Despite debacle, NFL remains dug in


The good news in the wake of last night’s very bad news at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game is that the NFL and the locked-out officials spent a fourth straight day negotiating on Tuesday.

The bad news in the wake of last night’s very bad news at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game is that the NFL doesn’t seem to recognize that it has gambled with the use of replacement officials — and it has lost.

Per multiple reports (including one from Peter King of and one from Nancy Gay of, the NFL has opted to stand firm on certain key issues.

First, the NFL wants a bench of replacements (they’ll need a better word than that) to serve as in-season understudies for officials who aren’t performing at an acceptable level.  King reports that the NFL won’t guarantee that the officials will work at least 15 games.

Second, the pension issue continues to prevent an agreement.  The league wants to change from a defined-benefit pension plan to a defined-contribution system.  The difference, per King, is roughly $3.3 million per year.  The officials don’t believe they should have to tighten belts at a time when the NFL continues to grow fat.

Third, the amount of the raise for the officials remains in dispute.  The officials want an eight-percent bump.  The NFL has offered an increase of 2.5 percent.  Again, the discrepancy comes from the fact that the officials believe that, as the league’s pie grows, their slice of it grows commensurately.

The NFL remains stubborn, oblivious (at least externally) to the fact that the performance of the replacement officials underscores the value of the regular officials, who operate far more efficiently and reliably in the crucible of 60,000 fans and foul-mouthed coaches and big, strong, fast players and millions of eyeballs.  The performance of the replacements demonstrates the value of the regulars, and yet the league refuses to relent.

As King explains it, the league wants to “wrest back control of the officials’ performance week to week in an NFL season.”  But the ritual of collective bargaining requires a party that wants something to give something.  It seems like the NFL wants plenty, and that the NFL likewise isn’t willing to bend.

Sure, a raise has been offered.  Why shouldn’t it be?  Everybody connected to the NFL is making more and more money.  The officials should get more and more, too, especially if the NFL wants to emerge from the talks with new powers.

When it comes to the power the NFL has amassed over player discipline, the league is quick to point out that the NFLPA has sacrificed those rights through collective bargaining.  Regardless of whether it makes sense for the league to have a bench of officials, the NFL has in past negotiations allowed the current system to emerge.  To change it, the NFL must make real concessions.

But the NFL doesn’t want to make real concessions.  The NFL never wants to make real concessions.  That’s fine, but the NFL can’t then pretend that everything is fine.

As King writes, “Ihe NFL is willing to look at the dispute as something like a game of chess vs. a game of checkers.  The league believes that the short-term pain of a football nation up in arms will be worth it two to four years down the road if they can improve the overall quality of officiating by adding what would be a taxi squad of three additional crews.”

Or the NFL can acquire that right by paying for it.  Instead, the NFL is willing to alienate fans, anger players, and tarnish “the shield” in order to get its way, hoping that half of the locked-out officials plus one eventually will vote to take the deal.

The NFL is taking us all for granted.  In the end, there’s a good chance the NFL is guessing right.  But that doesn’t make it right.

108 responses to “Despite debacle, NFL remains dug in

  1. .
    Jerry Markbreit was an NFL official for 33 years, the referee in eight conference championships and four Super Bowls.

    He never saw anything close to what he witnessed Monday night.

    Markbreit was at home outside of Chicago, watching Green Bay play at Seattle, and — like millions of other viewers — he was stunned by the officiating calls that were made, the ones that weren’t made, and the Seahawks’ game-winning Hail Mary that wasn’t a catch but an interception.

    Photos: Was it a touchdown or an interception?

    “I don’t like to see injustice at all,” Markbreit said by phone Tuesday morning. “And I think that injustice has been served on our officials. But this is injustice against a team that deserved to win this game, and it’s terrible. It makes you feel bad. It puts a stain on officiating everywhere.

    “The officials that work all the other sports look at this thing and say, ‘My gosh! How could the NFL put these inexperienced guys, to represent the officiating world, on the biggest stage they have? Shame on them.’”

    Markbreit, 77, who retired as a game official in 1999, has spent the past decade as an officiating trainer with the league. When the league locked out the officials in June, the trainers were told their services would not be needed either.

    Watching Monday’s game, Markbreit found it especially galling that, when the two officials in the end zone had opposite calls, one calling a touchback or time out and the other a touchdown, the referee didn’t step in get both zebras on the same page.

    “This is a routine play from our guys,” he said. “It’s a wonderful play, and it’s a great play to officiate, and it’s a great play to get correct.

    “The head referee should come down. Anytime you have a play where you have two decisions — one yes, one no — the referee comes down, ‘What’s going on guys?’ that’s negotiation. That’s what a referee does. He doesn’t just call fouls, he negotiates the game.”

  2. As a fan I was begining to see the players side…that is until comments by Green Bay players to begin taking a knee.. All this crap from players saying they do it all for fans during the lock out…yea right. They have, the you know what, to talk of greed of NFL what about about these sorry SOB’s. Professionals spelled, ME, ME, ME and more ME.

  3. I can’t wait until someone chooses to ignore the mountains of overwhelming evidence to the contrary and comment that this is all the fault of greedy unions that are ruining America.

  4. The one powerhouse in the standoff is the fans. The NFL knows that the fans don’t have the cojones to actually stand up to the shenanigans. If fans, those that purchase tickets, purchase, the NFL ticket, and merchandise stopped, they might listen. No, they would listen. But we as fans don’t and they know that. Basically, shut the hell up and if you don’t like it, make a stand!

