Referees Association complains about players complaining about refs

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NFL players often complain about NFL referees, and the NFL Referees’ Association is sick of it.

NFL Referees Association Executive Director Scott Green told USA Today he wants NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to work with him toward more respect between the two unions’ memberships. Green said he’s concerned about incidents in which players including Josh Norman, Jalen Ramsey and Travis Kelce had harsh things to say about officials.

“They got all fined, and yeah, that’s very concerning to us,” Green said. “That’s different than what we’ve seen in the past, and it’s definitely something that I want to talk to De Smith about with the players association: What is it we need to do about that? We appreciate that the league reprimands guys for doing that, but we also like it to be known that in those instances, all those calls were correct. That, to us, is equally as important, that the public knows that.”

Green said NFL referees are better than they get credit for.

“I’m not going to say we don’t miss calls. We obviously do,” Green said. “But players miss plays and coaches miss plays as well. When we’re in the high-90s [as a percentage of calls correct], we’re doing pretty good for basically getting that one look when we make the call and then obviously there’s replay to help. To say that officiating is getting worse is just not correct.”

But whether Green likes it or not, plenty of players just don’t think the officials are good enough. The complaints are unlikely to stop unless the officiating improves.

74 responses to “Referees Association complains about players complaining about refs

  1. I don’t care if you have 99% of good calls if that 1% happens in the last 2 minutes like in the Seattle vs Atlanta game with Julio and Sherman it ruins everything. I’m not saying 1 play determines the game but you can’t tell me a no call on a 40 yard PI doesn’t change the outcome. I would prefer refs stay as they are and when they throw a flag it is confirmed by refs elsewhere and when a flag is missed a coach can challenge it. Sooner or later your going to have a missed PI in the Super Bowl and it’s going to be all that’s talked about for months instead of he game itself.

  2. I actually agree, although replay is supposed to help the refs when they miss calls, and the league continues to restrict reviewable plays to protect the refs.

    The difference: When a player or coach misses on a play, his team suffers. When a ref misses on a play the other team benefits. While this may sound like the same thing, there is a distinction, since the refs are supposed to favor, intentionally or unintentionally, neither side.

  3. donbat67 says:
    Jan 31, 2017 8:05 PM
    They are complaining about the complaining ?


    Seems like it, but I want to complain about the complaining about the complaining. Anyone got a complaint with that?

  4. I think we are underestimating how difficult it is to referee in the NFL. Those guys move so damn fast. We saw how awful the replacements were to the actual refs

  5. patsxsaintsfan says:
    Jan 31, 2017 8:03 PM
    I don’t care if you have 99% of good calls if that 1% happens in the last 2 minutes like in the Seattle vs Atlanta game with Julio and Sherman it ruins everything. I’m not saying 1 play determines the game but you can’t tell me a no call on a 40 yard PI doesn’t change the outcome. I would prefer refs stay as they are and when they throw a flag it is confirmed by refs elsewhere and when a flag is missed a coach can challenge it. Sooner or later your going to have a missed PI in the Super Bowl and it’s going to be all that’s talked about for months instead of he game itself.


    Didnt Atlanta crush Seattle though?

  6. So these snowflake refs have the gall to complain about anyone complaining how incompetent they have become? Cry me a river. You should all feel lucky that you hold onto your part-time 6-figure jobs with zero repercussions as you do a crappy job week in and week out. The only thing that even remotely compares is government work. Those of us with “real” jobs in the private sector would never get away with such incompetence and keep our jobs. Shut it, stupid zebras, nobody wants to hear your complaints.

  7. fire all refs and hire younger, better and more
    accountable refs who are consistent and cannot be paid off
    or threatened by goodell.

    the fact these dopes get six
    figures to make a mockery of the rules and not
    even know the rules, is an outright disgrace.

  8. the players arent the only ones complaining. the people who pay money to see the players play are complaining too.

