NFLPA threatens “appropriate action” over replacement officials


Jay Glazer of FOX reported earlier today that the NFLPA expressed to the league in writing its concerns regarding the replacement officials.  We have now obtained the writing.

In a September 5, 2012 letter from NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso to NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, DePaso requests biographies of all replacement officials, including their names, ages, and experience.

“Should it be evident that the replacement officials are under-qualified or inexperienced, we reserve the right to assert that utilizing replacement officials jeopardizes the health and safety of our members and to take appropriate action to protect our members,” DePaso wrote.  “In addition, our players request that the locked-out officials immediately be allowed to return to work for this weekends’ games to ensure the players’ health and safety is protected until you reach a new agreement with them.”

DePaso also called the performance of the replacement officials “sub-par” during the preseason, “far below the standard set by the members of the Referees Association.”  He likewise expressed concern regarding the ability of the replacements to adjust to the “increased competition, speed and level of play” in the regular season.

On the surface, the replacements have stepped up.  They look the part and sound the part, with no obvious blunders.  But that doesn’t mean they’re making all the calls that the regular officials would make.

And so it’s unlikely the NFLPA will go away quietly.  The question remains when the words will become action, and why action hasn’t already been taken.

UPDATE 7:55 p.m. ET:  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says that Pash responded to the letter, agreed to provide the information, and said there is no evidence that the replacement officials are jeopardizing player safety.

64 responses to “NFLPA threatens “appropriate action” over replacement officials

  1. I thought did a really good job today. Couple of missed calls here and there, but nothing egregious. As I type this, they seem to be granting Seattle a fourth timeout at the end of the game. Oops.

  2. I have not seen anything in the games i’ve watched that show the replacements have been less competent than the regular refs. It’s just talked about more by the announcers because they are “replacements”. These little non-calls or missed calls are done by regular officials in every game every week, but I don’t hear Troy Aikman harping on it every play and Mike Pereira always backs the regular refs.

    The players association is not going to do anything and it’s just a scare tactic that the NFL will not fall for one bit.

  3. It seems to me that this objection should have been made prior to the first preseason game. The concern of the NFLPA for their members’ health is touching but not believable.

  4. They missed a bad one in the Jags game. Gabbert was smashed in the face with only offsides called. Play should have been blown dead before contact and also a personal foul should have been issued.

  5. First of all, the replacement refs looked fine. Did they make mistakes? Sure. But I also noticed that coaches made poor time management decisions, receivers dropped balls, running backs chose the wrong running lanes, and linemen missed blocks. Will they also be asked too drop out of the game?

    Second, if the replacement officials are jeopardizing “the players’ health and safety” please show me data that indicates there is a higher rate of injuries to players.

  6. looked like a normal weekend of football to me … the regular officials make the same types of missed and/or bad calls … certainly not enough difference in skill and quality to cave into the refs union. the nflpa is crying wolf … go ahead nflpa, writing a big bad letter is about all you’re gonna do … players would be CRAZY to walk out in support of refs … let’s see what kind of PR you get out of that!

  7. Although as a fan, I cannot see a giant difference, but there were multiple missed calls in the Vikings game as well, the Jags shouldn’t have even been close to wining that game. Vikes could have run out the clock had they made the right calls, that being said, I’m sure there Are more “serious” calls that a fan, like me cannot see

  8. The replacement officials made inconsistent calls all day long, missed some obvious fouls, and called some fouls that really weren’t. They even awarded a fourth time out to Seattle, jeopardizing the Cardinals hard fought victory. Any objective observer would conclude that they stink. Thus I’m forced to conclude that the NFL should continue to keep the referees locked out since there is no discernible difference in the calibre of officiating.

  9. They do not know how to officiate the trenches at all. And obviously all those saying they have been fine obviously
    Have no idea about line play either

  10. GB vs SF
    NO vs WAS
    ARZ vs SEA
    were all examples of incompetent officiating

    not to mention, a play that should have been dead got Jake Locker hurt in the TEN game, all the games had missed calls, several had blown calls. Time to pay the professionals.

  11. I suspect that the real fear here is that over time, as the replacement officials continue grow into their new assignments and become less of a story, NFL fans—and league management—may actually forget about the locked out officials. For good.

  12. You know really jeopardizes the safety of NFLPA member? Other NFLPA members the regularly choose to ignore football rules and lead with the crown of their helmet and initiate contact to the head of opponents. They do this regardless of who the officials are. If the NFLPA wants credibility on this issue, they need to demonstrate that they have seriously taken up the issue within their union first.