  5. There is being stubborn and there is being stupid. I love football, but I also dislike stupidity. The NFL is being stupid. Act like a man. Admit you’re wrong, fix it, learn from it and move on. Period. Don’t be a little b!$#%

  6. Half of the sportwriters and Vegas had the Packers winning the Superbowl this year. Regardless of how the refs called the last play, that’s not what all this furor is really about. It’s about the Packers looking like crap and that they are now 1-2. The writers feel like dumbasses and people are losing money on bets. That’s what this is really about. If this same call happens to the Browns against Oakland no one gives a crap. Hardly anyone gave a crap when the 6-10 Lions got hosed on a Calvin Johnson game winning TD pass 2 years ago. Cry me a river.

  7. Comeon fans…let’s organize. No more purchases of NFL merchandise and boycotting of all NFL sponsors until this gets resolved. I would start a petition and send it to all the owners and the NFL but I don’t know how. I am electronically challenged but an avid fan and love the game that is being destroyed.

  8. Hey Packers! Welcome to RaiderWorld, where we have been getting screwed for 40 years. The old referees assured us we would lead the league in penalties. Frankly, I love the new referees and never want to see those past ref clowns ever come back. Hell, they couldn’t even get a coin flip correct.

  9. I feel SO bad for the replacements. Not to defend them, they’ve mostly been garbage. But I’m sure they’ve done better than I could have…

    Still though I find fault with the regular refs over the league though I’m upset with everyone at this point. These debacles should be an indication of WHY we need a bench of backup refs.

    These refs aren’t coal miners, the League isn’t paying them in company money or forcing them to work 80 hours a week for $3 an hour picking fruit.

    They’re paid more than I make in a year part-time while also working as Doctors and Lawyers.

    The regular refs are greedy bastards, but the league is approaching this so horribly wrong. Instead of saying “EVERYTHING IS OK WITH THE REPLACEMENTS” and burying their heads in the sand, they should be focusing the discussion on why the ref union is refusing to do their part-time job.

    Goodell is a disrespectful, disreputable little tyrant, though, there’s no defending him.

    This whole situation is just disgusting. I’d rather have watched a season with scab players than scab refs, at least we’d get to highlight a couple of surprise superstars who wouldn’t have got a chance otherwise.

  10. The fans need to call for an “impeachment” of Roger the Dodger via Facebook or some other social media and let the thing go viral. Time for the FANS to make themselves heard to both the NFL and (maybe more importantly) the TV SPONSORS.

  11. “The NFL is taking us all for granted.”

    Well said and good for them because as far as I am concerned, I won’t be watching come Thursday, Sunday and Monday.

    As far as the negotiation details are concerned, if the NFL and the owners want week-to-week evaluation to serve as the condition of which officials work, then they have to pay for that.

    If that isn’t “right to work” conditions for a laborized union then I don’t know what is.

  12. Isn’t this like any labor dispute. Just insert to job description. Teachers, Firefighters, Referees. You know what is a dynamic that I think is lost on everyone is in what business do the employees get a percentage of the profits? Everyone ask yourself this question. Does your job include you sharing a fix % of your companies profit? I mean really share, not a bonus, so if Dupont profits go up your salary goes up.

  13. This comes as no surprise.

    Remember the numbers… 1, 1, 30, and 0

    1 teams is happy
    1 team is angry
    30 teams more or less don’t care
    0 dollars of NFL revenue has been lost.

    Until those numbers change (especially the last one) nothing will change.

    Now.. Thursday night.. if this happens again (especially if the Cowboys loose)… the fertilizer will impact the ventilator. Because Jerrah will have been impacted.

  14. So, let me get this straight, the union wants jobs and pay raises and yet refuses to be held accountable for doing a bad job and possibly losing their jobs?

    And, isn’t the whole ‘bring the real refs back’ argument about getting qualified people to ref the games? If that’s so, doesn’t that make the refs union hypocritical by refusing to let the NFL hold them accountable so that we can all have qualified people to ref the games?

    What am I missing here? It seems like the players, the fans, and the real refs want to make sure the refs do a good job so the game doesn’t lose it’s integrity. But it also seems like that’s what the NFL wants the union to concede in negotiations.

  15. The NFL belongs to the owners, not the players, sportswriters or the fans. For good or bad, the owners can do whatever they wish with the game. We can pay for tickets or watch the commercials in exchange for viewing the games.

    The outrage and victimhood espoused by the Packers just brings more attention and revenue to the league. It also makes for a good story in the media. If the fans were so repulsed by the referee crisis, they should just not purchase tickets or watch the NFL on TV. That’s even less likely to happen than the players giving up huge chunks of dinero striking in response to the plight of the NFLRA. I doubt Lambeau or any other stadium will be empty for next weeks’ games.

    Enjoy the rage Packers fans. Every team has lost games due to poor officiating.

  16. Who cares? We’ll keep watching. In fact, there will come a point (soon) when we’ll watch more football BECAUSE of the train wreck that is the officiating.

    But in the end, it doesn’t matter. We’ll keep watching. We’re stupid like that.

  17. If the NFL is to successfully lay siege to the NFLRA in an attempt to break their will to fight, then it is imperative that the booth review get it right and act as a fail-safe in the critical instant replay process. Otherwise, the league risks another blatantly unjust end result, as was the case in the Packers-Seahawks matchup. The league already has one black eye. It can’t afford another.

  18. I support the owners stance on keeping the refs locked out until they agree on having alternate crews, and full time refs. Last season the refs were terrible, without more training, and without alternate refs to replace under performing refs it’ll only get worse. I’d rather suffer this year, if it means full time refs and alternate crews.

  19. All the players gotta do is strike until the refs are back in the fold. It would make for a quick end to the problem. They can say, “What’s next? Is our safety gonna be threatened to the degree that someone is seriously injured?” To prevent that, they strike.

  20. Why is it the NFL that is dug in and not the Refs?

    If they want an 8% raise they have to give something up…I haven’t seen any articles about what they are willing to give up.

    As a fan I want the NFL to have the ability to replace incompetent refs. That is something they should dig in on.

    As for the call last night…I’m not a Packers or hawks fan but though I lean toward it being an interception I see how it could go either way. The regular refs make similarly bad calls ALL THE TIME.

