NFL should make all officials available to the media after every game

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From time to time, players question the NFL’s policy that requires them to be available for media interrogation immediately after every game. If the players are required to answer face reporters in the aftermath of what has been, for at least some of them, disappointing performances, why shouldn’t the officials be required to do the same thing?

After last night’s blunders from a pair of officials on referee Gene Steratore’s crew, Steratore (and only Steratore) answered questions from one (and only one) designated reporter. Why shouldn’t all of the officials be faced with a swarm of media in their locker room, in the same way that players are?

At a time when the NFL seems to be interested in holding officials more accountable for their mistakes, wouldn’t removing an arbitrary shield from media scrutiny do that? If officials know that they’ll face pointed questions for their errors, maybe that extra incentive to not make mistakes will help minimize mistakes.

38 responses to “NFL should make all officials available to the media after every game

  1. “Why shouldn’t all of the officials be faced with a swarm of media in their locker room, in the same way that players are?”

    Simple. Supply and demand.

    Players make the league its money, and its the players that the fans (and therefore, the media) want access to. Nobody cares what the refs say 99% of the time…only after big blown calls. And even then, you know theyre not going to say anything except for “the league will handle it.”

  2. Mike, why do you start almost every post with a time entrance? “From time to time…” “Every once in a while…” How about some variety?

    Regarding the post, I just can’t ever see the NFL making all the refs available. It would be a disaster and in the end would make the situation worse if that were in fact possible. I’m surprised Steratore was made available.

  3. “Media interrogation” is the telling phrase here. It’s an extension of the idea that the media is an official arm of the NFL and should be allowed to stick its nose anywhere to unearth a kernel of corn to fashion into a story.

    If the media has the right to interrogate officials, then in the interest of checks and balances, the media should also be forced to submit to interrogation by some other official body on a weekly basis.

  4. Let’s start with Goodell

    He’s got some ‘splaining to do about white a few things from gambling to FrameGate and more

    This is the guy who boasted he’s always available to the media and yet he’s only brave enough to go before the Homer NY sports radio djs

  5. I don’t think that is a recipe for better calls, unless you believe these guys are blowing calls on purpose. Throwing them under direct media scrutiny might only pressure them into more mistakes, and expose them to potential influence by team-friendly media that wishes to badger officials about what they call and who they call it against.

  6. Why can’t they let us know what the PSI of the footballs were at halftime of last night’s game? They literally made a federal case of it and now don’t even seem to care about it. This league just doesn’t want anyone knowing how incompetent it really is, but we get to see for ourselves so much on Sundays and in many courtrooms.

  7. not sure that chucking the zebras into the piranha pool will aid the cause.

    Having Baghdad Bob Blandino stop blindly defending them week after week is a better solution.

  8. The referees are supposed to be anonymous…..like a part of the field. An interview with the press is Not going to improve their work. they dissect and break down their performance each week and are graded.

    The press fails to ask the important question: are the getting worse, staying the same, or improving each week. That wild take real effort to independently grade and answer. That would be a real service.

    instead the press wants to get the easy answer.

  9. “Why shouldn’t all of the officials be faced with a swarm of media in their locker room, in the same way that players are?”

    Because the officials are not employees.

    Besides, the NFLRA will just laugh at anyone who tries to push this idea.

  10. No they shouldn’t. Refs have a tough job and appear to me to try theoir best to get it right. If they screw up they are subject to demotion or termination. The media is so entitled. They answer to no one while believing everyone should answer to them.

  11. Gene, it would have been easier to just make the right call in the packers cowboys playoff game. After review. Twice.

  12. I was in a profession that early in my career that gave me the responsibility to judge the work of others. It is much easier to find errors in the work of someone who did every thing from scratch then to have done their job yourself. I learned quickly not to judge those that made errors too harshly. Personalities in the sports media need to learn that lesson as do the guys running for president. It is tedious listening to people that couldn’t do the job lecture the people actually working hard at doing the job.

  13. “On tonight’s episode of Hochuli’s Heroes, brought to you by Nike, Under Armor, and Chevrolet, Ed will talk about ‘forward motion’ while modeling the latest in sports-fashion attire.”

  14. Nfl officiating is terrible and at times appears to favor certain players and teams. Maybe if those same officials were subject to open scrutiny by the press, they do a better and perhaps more consistent job.

  15. “If the media has the right to interrogate officials, then in the interest of checks and balances, the media should also be forced to submit to interrogation by some other official body on a weekly basis.”

    Just about spit out the mouthful of food I was eating when I read this.

    You would like to have actual accountability on the part of the media ? I’ve never seen any job where someone could be so consistently wrong as the sports media and still keep said job, with the possible exception of “draft analyst”

    Would love to see it. Never gonna happen.

