it right?! Stop with the bull. The locked out officials aren’t the only ones on the planet who can do the job.

  3. RG3 is gonna throw 85 TD’s this year and win the next 12 Superbowls BROTHER!!! He is already in the HOF too.

  4. Please pay the Refs Roger!!! As a fan I’ll admit they don’t get every call right … And I will call them every name in the book… But they’re still better than a bunch of amateurs. It’s a billion dollar business.. What’s gonna happen when these replacement refs blow calls consistently!!

  5. Do NOT forget the criticism of replacement officials! If they are subject to daily criticism, then so are the “regulars”. A standard is a standard. Every official is subject to professional standards. Not just replacement officials!

  6. I saw this is it played out and really didn’t think too much of it. If anything it gives the players a few more seconds to catch their breath and they get a free timeout.

    The replacements aren’t great but neither are the regulars.

  7. Ha, I saw the headline and thought for sure this would be about the Giants-Pats game. The Giants committed two fouls on a punt and apparently that was enough to throw the referee for a loop. He made three separate announcements and I literally ate my entire dinner in the time it took to spot the ball correctly.

  8. I wish the high speed low drag crew at the Superbowl with Seattle vs Pittsburgh had gotten the calls right.

    I bet Jerome Bettis wishes they had reviewed the coin toss too.

  9. Pay guys 2k a game to oversee a billion dollar business. Guy place a bet make a bad call…. you get what you pay for

  10. The players should do the right thing and not play another down with these clowns! Refuse to take the field until the professionals return to protect their safety and the integrity of the game. Roger Goodell and the rest of the higher ups and owners should be ashamed of themseleves! They do a great job talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    The players should strike now, immediate financial gratification is far less important than their safety and long term health! The refs have taken it on the chin for far too long!

  11. I have seen how football fan reacts to this heck a’lot of times I am football fan. When this happens to football fan in a game that counts football fan loses his mind. Some versions of football fan saying no names even rains down beer bottles on said referee. Good luck with that guys.

  12. what happens when 5 games are going on at once?
    is there that many incompetent refs ready to go out there?

  13. This is all about TV revenue….they will take commercial breaks while they review EVERYTHING….

    The NFL is a marketing machine.

  14. Fans watching to NFL who pays big money going to a game pay to see the best football players in the world, we also expect the NFL to give us the best Refs in the world as well, I don’t want to watch games with these sorry refs who are terrible,

  15. Regular refs or replacement refs even though I would rather have the regulars when it comes down to it we still have football & that’s what matters most! AMEN!!

  16. > Wouldn’t it be easier to just work out a fair compromise with the locked-out officials?

    Define ‘fair compromise’, please. The middle class American football fan doesn’t have much sympathy for a bunch of attorneys and business executives who make $150k/year for a part time job and who, by the way, are demanding a PENSION! Didn’t pensions for (part time) employees pretty much disappear 30 or 40 years ago? Pity the officials who might have to swallow the bitter pill of a 401k like the rest of the American workforce.

  17. well the nfl offered the real refs a very fair deal and they declined. at some point you have to draw the line. do you really believe a ref should make about 100k and up to 200k? well as i understand they would anyway under the deal they were offered and declined. never thought id say it but im on the leagues side on this one.

  18. bkostela says:
    Aug 29, 2012 11:11 PM
    i would like to know the last time a regular ref completed a review in 60 seconds

    Actually, past refs HAVE done that. Easy calls are quickly reviewed calls. The games often go to tv timeouts for commercials while the ref is waiting for the commercial to go off and go back like on air to make the ruling.

    And tonight, the Redskins game ref needed TWO fill 90 second reviews back to back JUST for a spotting of the ball. NO past official has EVER looked THAT incompetent as these officials did tonight.

    The officials in the Pats/Giants game were even worse. Tonight was a straight up joke.

  19. It really isn’t a big deal. Not like everyone is making it out to be. They’re making mistakes, but ones like these don’t affect the outcome of the game.

  20. It doesn’t matter what calls aren’t being made. They’re still going to protect anyone with the name Brady, Manning, and Brees while endangering other QBs that are named Vick.

  21. Unfortunately for either Giants or Dallas fans – one bad call in the game is going to get the ENTIRE fan base in an uproar & then the NFL is really going to have a problem. I almost wish it will happen.

  22. Since when does the booth review the spot of the ball? Are they trying to control the “replacement refs” from the booth with the real ref? Wouldn’t that be a little illegal?

  23. That’s what happens when SCABS cross the picket. They are the scum of the earth. They have no backbone. Real men don’t steal other men’s jobs. It won’t be long we will all be making less money, mark my word. No wonder people don’t work anymore. Welfare pays more than a full time job. SCABS are not only blowing our future but our children’s also. Cheep Labor

  24. I remember when referees were supposed to be an unspoken, un-noticed part of the game who simply upheld the rules…man, the good ol’ days!