  21. The referees won’t even include a commitment to work 15 games a season (excluding injury) and don’t want additional crews that can step in if necessary. These guys are all working other jobs and living the life as a NFL referee. Their company loves them, their co-workers are getting free tickets….it’s great! Why would they want to give anything back? I think the NFL has been dealing with the good ol boy network for a long time and has finally decided that’s it’s over. In the long run I have a feeling we’ll get a lot better product.

  22. The more I think about, the more I am starting to believe that the real refs own more than 50% of the blame. Besides the ridiculous demands, they have been ROOTING for a game like this to happen so they could strengthen their position.

    What are the real refs opposed to? Let’s take a look:

    1) Going from pensions to 401k’s for a part timer? ridiculous

    2) Having three back up crews to replace injured or under-performing refs? ridiculous (this in fact strengthens the game people!)

    3) The raises that are currently being offered, and higher than the current inflation rate, is NOT enough. ridiculous

    And you all blame Goodell, who doesn’t even make the final decisions on this negotiation. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

  23. Goodell is an easy target, but everyone needs to remember, he works for the owners. He enforces their will. If the owners called him and said, “hey Rodg, get ‘er done,” then life would be normal again and we would be back to ripping the all of a sudden brilliant real officials.

    Goodell makes a ton of money to be the owner’s bitch and that’s just part of the job. He no more has the power to end this madness than he did to overturn that play last night that Helen Keller would have gotten right.

    Who in their right mind thinks Goodell wants this crap happening on his watch?

  24. simple solution. NFL give in on all financial requests. nfl stand tight on all full-time/accountability requests. once the accountability is in place it will be impossible to take away. you can always squeeze for money next negotiation. if this lockout ends without full-time refs I will be absolutely pissed as a fan because then the nfl will have wasted four weeks of football on these hard working yet completely incompetent stand ins.

  25. The fans at M&T Bank Stadium had it right on Sunday Night: voice in load unison the barnyard epithet that so succinctly describes this whole pathetic fiasco. An appropriate next step would be for fans at each of the NFL stadiums to follow suit this week, preferably as the “referee” rotates his arm to signal the end of every T.V. timeout, so that the legal eagles working at CBS, FOX, and NBC will then be forced explain to the FCC why it is that there is NOTHING their network can do but broadcast such profanity. Only by, thus, jeopardizing the value of the NFL’s television “product” can we, as the fans who ACTUALLY pay for PSLs and the NFL Sunday Ticket, puncture the smug hubris being demonstrated by the League.

  26. Half of the sportwriters and Vegas had the Packers winning the Superbowl this year. Regardless of how the refs called the last play, that’s not what all this furor is really about. It’s about the Packers looking like crap and that they are now 1-2.


    Yeah that’s it, even with plenty of non-sports media outlets running stories about the NFL’s corrupted product front page……….it’s all because everyone’s just mad the Packers lost. Some of you people are just hilarious.

  27. numberoneinthehoodg says:
    Sep 25, 2012 9:51 PM
    The one powerhouse in the standoff is the fans. The NFL knows that the fans don’t have the cojones to actually stand up to the shenanigans. If fans, those that purchase tickets, purchase, the NFL ticket, and merchandise stopped, they might listen. No, they would listen. But we as fans don’t and they know that. Basically, shut the hell up and if you don’t like it, make a stand!

    Problem is the fans would need to wait out this season AND next! They’ve already bought the tickets! I doubt anyone will wait that long, besides this has almost made the game more entertaining, for now anyways

  28. You guys are crazy. NFL owners are making more and more money every year. We are talking about a few million. A drop in the bucket. If each team contributed 100K, the pension issue would be solved. I can’t believe how brainwashed some of you people are. The 400 richest Americans saw their wealth grow 13% last year. What about the rest of us? These are not the values that this country was founded on.

    Are people really attacking teachers, firefighters and police for being greedy? Get a grip on reality and grow up.

  29. I sympathize with some of the economic positions taken by the refs.

    But this refusal to allow ready substitutes for poor performers rings awfully hollow in all the uproar over the need to get incompetent replacement refs out of here and the professions of need to restire integrity. Union is no less hypocritical than owners in this respect.

  30. I have the packers defense, russell wilson, and golden tate all on my fantasy team. on the final play of the game i scored 6 for the int, 6 for the touchdown for tate, then the points for wilson cancelled eachother because he threw an int and a td, andi didnt get his passing yards on the last play cuz of the pass interference.

  31. If this was any other product or service, you would be demanding a refund or ripping the manager a new one. Don’t put one more dollar in these greedy bastards’ pockets – skip the game, cancel the jersey and NFLTicket. Hitting them in the pocketbook is the only way to send a message. Follow the games online instead if you must, it’ll save you the pain of watching.

  32. I’ve been watching the NFL for fifty years. Make NO mistake about it. It is DEAD. The fans could stop this but they won’t. Me? I’m done. I’ve been done two weekends now. I watched the “highlights” of this game and this is the final nail in the coffin.

    Goodbye NFL I’ll remember the good times. End the League now for all I care.

  33. I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how many people get what this is all about. The coverage on the networks dont reflect the thought expressed above. Yes it is not Goodells fault. And this is not a short term issue. Worst case scenario is the league caves, gives in to the union and changes to improve the qaulity of refs are lost for ages. Best scenario, Refs come to leagues desires and we get the better refs with better work rules. Other scenario, we ride this out for a year, a new staff of refs is hired, 99% of these replacement guys are not part of the 2013 version and we move forward.

    And really, does anyone think the NFL was not prepared for this storm?