  13. Yes, there were missed calls by the replacement refs. News flash: the regular guys would have missed some calls too. Bad ones. And no one can say for sure that at least some of the calls missed by the replacements wouldn’t have also been missed by the regulars. It sounds to me like there are some people here who want to use these guys as an excuse for why their teams lost.

  14. I saw one call where a player broke the plane in the endzone and they didn’t signal a touchdown until 3-5 seconds later. Yes this actually happened.

  15. It’s also amazing to me that many of the same people clam miring for the regular refs would also be the same ones complaining about them if they WERE out there today.

    You can’t win.

  16. Appropriate action? Like players giving up game checks and staying home?
    That’s as likely as a fish mating with a buffalo.

    Strong union members, those players….

  17. Lot of complaints from Niner fans here, but did you guys notice the refs let you false start three times on the same touchdown drive? Glad the Packers lost, but that block in the back is something the regular officials screw up all the time. Like I said, a few missed calls here and there, but aside from the fourth timeout, nothing that was completely ridiculous.

  18. Lot of complaints from Niner fans here, but did you guys notice the refs let you false start three times on the same touchdown drive? Glad the Packers lost, but that block in the back is something the regular officials screw up all the time. Like I said, a few missed calls here and there, but aside from the fourth timeout, nothing that was completely ridiculous.


    Lots of bad calls both ways. But that punt return had to be the worst call of the day. Well, maybe except the 4th time out. I saw it watching TV. Plus, completely changed the game.

    Finally, let’s admit it. The regular refs aren’t exactly great either.

  19. The replacements kept the Browns in the game but could not get them a couple more points needed for a win.
    But if you took the points, you’re cashing in, big time.

  20. You don’t blame the actual refs. They are new, and this is what happens when you have new employees. You blame the nfl and roger Goodell, a multi billion dollar business that is too cheap to pay their good officials. This is capitalism at its finest. If you don’t pay your best employees, you have to bring in new, unqualified people and go through a long, expensive learning curve.

  21. Why not turn over all NFL operations to the NFLPA ?
    And kick Goodell out the door. The NFLPA seems to have all the answers.

  22. You know what will happen when NFL settles with refs after just finishing with players last year, then it will be the stadium workers who want more money because the NFL is a nine billion dollar a year business…and so on and so forth.

  23. The replacement officials have been terrible. Missed an obvious false start in one game, allowed four time outs and gave a timeout to a team that should have been called for delay of game. SF should have been called for PI at least four times where no penalty was called. I haven’t seen a single game that’s been well officiated. What games have you been watching?

  24. Two really obvious mistakes in the Cardinals/Seahawks game – a 5 yard spotting error follow a sack of Wilson, and a 4th timeout given to the Seahawks in the final minute.

    The other really horrible call I saw today was when Devin McCourty was all over and practically was mugging a receiver (I think Nate Washington) in the end zone in the first quarter of the Tennessee / New England game, but no call was made.

    On the other hand, this was the first game in a long time where the Lions got a fair shake from the refs…

  25. They missed a few calls in the MN vs JAX game, but that’s no different from the regular refs. All in all, about the same. I have no problem with the replacements. Green Bay sure misses the old refs though – they’re used to getting every call at home. Didn’t happen that way today.

  26. I saw a few bad calls today (the block in the back in the Green Bay game, for example). However, those bad calls happen every week with regular refs, too.

    If the players were concerned about safety, they should have brought up that concern before the first pre-season game. If they were trying to show union solidarity, they could have done that a lot earlier, too. At this point, it’s just Shakespeare’s tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  27. The player safety angle is really strong. I can see ways they could calculate a hundred million dollars in additional wasted profits as a result of the increase in danger with these lesser competent referees. It’s all a matter of probabilities and equations. Look at Ben Roethlisberger that just took a hit because the false start penalty did not get a whistle to stop the play. The refs were confused in announcing the penalty so it’s quite clear they didn’t process that they made a mistake by not blowing the whistle at the time of the infraction, and what was the result, why it was a clean and unnecessary unabated hit to a big named quarterback. Ooopsy.

  28. If the NFLPA is so concerned about how bad the replacements are why don’t they just use some of their association dues to get the officials some more money? Ha fat chance. Pretty easy to complain when its not coming out of your pocket.

  29. The refs just missed that the Steelers’ RB had his knee down prior to breaking the plane. Their incompetence almost cost the chance for an extra goal line smash play and more potential injuries. Actually the game is safer from that mistake. Maybe not good for other financial reasons but it is a counter point to the safety point. They can use it to fight off that charge and then brush it under the rug some other way when it is analyzed as a penalty from some other perspective.