  25. Wouldn’t it be easier to just work out a fair compromise with the locked-out officials?

    It takes two sides to work out a fair compromise. I’m sure both sides already believe that their last offer was a fair compromise. Both sides have some leverage now, so maybe they can work something out. It’s ridiculous to think that setting this lockout is completely under the control of the NFL. They can’t just give in to everything the officials demand because it would set a terrible precedent for future negotiations. Both sides need to give in a little if this thing is going to end.

  26. I can’t believe that so many people have been defending the replacement refs. I keep wondering whether a bunch of Goodell supporters are responsible for the many comments implying that this isn’t a problem.

    The replacement refs have absolutely no experience at this level and speed. I agree with the League’s desire to hire more refs and sympathize with the replacement refs, who are being put into an impossible position and taking a lot of ridicule because they’re being asked to do a job that they aren’t ready for at this time. But at the end of the day, the integrity of the game and the quality of the product are suffering because of this. It’s time to stop this nonsense, work out some type of a compromise and bring back the professionals.

  27. I’m not saying the replacement refs are as good as the locked out refs NOW, but that’s primarily due to experience in the league. With half a season under their belts, many replacement refs will be indistinguishable from the locked out ones. Everyone gets better with experience and if you work hard enough you master it. Time is not on the locked out refs side. They need to bend now or they may not get their jobs back.

  28. there was another debacle in the giants-pats game that im surprised they didnt mention. Watching, it was hard to understand what was even going on but it was painful to watch the refs struggle with the call they were trying to make and they all seemed legitimately scared of belicheck when he was looking for an explanation. And they looked like they wanted to run and hide when the boos drowned out the actual incomprehensible call.

    Its a shame that the NFL thinks it is so powerful that it can nickel and dime the actual refs to a point that it puts out an inferior product on the field. This has got to end soon, I hope they can split the difference and just move on.

  29. If the old refs are unhappy and need a job, theres always Walmart to turn to, that is, if they think they can handle it. They may not be nearly as important as they might think they are….the new guys will get the job done, with far less bitching and moaning.

  30. I have to say, I’ve been on the “screw the locked-out refs” side for a while. All the arguments didn’t seem to make sense to me regarding injuries or missed calls. I didn’t see any of that mattering.

    But after this and the nonsense that went on during the Giants/Pats game, the biggest problem with these new refs is simply their total ineptitude. Missed or wrong calls I can deal with and have dealt with – Constant whistles and delays because they have no idea what they are doing and SAYING I can’t suffer.

  31. The men whom the league has assembled over a period of years have the innate ability to don thick skin, to forget about their mistakes, to tune out the coaches and players and media and fans, and to continue to do their jobs efficiently and decisively despite realizing that they will be subject to scrutiny for anything and pretty much everything they do.

    What a crock. The part-timers are never overtly criticized by other than the fans because of the fines that the NFL levies. Thick skin? The NFL’s contract offer contains provisions for accountability and that worries the life out of the part-timers. They know there’s a myriad of NCAA Division I referees who are superior to them and a lot cheaper but they’ve intimidated them into inaction. The NFL could hire the Division I refs and have a superior group on the fields across the country in two weeks. And they wouldn’t cost six figure lifetime pensions.

  32. Yeah the old refs weren’t perfect, but at least they aren’t morons. Seriously the replacements are awful, i truly think i could do a better job. They are THAT bad!

  33. “i would like to know the last time a regular ref completed a review in 60 seconds”


    I was just about to post the same thing. Many times I have watched the ref go under the hood, a couple of minutes have gone by, then we’ve gone to commercials, then at the end of the commercial break the ref is still under the hood. 60 second limit my foot!

    Why are you trying to hold the replacement refs to a higher standard than the regular refs? Shouldn’t it be the other way around if anything?

  34. I’m not sure of what side you’re taking in this labor dispute. Perhaps you could make it more clear what sign you’re on.


  35. The issue with the referees is the pacing. Calls that used to take 5 seconds to announce now take 20 to 30 seconds since these guys have to pow-wow and talk about it for awhile before the referee announces it.

    Even if you don’t feel like these guys are making more mistakes than the old guys, you have to admit, they’re making the games even slower – which is not a good thing.

  36. The one thing I don’t want to hear anymore from people is “you wait til these replacements cost your team a game.” Because the regular refs have cost my team enough games to last a lifetime.

  37. @pftisahalftruth

    Thats the point. These officials Cant do the job, at least not nearly as good as the locked out ones. You hire scabs you get scab results. Hilarious moment thou. Lol.

  38. What I’m nervous about is the fact these replacements KNOW they are just temporary. Who’s to say they won’t take a bribe to throw a game? There was the point about one of the officials having a past in gambling. They won’t be making much money officiating these games. I’d watch out for that.