  34. Nobody expected this? It’s time all of these clowns got a reality slap by the people who matter, the fans. We pay the salaries of players, refs, and owners. When we decide to shut the frickin TV off, skip the trip to the stadium, and stop buying gear, it will sink in. I swear for some people it’s like watching a bad soap opera. This is almost turning into wrestling with the drama that’s been created. Where the hell has football gone? This has gone way beyond anything even remotely resembling a professional sport. It’s like Backyard wrestling meets the NBA. I’ll watch it when they figure this mess out again.

  35. !20K now raised to !65k raisde to 189K raise in a few years….At these salaries, the NFL sure is mistreating these refs. And that is a SECOND INCOME!! Should be set for life unless they are as stupid as some of these players that pzzz away millions and then are broke when they retire, Who is really the greedy products of unwed parents?

  36. Why can’t the fans see that they are being duped by players and the media. Absolute sheep. It’s not Goodell. It’s the owners vs the refs, and the real refs need blame too. Their demands are ridiculous for part timers. The argument that the league is doing so well, so the refs deserve their “share” is horse manure. What company works like that for line level employees that do actually have a hand in how much money the league makes. Oh wait, was that Hochuli we saw last year at the bargaining table during the player lockout? Not!

  37. Design robots to ref the games. You don’t have to pay them, they won’t be coerced into a call by players, coaches or the crowd, and when they eventually revolt they can be stopped with a yellow flag and a 15 yard unsportsman like conduct penalty.

  38. One thing the NFL and the general public is missing is the regular NFL referees are not under huge financial pressure to cave to the NFL (unlike the players, who spend badly and support families and posses). Nearly all the refs are successful lawyers, business people, doctors, etc. They simply are not sweating being locked out. Mike Carey, for example, is an inventor of a bunch of snowboard related patents and owns a snowboarding company. He makes more money than many players.

    The NFL underestimated the referees ability to say “so what” when it comes to the lockout. They’ll wait the entire season, and even the playoffs, to get a deal. They are quite sophisticated, and things will really get ugly if the playoffs, and God forbid, the Super Bowl, is ref’d by high school and lingerie league officials.

  39. jimd571 says:

    “These are not the values that this country was founded on”

    WRONG. These are EXACTLY the values that this country was founded upon.

    You say that the 400 richest Americans saw their wealth grow 13% last year. What, exactly, is wrong with that?

    This whole ‘Someone else has lots of money so they should give it to ME’ mentality is what’s ruining America.

    Interestingly, it’s never the people who say ‘Give me more stuff’ that are considered greedy, only the ones that don’t want to give you more stuff.

    You’re plan is called socialism, and it’s failed every time it’s been tried, and it’s failing now.

    And, oh by the way, YES, teachers, firefighters, and police ARE greedy. Just like the rest of us – ESPECIALLY those who want more without accountability, you know, like teachers and refs.

  40. So these part-time employees want full-time pay and benefits? And because the league is flush with cash now they want guaranteed payments in perpetuity? Isn’t that what all those bankrupt California cities did? Can’t blame the owners for not going down that path.

  41. There used to a time when companies [NFL] took pride in what they could do for their employees [refs]….how many of you out there wouldn’t want a raise if your company had record profits or a pension instead of a 401 [K]? It is also my understanding that the officials face harsh grading.

  42. And to follow-up on my point about the refs have zero financial pressure to cave. Some of the ref’s daytime job:

    1) Cary – Owns a snowboarding accessory company.

    2) Hochioli – A name partner at a successful law firm in Arizona.

    3) Walt Coleman: Part of the Coleman Dairy family business (i.e., loaded family) and sits on many boards.

    4) Ron Winter: Former college professor and retired.

    5) Clete Blakeman – name partner at Nebraska law firm

    6) Greg Meyer – Banker

    7) Bill Leavy – retired police officer and fireman (27 years)

    These guys aren’t depending on the NFL for a paycheck…

  43. Anti-union talk or not, the league is its own worse enemy in this lock out. So funny how this website runs to the defense of billionaire’s whenever there is a labor dispute.

    I miss the game I use to watch and love. The crap I am watching now is like russian roulette. Each play you are just waiting for a ref to make a bogus call that will hurt your team. I am going out and play some golf this Sunday vs watching this madness. Maybe I won’t change anything with the NFL, but I will certainly have more sanity reading about the madness later versus witnessing the idiocy of the whole thing.

  44. It seems to me that the referees bargaining position is based of a view that they are involved in (or should be involved in) some sort of profit sharing agreement. That position is a bit ludicrous. It makes a lot of sense for players pay to be negotiated in that way. They are not merely employees. The players and the owners grow the game, as such they are entitled for some sort of sharing agreement to the revenue the NFL generates. The officials do no such thing. In fact, the reason these replacement referees are so poor is that officials union restricts access to the labor market. There are no NFL quality replacement referees because only union member referees have access to the NFL job market. Additionally, many of the other demands are for benefits that NO other workers receive. Defined benefit plans? The only place you see that is with public sector employment (and in that case it’s because municipalities don’t have to fund the plan and when they are in the face of bankruptcy can pass laws changing the benefits).

    Much like everyone, I appreciate that iit’s annoying watching penalty filled games with blown calls and absolutely no flow. But, the fact remains that the officials union is making demands that no reasonable business person would accept. Statements like, “the NFL makes tons of money, just pay them” are meaningless. The 32 franchises are businesses (31, I guess, although the money GB makes is going somewhere and it’s not to their “shareholders”). Even from a non-monetary standpoint, the resistance to any sort of quality control and accountability will lead to less than optimal officiating, unless you’re willing to rely on the benevolence of the current locked out officials (I wouldn’t).

    Now, not caring in light of all these facts is perfectly acceptable. But to place the entire blame on the NFL is unfair.

  45. F!!K the nfl. I’m not watching another replacement ref game.

    After watching Jets/Dolphins be as unbearably slow as a baseball game, half the Raiders/Steelers the same way and an awfully called SNF game I was pretty sure I was through. After watching the Packers get debacled in Seattle, I’m OOOOOOUUUUUTTTTT!!!!