  30. While I am not a Seahawks fan, I would remind anyone of the Super Bowl in 2006 in which the horrific officiating arguably helped the Steelers win and was one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen. Super Bowl crews are chosen as the best of the best. Point is, you can cry about officiating forever, once its done, its done. These guys are no worse than the ‘real’ ones. I like that they are less likely to call pass interference.

  31. Certainly missed a blatant 15 yard personal foul against CLE for slapping Vick clear across his face which forced a punt. Not to mention 12 penalties on PHI(8 for holding) and only what, 3 on CLE( not a single hold, which is absolutely impossible, everyone knows there’s holding on just about every play). Certainly wasn’t balanced officiating and they havent better in any other game either. Looks more and more obvious that they made the Wednesday game crew their best-of-the-worst crew at the expense of the rest of the games.

  32. Seems to me the only fans crying are the ones that watched their team lose. Your team loses so blame the refs. Half those losing teams got blown out and would’ve got blown out regardless of a missed cal or two. Suck it up girls.

  33. “It’s all a matter of probabilities and equations.”

    Hm okay way to substantiate by trying to look smart but coming across as a dunce.

  34. The officials were simply dreadful today; it was so bad that I was praying for obnoxious inconsistency of the old refs.

  35. Call me a blind Packer fan, but I don’t see how a shove from the side = block in the back. Aside from missing blatant false starts, holding, and pass interference plays, these replacement refs are generally better than the usual refs.

    But that’s still no excuse for not knowing how many timeouts a team has used

  36. Wow here is a shock Lion fan crying about officiating again. You should be happy yhe officals gift wrapped the victory for you against the 4th ranked team in the bcs.

  37. “yah, there was that play in that game that a ref missed a call and it hurt my team”.
    —-signed every homer fan in every game ever played

    The replacement officials are doing fine. The “real” officials have zero leverage at this point, and the weak nflpa’s lame postering will have no impact on that fact. Time to pack it in and get back to work, guys.

  38. When the players show that they are concerned for their own and other players safety then maybe they can complain about the Refs.
    1. They refuse to wear the Knee and thigh pads that the owners are trying to make mandatory.
    2. Players demanding they be allowed to play even when they have an existing injury that if hit again could kill them. (Jason Witten for example)
    3. A couple years ago Hines Ward actually criticized his own QB for reporting to trainers that he was still having concussion symptoms and ended up having to sit out the next game.

  39. sreske93 says:
    Sep 10, 2012 1:45 AM

    But that’s still no excuse for not knowing how many timeouts a team has used


    The Refs did apply the injury rule incorrectly but the team did only call 3 timeouts, they had lost one due to an injury in the last 2 minutes. The league will correct this going forward. The refs did not let 1 team call 4 timeouts even though that was the net effect.

    Also, for anyone who is whining that the refs bad calls are upheld even after replay, remember, THE REPLAY OFFICIALS ARE THE REGULAR REPLAY OFFICIALS. That means the same calls would be upheld even without the lockout. That means you are just whining that your team lost and don’t really have a valid complaint.

    Lastly, Al Michaels needs to go. It’s great that he can recite every catch that Collingsworth made in his career without hesitation but he acts like a grumpy old man and the replacement refs are the kids who won’t stay off his lawn.

    He should’ve left when Madden did.

  40. The chaos theories on the NE-TEN game that blame the refs for Locker getting hurt are ridiculous.

    Not one of you knew it was an incomplete pass in real time and the refs did the right thing by not calling it incomplete on a bang bang play. It may have been over ruled that it was not incomplete, but it was damn close and could’ve been left as ruling on the field stands as it was so close.

    Locker put himself in the way of a tackle, not the refs.

    The regular refs have let bang bang plays like that play out until a review as well, so to say definitively that the injury wouldn’t have happened if Hochuli was out there is just irrational.

    Sorry your QB got hurt, but it’s part of the game.

    Not to mention it didn’t decide the game as the Pats D was on it yesterday.

  41. It seems to me that the worst call of the day was the one that should have been made against the Packers on the punt return.
    The ref called a block in the back and was over ruled by another ref (a “senior” ref or crew chief perhaps). The replays show a block in which the blocker barely got his head in front of the defender but was NOT A BLOCK in the back.

    The replays also show an obvious block in the back that even the announcers thought was the original call. My guess is the “senior” offiical thought the first ref was refering to the one in which the block was legal. The other ref was either confused or chose not to argue, or felt he may have made an error on the illegal block.
    The over ruling of call was the worst.

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