  39. I can remember a couple of times in the last few years where the regular refs had made a decision on a play, and then went back under the good to determine where to spot the ball. I’m all for ending the lock out, but you are way overlooking the faults of the regular officials.

  40. There was a similar situaion between pats and giants. Took 4 plus minutes to figure out what to do when the giants had 2 penalties on 1 play. U gotta see this 1

  41. “Problems persist with replacement officials”

    at the end of last season (especially after the giants packer playoff game) you could have easily written a story titled…

    Problems persist with [regular] officials.
    the bottom line is, yes, replacement officials are not as good as the regular ones. however, with time they will be.
    personally, simply because of the fact that they are unionized, i would like to see them all fired.
    after all, i can’t get away with trying to threaten and strong arm my boss so why should they be able to.

  42. Oh please.They are doing just as well as the regulars. The regulars once called the football on the Jets helmet going over the goal line as a TD even though the ball never did.
    Example 1 and there are plenty….

    So stop your vendetta against the Commish. The replacements are not ‘paralyzed’.

  43. Again really does this affect anybodies lives other than the ref’s? Will gas and food prices go up because of replacement ref’s? The safety of the players angle did not work because players are going to get hurt no matter who is officiating. Calls get blown and even the mighty Ed H. has blown spotting the ball and was to arrogant to go look at it under the hood. Stop complaining because this guy wanted to make sure he got it right.

  44. These scab refs are an embarrassment to the league and most certainly will decide several games on their own this season.

  45. The biggest issue I’ve seen is that these refs don’t seem to know the rulebook. The Bills have been called twice for “illegal block in the back” while *covering* punts. Fortunately, the second time it happened, one ref with a clue was able to explain the rule to the others and the flag was picked up, but this was in different games and with (presumably) different crews, and most of the refs thought it was the right call.

  46. What’s most worrisome to me is the clear lack of control/confidence these crews have. When the real bullets start to fly, games can become much more heated and you need strong crews to keep things under control. I fear some of these replacement crews losing complete control of a game….would they have any idea what to do?

    Pay the regular officials – whether or not you think what they’re asking for is fair, the amount in dispute is so insignificant to the league as to be irrelevant. It’s like $100,000 per year per team, in a league with $9 billion in revenue. That’s around .03% of revenue per team.

  47. The NFL is proving a point that they cant be intimidated by anyone(well maybe the fans who can stay home and not attend games). this isnt about money, its the principle of the thing(how dare they demand anything from us owners,those peons).its time to just pay them and get them back,the money paying fans deserve it.

  48. The replacement officials are overly scrutinized. Some calls are head-scratchers but the regular guys made some of those calls too…after years of experience. The replacements are making some bad initial calls but they are eventually getting them right but that part is conveniently left out in the reporting.The main issue I see is that they are not confident. They second guess themselves constantly and then gather their on-field committee meeting to find validation and the courage to announce the call. Those issues will slowly go away as these guys gain experience and gain confidence.

    The integrity of the game is not in jeopardy and neither is player safety. The only real pressure the league will feel is from the networks paying huge money to air the games. The inexperience of these refs are causing the games to go longer than they should. That effects the programming schedule and will prompt demands for action.

    The replacement officials are in need of a little help and the league could easily give it to them. The league could alter the review process and that would save some time and give the guys on the field a little more confidence that the plays are getting called right. They could allow the replay officials to review questionable plays and TELL the on-field officials what the correct call is and where the ball should be placed. (Similar to NCAA system) That removes extra time going back and forth to the sideline video machine and removes much of the pressure from the inexperienced officials not used to it.

  49. Personally, I kind of like the new officiating. Yes, there a lots of holding calls missed or wrongly called. Yes, there are other stupid mistakes like the one described in the story.

    I like watching the DBs fight with WRs for position and the ball. I’ve always hated that stupid 5 yard rule. It reminds me of 80s football when Dixon and Minnifield mostly ruled the field with WRs. I like watching the OL and DL fight it out, with the holds not being called. Most OL and DL can be nasty individuals on the field, and it will play out this year. I like that the refs don’t have a hair trigger flag for ‘touching the QB’.

    I figure the worst that will happen this year is a few games will be determined by bad reffing. That happens every year. After this season, the newbies are the professional refs.

  50. Same ol’ calls/no call’s as ever, it’s just that the replacement refs are under a microscope whereas one couldn’t speak a word about lame officiating of the regulars without getting in trouble.

  51. “Mr. Wright 212 says: Aug 29, 2012 11:35 PM
    The stoppage during the Giants game was worse.”

    What a sad but hilarious clip. I was expecting to see the following dialogue somewhere in the video:

    Fan: “Are you even a real referee?”
    Ref: “No. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

  52. The lockout is because the officials want a pension and don’t want to be full time employees. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If they make over 80k they can be full time. Sorry but pensions and job security are a thing of the past. This isn’t the teachers union were talking about.

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