  46. I think the NFL should concede on the raise and give the refs the 8%. This is an easy concession for the NFL to make and it would give the negotiations some momentum. Increased compensation would also help to attract more competent officials which would increase the quality of the game.

    The refs should concede on the bench of backup refs. The refs cannot claim they care about the integrity of the game if they are unwilling to be held responsible for their own poor performance.

    The pension plan should be shifted to a defined contribution plan but the NFL should increase their contribution. Defined benefit plans are fiscally irresponsible because they stick the NFL with all of the risk. Changing to a defined contribution plan makes the refs share the risk with the NFL. Increasing the contribution of the NFL would make the refs more willing to compromise on the issue of a defined benefit plan and it could result in a better retirement for the refs if their pensions do well.

    This plan would be true to the spirit of compromise because each side gets some thing they want. each point of the plan would also result in better officiating.

  47. Official accountability (and a bench) sounds good in theory. But if we’ve learned anything these last few weeks, it’s that the whims of Goodell and the NFL should not be trusted to determine which officiating crews have “performed poorly” and thus deserved to be benched. There is no reason, at this point in time, to assume that ANY official, no matter what his facebook page might say, has less integrity than Roger Goodell.

  48. My curiosity makes me wonder, if Jerry Jones and the Cowboys were on the wrong end of game like yesterday.

    You know the the commish, would have heard about it.

    Has Roger even shown his face since then?

  49. Can’t make this stuff up: Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach tweeted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office phone number today, after the replacement officials appeared to mishandle the game’s final play. According to Wikipedia, Erpenbach, a Democrat, authored Wisconsin’s No Call List legislation in 2001. Figures….

  50. Estimates of $250 million won/lost on one play? Documented sloppy background checks of replacement refs? We should not be surprised by a major NFL point-shaving scandal in the very near future.

  51. If the story of the replacements wasn’t beat into us by announcers and websites…none of this would be much different than the norm.

    If the players/coaches just stopped all their whining and pandering…the players are the ones not “respecting the game.”

    Every week games are altered by officials, always have…always will.

    I pray the union officials will be watched as just as closely when/if they do return. ‘Cause they suck too.

    The “Lockout” isn’t about money/salary…it’s about Pension, Fulltime/part time and accountability.

    The refs need to be full-time…they need to replaceable/fireable/demotable at anytime…

    The blame for this “debacle” is the media…the players/coaches and the NFLRA. Their behavior has been unacceptable.

    The NFL is attempting to make sure that the best possible officials will be officiating NFL games…Now and forever…and they know a large percentage of the “regular” guys do not qualify.

    The NFL has the right-of-it in this matter…it’s the public campaign against them that’s screwing everything up.

  52. At least when Reagan replaced the air traffic controllers he did it with capable replacements and there were no mid-air collisions or loss of life.
    But this replacement job by the League with a bunch of almost high school level refs is a travesty.
    By gosh, football games are being won/lost as a result.
    The NFL will wake up when TV/Internet views and thus the money start dropping and no sooner.
    I’m sure some of the highrollers in Vegas et al have let their opinions be heard by now.

  53. Absolutely ridiculous! $3.3 million is peanuts compared to multi billions the NFL brings in every year. Get a deal done so you don’t continue to negatively impact the game.

  54. People forget that the refs are being LOCKED OUT, because the NFL wants to get rid of the pension. The refs are not asking for “more” with respect to the pension. They just want what they were already getting, and it is kinda hard to take that the NFL wants to take away a benefit when the NFL is enjoying record profits (and about half the teams offer pension to their employees).

    Also, the refs did offer to keep the pension for current refs, and future refs would have to accepts a 401(k). Thus in about 10 years, nearly everyone would be on the 401(k). That is a compromise. But the NFL didn’t accept (being pig headed as usual).

  55. There are 2 ways to get the NFLs attention on this.
    1.Don’t watch the prime time games (unless they’re in the markets of the teams playing) the NFL (owners) thrive on the ratings. If we aren’t watching ratings are down, ratings are down networks get pissed because it affects their income.
    2.At the game everyone stands up and turns their backs on the refs intros. and the 1st play of the game.
    If the fans don’t get involved in this, this travesty will continue.

  56. While Goodell and the NFL should certainly take some of the blame for this mess, I feel like many people are forgetting to hold the locked-out referees accountable as well. If money was the sole issue, this situation likely gets resolved a long time ago. The major sticking point is that the refs don’t want their paychecks to be tied to the evaluations of their on-field performance.

  57. walker615 says: Sep 25, 2012 9:56 PM

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Florio might be pro-union…
    Your nuts! This is the first time he has sided with unions I have seen. When the players were locked out he constantly sided with the old wrinkle ball owners. He only sides with them now because NO ONE thought it could possibly get as bad as it did last night.

  58. The question of one of these guys being on the take is very very real. They have already released a couple of them for having to close of a connection with a particular team. There was the one who tried to encourage the Eagle player , I believe it was an Eagle, to do better because he was on his Fantasy Team. As we all know there is huge money to be made betting on the NFL. How much money were these guys making at there old jobs? The Pack was a 3 point favorite. They had that spread covered until the (non) TD. Millions of dollars changed had that would not have had the official who signaled INT got his way.Take a guy with say a wife and 3 kids. In today’s economy he struggling. So he’s trying to pick up a few bucks officiating some Division III football game. Next thing you know here comes an offer from the NFL. Some bookie or big time gambler makes him an offer. “Just make a call go my way if you get the chance”. There’s $50.000 in it for you if it pays off for me. What would you do?

  59. I love how this article never once mentions the inflexibility of the NFLRA. It’s sad IMO that the media is trying to portray this situation in a biased light instead of being an objective source of reporting.

    If the NFL benches the officials involved Monday night, and they should, then the make the right and just point that they have to have that ability going forward.

