NFL statement: Replacement refs “are performing admirably”

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After a Sunday night and Monday morning in which NFL officiating was ripped by players, the media and fans across America, the league has come forward with a statement defending the performance of the replacement officials.

The NFL’s brief statement noted that there are always mistakes with officiating, and said that the league backs the replacements as working hard to do their jobs in a tough position.

“Officiating is never perfect,” the statement said. “The current officials have made great strides and are performing admirably under unprecedented scrutiny and great pressure. As we do every season, we will work to improve officiating and are confident that the game officials will show continued improvement.”

The problem, however, is that the replacement officials haven’t shown continued improvement: In Week One they appeared to do a basically competent job, but in Week Two — perhaps because players and coaches had noticed the types of things the officials were letting them get away with — the replacements were noticeably struggling in several games.

The NFL may say the replacements are performing admirably, but fans aren’t going to believe an NFL statement over their own eyes.

76 responses to “NFL statement: Replacement refs “are performing admirably”

  1. Admirably is a bit strong, but keep in mind, the replacement refs are competing against a group of guys who got a coinflip wrong, so the competition isnt that strong.

  2. Refs were terrible in the ravens eagles game……..they let the crowd dictate the calls……..terrible call against jones in the endzone…….ravens had horrible play calling and still should have executed better but the refs defintiely cost them a TD……that cost them the game………

  3. No they’re not. If there was anything I could do, I would. They’re terrible and goodell is giving the company line. I really dislike the nfl commish and unfortunately he’s in a great spot that has little to with him and anything he’s done

  4. this is horrible horrible news from the nfl. can the nflpa please do something about this, this season has already been altered too much by these officials.

  5. Whatever!! The replacement reffs are horrible & so were the original reffs!!

    Now instead of one team getting hosed, both teams are getting crappy calls on them!!!

  6. It’s not the calls that drove me crazy in the Steelers-Jets games. It’s the caucuses after every penalty. Turning into the last 2 minutes of an NBA game. Plus, it’s clear the officials have rabbit ears with the players. Santonio Holmes said something like “the refs really listened to us.”

    Well, that’s an indictment.

    I support what the NFL wants…full time crews, maybe an academy to train young refs, using former players. I’d just like to get to that point without going through this.

  7. These guys missed so many calls this weekend! These are outcome related missed calls or bad calls. I really hope the players union gets involved for not only the refs sake bit for player safety. Too many illegal hits

  8. Admirably and up to standard are 2 completely different things. Let’s compare these refs to something tangible like a third string QB. If, for whatever reason, your third string QB has to go into a game and completes above 50% of his passes, doesn’t make too many mistakes especially in the turnover department, and finishes with 150 yards passing, they performed admirably. However, you still want your stud QB to go out and put up 300 yards passing, 2 TDs, and 60% completion and you’re not going to turn that down should he be able to play.

    Bottom line, this is ridiculous. Bring backt he normal refs. We shouldn’t be “settling” for admirable when we could have something better.

  9. You can push this agenda all you want; however, these officials ARE the officials. They will learn… to think someone is born into the position and just magically learns it is illogical. Trial by fire. They are getting it and will improve… besides, I would rather non bias refs over the old ones.. playing to “certain players” or promoting the passing game to improve a fantasy product by tossing a flag anytime a defender breathed on someone. People want to preach about the “sanctity of the game” yet forget only 10 months ago… everyone was complaining that the game turned into flag football. This is football. Let the kids play.

  10. Head in the sand.

    I don’t know about the other games, but they must not have watched the Rams/Redskins game. It was painful. And not because it was the Rams/Redskins.

  11. The only positive is that the errors aren’t lopsided towards one side or another. Both teams in every game have to deal with the bad calls equally.

    However, the poor officiating is changing the game for everyone. It’s becoming a bit like old school 60s football where anything goes. You can bet that coaches are now encouraging players to go ahead and break the rules that aren’t being enforced.

  12. The replacements are under enormous scrutiny considering everyone is against them. If they last a whole season the will get better with experience and the NFL knows this. Each week that passes the “real” officials still lose leverage.