  9. I have nothing against officials; they don’t blow calls intentionally…but they’re only human and mistakes do happen.

    My problem is with the NFL brass sticking their heads in the sand and making excuses instead of finding ways to minimize the impact of those errors and improve the overall quality of officiating.

  10. edelmanfanclub says:
    Jan 31, 2017 8:10 PM

    I think we are underestimating how difficult it is to referee in the NFL. Those guys move so damn fast. We saw how awful the replacements were to the actual refs

    We all know how difficult it is. Too bad the league doesn’t, and utilize the tools available that could help the refs out.

    Oh well, integrity.

  11. I agree with them. The complaining is approaching NBA level and we know what happens then. The league drops down and out to unimportant. Time to bang em for unsportsmanlike more often.

  12. Today’s dvrs and HD video that can be frozen in 1/30th of a second frames makes it very difficult on the refs.

    Even the calls they get right can possibly be challenged as “bad calls” if only a single of those 1/30th of second frames shows something a fan doesn’t like.

    Then you get the ones that are clearly wrong and they blew badly and there’s no way the league can hide it. They very often give lip service with extremely poor justifications as to why the truly bad calls were “correct”, but they can’t hide the fact that they weren’t.

    Add in social media to fan the flames and there’s a raging bonfire half the time. The ref’s association is probably right that they do a better job than most people think, but they also have too many games they do a lousy job in. A really lousy job.

    Plus no consistency so what one ref calls PI another seems to turn a blind eye too. Too much subjectivity not enough training to keep consistency between refs.

    They better get used to constant bitter criticism in large doses unless they do better than they have been.

  13. I can solve the problem. Take out 25 of the 30 camera angles. Don’t see it. Can’t bitch. Less replay is the option not more

  14. For the love of football, will fans stop saying there should have been a 40 yard PI called on Jones Sherman play. There were 2 penalties on Falcons not called and 1 on Seahawks. All call or no call. Best case scenario for Falconies was a do over. Shut up with it already.

  15. I for one am tired of every receiver and QB wanting a flag on every pass and also tired of DBs holding or grabbing a jersey on every play. Maybe some rules should be changed

  16. Why don’t they clean up their own mess. Forget about the “outside noise” because most of us love to complain.
    Get together with the NFL, NFLPA, coaches and develop a plan to improve officiating. Maybe bring in a few players for their opinion.
    OR just ask Bill B what they should do !

  17. I think the best thing the referees association could do is request that the league stop having Dean Blandino blow smoke up our collective butts every time there is a bad call. Just move on.

  18. You are an official. Nobody cares about your feelings. Your job is to shut up and call a fair game. Let’s not make this about you, bc that’s not why anyone watches sports.

  19. Did fans watch the Dallas -Packer game? Did you see both coaches
    trying to talk to the refs to get clarification of the calls?
    The refs shut them down. The refs were brutal. Look at the fumble call
    in the Steeler game. The Steelers appeared to recover the fumble….
    It seemed that Brady clearly fumbled …but the refs just cut the Steeler
    coaches off. The refs need to look at themselves.

  20. The officials in the NFL have an impossible job.
    First of all, there are too many rules and too many interpretations of the rules. There is no earthly reason to have all the rules they have to learn. The rule book could be trimmed by a lot and the game would improve right away.
    Second, they are scrutinized more than any officials in any sport with all the cameras and replays which are shown. Even baseball umpires get less scrutiny than they do, and baseball is much easier to officiate than football is.
    Third, the speed of the game is incredibly fast, and the officials have to make calls as they see them. Of course they will miss some calls because they don’t have the luxury of watching super slow motion replays to make them. It’s a split second decision they have to make and they do it at a high level most of the time.
    Finally, players who complain about the officiating are nothing more than whiners. Every team gets the benefits of bad calls during the season and in the post season. So it’s ridiculous to blame the officials for calls they make or don’t make. I have yet to hear any player tell an official, “hey — you should have thrown a flag on me, because I held that guy!”
    And the fans are even worse. Most of them don’t know diddly about the rules and hardly any of them have ever tried to officiate a football game even at a pee wee level. If they did, they’d quickly see how poor they are at it, and maybe they’d shut their mouths about how bad the NFL officials are.
    The NFL officials aren’t perfect. They never have been and never will be. But there is one truth about them. If the NFL players did their jobs as well as the NFL officials do theirs they’d really be something.
    Here’s the deal — it’s just like boxing. If you don’t want to worry about losing a decision, knock the other guy out and you won’t have to worry about it.