    Now, let’s review the inflexible demands of the NFLRA.

    1) They want a pension when the entire country has come to the realization that pension systems were in no small part a contributor to the collapse of the auto industry. They are bad business today and every company that has a lick of sense is getting out of them.
    2) They want a full and comprehensive benefits package, at no cost, for what amounts to a second job. The fact that it’s a second job implies that they most likely have a full benefits package from their other job. They are, in essence, double dipping.
    3) They want to be paid for the time they were locked out. NFL greed? How about NFLRA greed…
    4) They want to have guaranteed work.
    5) They don’t want to be subjected to reviews that could result in their removal. After everything that happened on Monday how can ANYONE actually think not making the officials accountable is a good thing?

    Good for the NFL for standing up for these things and not putting short term gain in front of long term objectives and growth. If the NFLRA would budge on the first and 4/5 point (and throw point 3 out based on pure stupid) I’d bet money the NFL would budge on the raises and the benefits. Even Peter King implied as much in one of his articles…

  60. So everyone is hating on the NFL for using officials that are doing a poor job, even though one of the biggest hurdles here is the fact that the NFL wants bench officials to replace the regular ones should they perform poorly? Am I understanding this right?

  61. We’ve listened for a week, deservedly so, how Steve Sabol enhanced the reputation of the league over his decades at NFL Films.

    We should now hear for the next week how the endlessly-greedy owners have undone his good work in the matter of three months.

  62. These billionaire owners fussing over what would be to them chump change. If I see an owner on the street Im gunna run up and kick him right in the nads. And punch Goodell in the face! Get this deal done already d-bags!

  63. easyeddie says: Sep 25, 2012 9:46 PM

    Unions will always fight to the end anything that would make them more accountable.
    In regards to the issue of unions in the NFL this and all similar comments are inaccurate. The NFL has an antitrust exemption from the federal government, because it is 32 separate business operating as a single entity, it’s a monopoly.

    If a janitor, baker, plumber, mechanic, or someone in pretty much any other industry in the United states wants to get a raise or improved benefits they have two courses of action available. They can attempt to reach an agreement with their employer and if that fails they are able to go to any one of the thousands of companies that require people with their specific skill set, and see what their true worth is on the open market.

    If you are an NFL official, you don’t have that same luxury. You can’t apply for a job at one of the 15 other professional football leagues in the country. That’s why there is a union. The NFL controls every job playing or officiating the game at the highest level in this country. And to assume that if there was no NFLRA or NFLPA the members of those unions would be fairly compensated, or that ticket prices would be significantly cheaper is laughable. Look at the way baseball players were treated at the turn of the century and prior to their union.

  64. Roger Goodell is a complete tool for the owners and watching him run around like he gives a crap about the shield,players and the league is a joke. These owners could give a crap about anyone of us idiot fans. I am a fool for caring like I have about the teams and players for the past 40 plus years. Who gives a crap about new stadiums, playoffs, and all the other BS that flows in the NFL veins. I’m a sad Panda who is now over the NFL because all those owners have shown their true colors. RIP NFL 9/23/12

  65. Doesn’t matter if it’s $13 an hour or $3.3 million a year, if you don’t think someone is worth the price you tell them to hit the bricks. There is NOTHING that says the refs just can’t take the offer on the table which works out to a six figure salary for working about 60-hours a YEAR (3 hours a day, once a week, 20 weeks a year). Not to mention the first class airplane tickets, pension, partial medical benefits *IF* their FULLTIME employer doesn’t already offer it. Screw the regular refs and screw their union. I’ve seen countless games they’ve screwed up and been told all my life, “the calls even out in the end.” Well apparently not if it’s not a union slob making the calls, if it’s a non-union guy then you’re a complete piece of trash — which is what I always called the normal guys. The replacements are just filling the shoes. I hate them both, but at least they can fire the guys that suck if they’re not unionized.

  66. If even half the fans from the 4 teams Goodell has most visibly screwed over – Packers, Saints, Cowboys and Redskins – were to say “enough” and boycott the NFL for one single weekend, there would be so much revenue lost the league and owners would have no choice but to take action.

  67. huskylawyer, you are exactly right. It’s utterly shocking that so many people here still don’t know the difference between a strike and a lockout. I guess it just feels better to these people to say the real refs are refusing to go to work because it makes them feel better about their jealousy of people that have exceptional skills and command a large salary.

    “But they work part time and they make more than me! They deserve nothing else!” Yeah? Maybe you should have developed a marketable skill then.

  68. To those loyal fans of football:
    There is only one way to resolve this issue with the replacement officials. The players arguing will do nothing. The coach’s words will fall on deaf ears. The owners will listen to nothing but the true will of the fans. So this is what we will give them.

    Around the league the fans must stand up and say they will not allow this disrespect of the game we love to continue. So we as true fans need to make this statement. It is easy to do.

    I ask you fans of the National Football League, to not go to your seats until after the kickoff. This is all I ask, I am not asking you to miss the game, I am asking you to go to the stadium, in mass. Go inside; enjoy everything there is to offer. But when the game starts do not be in your seats. The NFL cannot stand by while showing a stadium of empty seats.

    I know this simple act may also be too much for some fans to accept, for them I ask that when the kickoff takes place turn your back to it. You essentially miss nothing. It is more than likely going to be a touchback. The players, if they feel the same, can assure the fans it is going to be a touchback. There by showing their unity with us and each other.

    This is the only thing the NFL will understand. We do this for one reason, WE RESPECT THE SHIELD.

    A True Fan

  69. onebucplace says: Sep 26, 2012 1:03 AM

    Doesn’t matter if it’s $13 an hour or $3.3 million a year, if you don’t think someone is worth the price you tell them to hit the bricks. There is NOTHING that says the refs just can’t take the offer on the table which works out to a six figure salary for working about 60-hours a YEAR (3 hours a day, once a week, 20 weeks a year).