  13. I am trying to support the replacements, but this “performed admirably” take is a statement that anyone who watched the Redskins-Rams game will dismiss out of hand.

  14. He must have watched different games than me. The replacement refs make the game move sooooooo slow. Well at least I can just dvr them and fast forward thru the blundering around.

  15. Marginal holding call on Gronkowski that nullified Woodhead TD.

    But then they put the ball back on the original line of scrimmage, without walking off the 10 yards for holding.

  16. Yes, the ‘regular’ officials did make mistakes – even in high profile situations – but there’s simply no legitimate comparison of the overall quality of officiating between the locked-out officials and their replacements: the replacement refs are worse.

  17. There were 2(!!!!) two-minute warnings in the Eagles game in the 4th quarter.

    People saying they’re missing PI calls, which are COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE, are talking on emotion and anger that their team didn’t get the calls. That happens with real refs.

    No, the problem is the flow of these games is horrific. When it gets colder, there could be a 4 hour game. 1 pm to 5 pm.

    I’d say a season’s worth of bad calls by real refs have been made in the last 2 weeks by the replacements.

    You can’t just get 25 years of NFL reffing experience in 6 months. They look lost out there sometimes.

  18. Most of the long runs I’ve seen have involved dodging referees who never had to move so fast to get out of the way in the college and high school ranks.

  19. and Roseanne Barr is hot …lol
    welll the call on Ike Taylor was awful, but i tell u the holding call on Gronk that cost the Patriots the game was horrible,horrible….
    never thought in a million years i would say i miss Ron Winter

  20. Jesus, if these guys (refs) worked for me like this, they wouldn’t be working for me!

    Send them back to their high school games.

  21. The replacements refs aren’t the best but without them there is no football, you need refs! The regular refs refuse to work without their demands made. I’m sick of ppl blaming the replacements when all they are doing is filling in until the 2 sides agree. It’s not their fault the regular refs aren’t working, they do the best they can and it lets me try (dolphins fan it’s hard sometimes) to enjoy the NFL. Stop complaining and enjoy some football cuz its still better then no football.

  22. shaggyjeff says: Sep 17, 2012 6:14 PM

    LOL tell that to Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin !

    LOL tell that to Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, who were held mercifully all game with only four PI/holding calls, and STILL had 21 catches for nearly 400 yards, and would have saved two of the 3 Eli INTs, which were also the result of uncalled holding.

    You are whining about two plays, one of which was completely clean and had no bearing on the outcome of the game. Meanwhile, the holding I’m mentioning stalled drives, took away a sure TD drive and LED TO A PICK 6.

  23. “The current officials have made great strides and are performing admirably under unprecedented scrutiny and great pressure.”

    Spoken like a true politician.

  24. tabdanger says:
    Sep 17, 2012 6:02 PM
    The replacements are under enormous scrutiny considering everyone is against them. If they last a whole season the will get better with experience and the NFL knows this. Each week that passes the “real” officials still lose leverage.


    Let’s put the old refs under some scrutiny. Ed Hochuli for instance :

    Ed lives in Phoenix and has reffed multiple Arizona Cardinals games including the first regular season game at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 10, 2006, when the Cardinals hosted the 49ers. Conflict of interest?

    He went to college in Texas yet is free to referee Dallas and Houston games. Conflict of interest?

    In 2008, he blew a really easy call in the Denver – Chargers game : Chargers head coach Norv Turner later said after the game, “Ed came over to me and said he blew it. And that to me is not acceptable.”[40] Hochuli responded to the situation, writing, “Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection – I failed miserably.” . How loudly was the media calling for his dismissal after the admitted horrible call which affected the outcome of the game? Not a peep.

    I could go on and on ….

  25. The replacements are doing fine. I feel bad for the original ref’s… When they come back they’re going to be under just as much, if not more, scrutiny than these replacements.

  26. No its far from OK. I watched the 4 hour long Eagles Ravens game and at one point the refs spotted the ball then grouped together, then spotted it elsewhere THEN spotted it again in a different spot. WTH am I watching here? They dont even have something simple like spotting a ball down. Its painful to watch this nonsense.