  16. In all the years I have been watching football this season, by far, is the worst I have ever seen the officiating. It’s horrible. If this keeps up then think every single call should be reviewable for those saying it’s a part of human error. ? Then what better way to is there to check Han error and correct it, the. Making all calls reviewable. Especially game changing calls that are not a me to be challenged. Or better yet, judgement calls.

    If they are all not made reviewable or able to be challenged it’s only going to get worse. It’s also human nature to know not one person can reverse your call so nothing is going to happen to me. Not one ref has been fired, not one ref has lost any money on some bad bad calls that have been made

    NFL is afraid to act because they fear the pain of new people on the field. Well, they will keep feeling the pain worse if change is not made I could go on and on. Everyone, players, NFL, coaches, media and fans can all plainly see the officials on the field this season do not belong there anymore.

  17. I’m guessing you sat around thinking, what’s the dumbest thing I could suggest.

    Congrats, you nailed it.

  18. I would love to have them questioned about how they allowed Teddy Bridgewater to get clocked in the face with no penalty called and then call a Viking lineman for a little push on Discount Double Check . The refs are most assuredly instructed to favor certain teams .

  19. How about just having the refs stats put on the screen during the broadcast.
    Ed Hoculi 56 Holding
    123 roughing the passer
    1 giving him the bizness
    Oh and naming the refs hometown would help.

  20. If the NFL would just admit they are total idiots, we might not hold them to such high standards.

    Face it, they are pompous fools of the highest order.

    It’s ok NFL. Lots of other dummies out there.

  21. The answer is not the media. Someone in another thread mentioned that full time officials would not really change the present situation. They supported by heir argument with the NBA and the MLB.

    I disagree with his argument simply on the basis that those two sports have so many more competitions in a week. With the NFL being only weekly and with it only being 26 weeks there is time during the season and definitely off season to train and address specific issues which manifest during a season.

    Former players who suffered injuries which ended their playing careers or non drafted college players whom are knowledgeable of the game and then could be further trained would bring a totally different mentality to the officiating profession.

  22. Tabloid stuff sells if you’re a non-football guy, but let’s not get too carried away here. We don’t need to feed the weak and helpless people that just want to sit there with a 12 pack on Sunday and rip away at those who are actually doing something. I would think that the highly successful folks that read PFT would agree with me on this one.

  23. What?? No, just… no.

    Referees are the NFL’s representative on the field of play. They are NOT subject to media scrutiny after a game.

    If that ever happens, in short order the rules and customs of the game become whatever the people watching it on TV want it to be.

  24. Why isn’t this a good idea? Well as much as I hate to defend the zebras, it’s because we are a civilized society that outgrew public shaming a long time ago. (Excepting of course those people that have no shame and don’t mind humiliating themselves on cable tv)

    While coaches and players certainly are asked about mistakes they make they aren’t hounded and scrutinized and ridiculed the way referees would be. This is simply media bloodlust.

  25. It’s a bad precedent to force the refs to meet the press.

    First, you will lose the refs you have.
    Second, you will have to pay refs MORE to get the refs to willingly face the media.
    Third, you open up EVERY single play to further scrutiny.

    It will create more chaos.

    Look whats happened with instant replay.
    It’s good to see an incorrect call overturned.
    But now, EVERY play is so scrutinized that I argue the NFL is not better for it.

    Are people more pleased with the game in today’s circus or back in the 1980’s when there were no reviews?

    As the chaos continues, Goodell sits in seclusion.

  26. Sure, let’s interrogate the officials right
    after a heated game, to get to the bottom
    of those controversial games.

    That has to be one of the dumbest ideas
    put forward in a long time. Those officials
    will need personal bodyguards to leave
    the stadium – shaking my head.

  27. They refs should never be placed in the media- they are meant to be NEUTRAL observers of the game.

    The following are some reasons that full time officials would work:

    1. Unlike other pro sport leagues, the NFL only plays once per week

    2. The league should hire former NFL who were injured or college athletes who didn’t get picked up so their familiarity with the game allows them to better understand as a “NEUTRAL” entity when an infraction would impact the outcome of the play and when to recognize but not enforce a non-impacting occurrence.

    3. During the season on off days they could conference with each other to discuss common concerns or possible issues which have occurred and as a group formulate a unified approach to address in the future similar concerns.

    4. Just as an athlete, watch film to better understand where they should be positioned and should be looking for during plays.

    5. During the off season refine all of the above.

  28. theheyseed says:
    Nov 24, 2015 9:42 PM

    How about just having the refs stats put on the screen during the broadcast.
    Ed Hoculi 56 Holding
    123 roughing the passer
    1 giving him the bizness
    Oh and naming the refs hometown would help.

    —————————————

    You mean like :
    Gene Steratore
    Born, raised and still lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh.

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