    You contention that refs work 60 hours a year is incorrect. If you did even the least bit of research you would see that during the season, it’s estimated, that a typical official will work 20-25 hours a week while a head official will work 30-35 hours. In addition they also have their own version of training camp that starts in May. Add it all up and you’ll see the job requires significantly more than 60 hours of work over 20 weeks.

  70. I think the NFLs problem here is they let the current situation go on too long. The regular refs have too much leverage. They don’t necessarily have to have this part time job, they are a key factor in the league running smoothly, and there are no good replacements available. The NFL is hoping to ride this one out to get to a better place where the refs are more more plentiful and expendable. It is a classic labor-management struggle. I have read the previous comments and do not see an analogy to GM or police/fire unions. In those cases the unions contributed to the failure of a business or city/state. In this case, as we can see from last night, the refs union has been contributing to the incredible success of the NFL. You could argue it is fair for them to be rewarded. But this is business, and what happens isn’t always what is fair, it is what you can negotiate. The NFL is willing to bet they can survive this crisis and be able to dictate terms to the refs in the future. It is not just about money, it is about controlling all parts of their business. For the refs, it is a part time job that most can probably live without, so there is no need to cave now, especially given the support they have from players, owners, and fans. These sides are pretty far apart sadly.

  71. “The NFL doesn’t seem to recognize that it has gambled with the use of replacement officials — and it has lost.”

    But the thing is has it lost? I mean really?

    We’re three weeks into the season and three games have been played by each team. The teams that have played best are the ones with the best record and the teams that have sucked are all 0-3 or 1-2. In fact, other than maybe this week’s Monday Night game, it’s likely that no game result has been affected by having replacement officials.

    In short, a product has been put on the field and it is football. Is it as good as NFL football has been in previous seasons? Well no, let’s not kid ourselves here. But I have sat there for six hours the last three Sundays and enjoyed watching it. Would I like it better if the NFL and old officials hammered out a deal? Sure. But will I keep watching the season, and enjoy it, all the way to the Superbowl if necessary? Absolutely.

    So really the NFL hasn’t lost at all. They have proved they can still put out a product, albeit a less perfect one, without *any* experienced officials whatsoever. If this goes on much longer it could be a disaster for the old officials. What if it starts to look like they could put on a whole season without them? If they could limp through to February they could then hire some genuinely good replacements from the college ranks.

    Permanent replacements.

  72. notoriousjebus says: Sep 26, 2012 12:44 AM

    In regards to the issue of unions in the NFL this and all similar comments are inaccurate. The NFL has an antitrust exemption from the federal government, because it is 32 separate business operating as a single entity, it’s a monopoly.
    Wrong, just because it’s the most successful league doesn’t mean it’s a monopoly.
    Players, coaches, refs, etc are free to go work for the CFL, Arena League, USFL, NCAA (for refs & coaches), a whole host of international leagues.
    Don’t be acting like they are the only football league out there. The refs are/were working for the top league in the world and as such were already compensated the best, they are free to go work for the X-League in Japan and try to make more money for their under useless “skills.”

    As far as this Packers game goes would people quit being such drama queens, you aren’t gonna quit watching the NFL, the League isn’t gonna back down over this and it’s not like the useless locked out refs were much better (if at all).
    Where was all this uproar in 1998 when the Seahawks got shafted on the Testaverde “touchdown” that cost Seattle a spot in the playoffs and meant Dennis Erickson lost his job?
    How about the Broncos game that was handed to the Chargers?
    How about 2006 when the Refs saved the Pats in a game against the Jags when they ruled that New England had a fumble recovery on an incomplete pass.

    Then we have the hat issue in Dallas, boo freakin hoo, it’s just a hat, it’s not like he had to run through an official like Joe Horn against the Panthers in 2001. Run over a hat or run through a full grown man, I wonder which is tougher, hmmm.

  73. The problem with this game is not the final play – there were plenty of “ghost” calls that benefited Green Bay that gave them yards they didn’t earn. It is easy to fall back to the last play of the game, but this play happened because Seattle had to overcome at least one bogus pass interference call that benefited Green Bay that it hadn’t earned. And there were other specious calls that gave them yards they didn’t earn.

    While I agree that was an interception, that point shouldn’t have even mattered because of the obvious pass interference call that was missed.

    But you can’t just whine about a call that went against your team when your team benefited several times when there was no basis for those calls!

  74. One thing to keep in mind – an NFL official in the booth approved the on-field call.

    Numerous screwups on “ghost calls” were made to benefit Green Bay.

    And in the 1970’s an NFL referee that is supposedly a legend, Jim Tunney, made a near similar call that was just incorrect.

    If you want perfection in the NFL, stop playing the games.

    If you want the games to resume, suck it up – this is what you get – and at least one “professional referee” that did games was making calls up – that even the announcers couldn’t find – and he is one of the BIG NAMES – and the problem was so profound that he didn’t do playoff games.

  75. As a fan I was begining to see the players side…that is until comments by Green Bay players to begin taking a knee.. All this crap from players saying they do it all for fans during the lock out…yea right. They have, the you know what, to talk of greed of NFL what about about these sorry SOB’s. Professionals spelled, ME, ME, ME and more ME.
    How would actions by the players to end the referee lockout be seen as greed by the PLAYERS? They stand to gain nothing monetarily by the referee contract. They want the quality of officiating restored to the way it was which would benefit everyone! Especially the fans!! You sound like a jealous liberal socialist who complains about the “1%” in this country just because they have been more successful in their careers than you.

  76. The NFL remains stubborn, oblivious (at least externally) to the fact that the performance of the replacement officials underscores the value of the regular officials, who operate far more efficiently and reliably in the crucible of 60,000 fans and foul-mouthed coaches and big, strong, fast players and millions of eyeballs. The performance of the replacements demonstrates the value of the regulars, and yet the league refuses to relent.