  27. I was a little disappointed with their performance in week 2. Thought they’d improve from week one but they actually got worse in my opinion. I can stomach a missed call here and there, but when they delay the game of reasons I don’t know why is what aggravates me the most. Every penalty they have to huddle up and have a deep group discussion, they take forever under the booth for challenges. Those are my biggest gripes…

  28. Takes years to become an NFL ref, and you people think they will get better as the year goes along?

  29. @jpb12
    I didn’t watch the game but saw the highlight…. they put it back at the original line of scrimmage because holding was happening 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage… they marked it correctly.. refs are under a ton of scrutiny and the eye of everyone…. I’ve seen the “regular” refs make all the same mistakes, the only difference is they won’t admit when they are wrong and they dont take as long to make the same bad calls..

  30. Oh, please… Every game I’ve watched has had issues. It’s not just that the replacements make bad calls, it’s that they obviously don’t understand the rules that well. They are constantly baffled. Will they eventually reach a level like that of the regular refs? Probably so – after an entire season. And then, what? You won’t pay them as much either? Man up, Roger!

  31. In the infamous words of The Princess’ Bride “Admirably…you keep using that word, but I don’t think you know what it means…”

    I would say just a notch below “competently”.

    “Subpar”. Arguments can be made that they’ve already cost some teams a few games, and worse, players.

  32. These guys are not as good as the regular refs – considering the circumstances, they couldn’t possibly be. But it’s still football, and I’m going to keep watching, and if mistakes are made, so be it.

    If the season gets wrecked, it’s not on the NFL, it’s on the NFLRA for their attempted extortion.

  33. Folks who want the original refs back or want Goodell gone only have to do one thing: stop watching games, stop buying merchandise, stop going to stadiums.

    As long as the NFL is raking in the money they won’t change. It will take a drop in revenue to make them rethink their stance.

    This was proved all the way back in 1987 when the league used replacement players. The league didn’t lose any TV revenue and not much ancillary revenue so they just waited out the players.

  34. 4ever85 (aka Butch DeadLift) says:Sep 17, 2012 7:02 PM
    … Arguments can be made that they’ve already cost some teams a few games, and worse, players.
    Which teams have been cost a few games? Which players?

  35. The economy is going from strength to strength too!! I swear I am watching different games to these guys!

  36. I think it’s fine. People forget just how insufferably bad those union guys have performed, in every game, every week, in every season.

    I really like the fact that these guys are calling fewer penalties. Especially, the whole “illegal contact” thing. GREAT! Let the receivers fight a little harder. I’d rather see a CB cheat a little, than to see a little innocent bump result in a 35-yard pass interference penalty.

    As for costing a game? Hochuli cost the Chargers a win against the Broncos in ’09. He even admitted such.

    These replacements are just fine.

  37. NFL officials would often impress me with their ability of catching things in real-time. These guys couldn’t finish a game without the frequent review. I see more plays overturned than usual.

  38. oldcracker says:Sep 17, 2012 6:25 PM

    … if these guys (refs) worked for me like this, they wouldn’t be working for me!

    Send them back to their high school games.
    Agreed – the NFL should just cancel the games until the NFLRA is ready to be reasonable. We’d all rather watch synchronized swimming. I’m sure the ratings must have tanked, huh?

  39. This reminds me of Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House during the riot at the parade. “ALL IS WELL!”

    Send these clowns back to the Lingerie Football League. Oh no, wait, we can’t…one of them actually got fired from that league.

  40. Put your angry anonymous comments where your mouth is and stop watching…. Seriously, the NFL is at its peak of viewers, popularity, and. Ratings… If you hate Roger so much, and if you think he’s destroyed the league… Stop Watching!… Ho ahead, we won’t miss you… Skins and Ravens fans cry so much!..

  41. Typical NFL!!! They spend all that money on the replacement refs when apparently they could have just hired all of you and every game would be called perfectly! Better yet, let the league know when you all are holding your next clinic and you can teach the Refs’ how to flawlesly do their jobs!