    Maybe the writer of this article remains oblivious to the fact the NFLRA used their influence (ie. positions of power with the NCAA) to lockout what would be the 2nd and 3rd string officials, forcing the the NFL to move further down the ranks for refs. This was calculated so that people like you would think the refs were indispensable when there are 100’s of refs with better qualifications who were prevented from applying. Maybe mention that once in awhile?

    The final play of the SEA/GB game was reviewed by NFL refs at the field WHO WEREN’T replacements and they found the replacement refs call correct. There was a missed PI call but show me a game last year that wasn’t?

    Leavy blows the superbowl, no punishment. Hochuli blows a regular season game, get’s promoted in the union. 100’s of calls missed, bad spots of balls, interpretations of the rules by the old officials last year and no outcry.

    This is all blown out of proportion. The media sensationalizes everything because it get’s them eyeballs. The players are never responsible for their own actions. Coaches see a chance to put the blame on someone other than themselves. Sanctimonious announcers who wouldn’t criticize an old official or Hall of Fame QB if he threw 3 ints in 1 QTR feel this is their one chance to act tough without repurcussions.

  77. I used to think Goodell was good for the league.

    I was WRONG!

    He is a puppet of the owners who p*sses on our heads and tells us it’s raining.

    He should have had a better contingency plan for the situation with the refs.

    He has little integrity and has lost all respect from me and most people around the country.

    The shield is, what Dick Goodell didn’t want it to be…


  78. If the palyers “union” had stuck by their brother ref’s “union” and refused to play while their brothers were locked out we would not even be having these discussions but we all know that is not what these or any entitled unions are all about.

  79. I have done what I can, and requested a refund on my Gamepass subscription. As a Canadian with no cable this is my only way to watch the NFL other than 1 game on Sundays. I am not going to simply whine about it online. Hopefully others have the resolve to join me.

  80. There are a couple of things that I think the refs should budge on, but pensions is actually the one I think they shouldn’t. We know – and by this I mean all of the social science that we have shows this – that 401(k) savings plans are bad and that they don’t work for people for a lot of different reasons. That business is switching to them en masse is not an excuse that somehow means that they’re good. Business also regularly lays people off – is that good? Well, I guess it is for owners, but it’s certainly not good for those involved on the other end of the deal. Which means that this is ultimately about whether the league wants to save a tiny bit of money in a way that will ultimately be *less* secure for their employees.

    It’s unfortunate that these billionaires who own the league give not two f****s about their employees. And it’s unfortunate that a thing that is so terrible for employees – the 401(k) – is becoming a standard that somehow justifies itself.

  81. The money that is made by the NFL is irrelevant. (Walmart makes billions also but the cashiers do not make good money even though nothing gets sold without them) Yes, the officials are important when it comes to managing the time of the games but the calls themselves have not been as bad as people have said. Depending on what you are looking for these officials seem to be deficient. How is it possible that half of fans say that the refs are not calling enough penalties and the other half says they call too many? It varies from fan to fan and the number of flags thrown are similar to the former refs. The number of mistakes is slightly more but each mistake is magnified because everybody is looking for a mistake. Complaining about judgment calls has been happening for years and the Seahawks “catch” is no different. Players are pushing the envelope and trying to get away with stuff and that is not the fault of the replacement officials. The safety concerns rest with the players as well. The officials are nervous and it shows. That can/will change through experience.

  82. But the NFL doesn’t want to make real concessions. The NFL never wants to make real concessions. That’s fine, but the NFL can’t then pretend that everything is fine.

    BTW: this is great. I really agree with this statement. I think they should make the refs full-time league employees, give them pensions and give ’em 6 figures. We want to have the best officiating in the world right? Well, if you want the best yacht in the world, you pay for it. If you want the best officiating in the world: you pay for it. Pretty simple.

  83. (Sigh)

    A lot of people here seem annoyed that the officials get so well-compensated to do what is essentially a second job for many of them. There’s a very simple reason why they get paid that money: because it’s there. The same goes with the players. That’s the way it has always been in professional sports. As more money came into the various leagues, the key personnel got a share of the pie. If you don’t like that they get six figure salaries for this work, then don’t watch the games. As has been demonstrated over the past few weeks, officiating NFL games is a demanding job, and requires a high level of skill. Because of that, they’re going to be well-compensated.

  84. everything has its arc. the nfl will too. eventually folks will see them for the lying liars they are.

    while they spout nonsense about player safety and impose astronomical fines on players for violating their standards of safe play (often made impossible by the speed, size and momentum of the players) they also continue to change the rules to make the old game of football appear like pinball by emphasizing the passing game as never before.

    players are now spaced widely around the field rather than in a general bunch as in the old days. so the contact that ensues is the result of bigger faster men running farther prior to bashing into each other. no wonder there are more concussions even as the equipment improves.

    and if anyone thinks roger goodell (only the front man for the owners) and his bosses care, they need look no further than this lockout.

    it is pretty apparent that when the swing of gambling money affected by the ridiculous play in seattle far surpasses the monetary differences in the negotiations, this is more about the nfl squashing the officials than a few million dollars. and yet they stand in front of you (or more frequently lately, issue a press release) to describe their devotion to improving player safety.

    personally, i hope the former players begin to win lawsuits against these jackholes.

  85. FinFan68 says: How is it possible that half of fans say that the refs are not calling enough penalties and the other half says they call too many? It varies from fan to fan and the number of flags thrown are similar to the former refs.

    simple answer slick: the real refs establish a standard of play much like an umpire establishes a strike zone. then the players know what to expect and what draws a foul. these guys don’t see everything, never establish a standard and enforce the rules in a ridiculously uneven manner.

    the pass interference play called on gb when rice was the only player making contact still counts as a penalty; it was just assessed to the wrong player.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!