  42. I am so sick of people bashing unions just for being unions on this blog. Yeah unions can be a giant headache, but look at what the NFLRA is actually fighting for: a pension benefit they were promised upon taking this job. They are not asking for new referees to receive this benefit, only for the league to honor its commitment. I understand some companies need employees to give back to survive, but this is the National Football League, a multi-BILLION dollar industry, they aren’t in danger of going under just to guarantee employees a retirement benefit. I understood when it was the NFLPA everyone was griping about, multimillionaires vs multibillionaires, but these guys make a drop in the bucket comparatively and as has been demonstrated these last seven weeks are a really valuable part of the league.

  43. Replacement refs are not as competent as the regular refs, plain and simple. The 2 things that irk me the most:

    1. Their inability to make quick decisions is adding at least a half hour to the games. Too many boring delays with officials huddling.

    2. They are letting complaining players influence their calling penalties. A ton of late flags.

  44. You know… The old officials threw plenty of games.
    “Tuck rule” anyone???
    Get over it. The new guys are, for the most part, getting it right and letting them play.
    I’m ok with it…..

  45. Refereeing in the NFL is hard. Are the under-qualified, under-experienced refs doing as good as one could hope? Sure, but that does’t mean they are anywhere near what the real refs were at!! You can hear it every time they turn the mic on: scared, hesitant, confused. The integrity of the game is dropping weekly. Each week I feel like my team is in a WWF match instead of a real honest NFL match-up. NFL is looking like a cheap boss that only wants to buy the Grade B beef at his restaurant cause they think the customers won’t know the difference! Then they wonder why no one is there at 7:30 on a Friday night.

  46. The replacement referees were cute and all during the preseason and maybe even the first game of the season… the fact that none of them call illegal contact on the defenders grabbing all over the WRs is a joke. Not only is it no longer cute, it is getting to the point that this season will have a big ole asterisk on it soon.

    I was one of the “The regular refs are just as bad… if not worse” guys before. Now, I am not so sure that’s true anymore. Seems like the replacements just keep getting worse every week.

  47. @nomoreseasontix… whether or not you agree with it, the tuck rule was a rule and it was called appropriately.

    The offensive pass interference that called back a Baltimore touchdown yesterday potentially cost a game.

    The Gronkowski holding that would never have been called in that situation by a ‘real’ ref, and while we’re at it the PI non-call against Gronkowski on the 2 pt. conversion attempt potentially cost the Pats that game. If you are going to call close plays late in the game then call all of them.

  48. Watching Denver Atlanta I’m just in disbelief at this. These guys are not controlling the game.

    One of the officials was even in harms way getting between the players who are shoving each other.

    Enough is enough. These guys just don’t have the experience. There have been too many games with too many issues, and I’m not sure things are going to get better and not worse.

  49. Good timing for that.

    Breaking news….this Atlanta/Denver game is being so poorly officiated, I can barely watch it.

    Congrats Rog, you may capture the humbling title of the worst commish in sports history by year’s end.

  50. The Redskins Rams game was the worst officiating I’ve seen in pro sports. It was tough to tell which team got the worst of it. They just completely lost control of the game and Shanahan and Fisher almost had heart attacks yelling at them because they didn’t know the rules. Where did they find these replacements?!

  51. Why does Goodell insist on insulting the intelligence of football fans by making this statement? It would be much better for the league to either take command of the situation by getting a deal worked out with the real refs or just staying quiet. Making a public statement complimenting the performance of the replacement refs is essentially telling fans that they don’t think we’re very smart.

  52. Sorry, they just all together in a row… suck. They don’t know the rules of the game they officiate, therefore, they cannot perform the job. Pretty simple. No confusion, no debate. Don’t protect “THE SHIELD” and the integrity of the game and you’ll get a lot more dirty play… that’s what you need, Roger!!! Don’t concede, just have somebody else negotiate and be a figure head in this one because you’re losin’!!!!

  53. Wondering of those in the front office are being drug tested. If you think your fans are accepting this crap, then you’re definitely on something. Thanks Roger.

  54. This statement is insulting to the fans….you know, the customers. Who’s the idiot who wrote, then approved, this type of condescending communication?

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