  21. It has gotten out of control. The league needs to crack down on complaining. It’s mostly from the primadonna players who don’t care if they get fined. Make the fine a percentage of their salary and it will shut them up in a hurry.

  22. I think it starts with the coaches. Just watch the sidelines. After every single play, coaches are jumping up and down acting like a bunch of little babies. It trickles down to the players.

  23. Do away with holding and PI.
    We all know they both happen on every play anyway, it’s just the selective way they’re enforced that sticks in my craw.
    That should bring the zebras percentage up close to 100% by itself.

  24. If the officials don’t want to be criticized for sucking, they should try not sucking as a possible solution.
    Just a thought.

  25. Green misses the whole point. If games are going to be decided by officials and not players, then feel free to start refiunding the ticket $$$ for games decided by officials or fix the problem. Blandino is as patronizing and insulting as Roger Goodell. They behave as if the $$$$ fans spend on these games is their entitlement.

  26. I wonder where this guy is getting the “high 90’s” stat from as far as getting calls correct.
    I remember when the Baseball umpires used to claim they got 99% of calls correct but then MLB went to replay and it turned out that close plays were pretty much 50/50 or worse

  27. Refs will never be 100% right. If they were, then humans would actually be capable of being perfect. I know fans expect all refs to be perfect all the time and yet, no matter how much they demand it, it just never happens.

    It is time to take the human element out of it entirely. Develop some algorithm that can determine the outcome of a play and all is good. No need for a human to look at something and make a determination. Too much room for error in that.

    In just a few short years, refs will be nothing more than a footnote in history, just another story of how the game used to be played in its “primitive” years.

    They’ll be right alongside truck drivers and American factory workers.

  28. Television doesn’t do justice to how fast these players really are in person.

    Perhaps the speed of the game has reached a point where the naked eye just can’t see everything it needs to see, no matter how well trained.

    Maybe more help from the replay booth observers is going to be necessary in the future.

  29. vikinganswer says:
    Jan 31, 2017 8:20 PM

    I can solve the problem. Take out 25 of the 30 camera angles. Don’t see it. Can’t bitch. Less replay is the option not more


    I respectfully disagree on this. It is 2017 and they make great cameras smaller than cellphones now. Use them and use them strategically. Why did it take so long for pylon cameras and why do we only have them occasionally. They also can’t seem to get consistent line of scrimmage or first down line cameras straight on, yet they have yardage markers on both of those lines on each sideline. Put a camera on the top of those facing down the line of scrimmage and first down line. Every game should have unmanned fixed cameras mounted above the lower bowl looking down each goal line. These are the areas they can stand to have greater visibility.

  30. Well maybe they should get better at their job instead of worse. Its real simple. Make this a full time year round job where guys actually work to sharpen their skills instead of a bunch of part timers that qualified for the job at some point. That shouldn’t be too hard to fix.

  31. Refs can kiss my arse especially with what this guy has to say. They miss calls ALL THE TIME! I have seen some ridiculous chit this season. Worst season yet. If you don’t want players to complain then do a better job! Your bodies are not the ones at risk. You’re not the ones playing on broken legs to get that pay check. You’re not the ones trying to win a super bowl. Refs need to start being held accountable.

    Better yet, stop being biased, stop allowing teams like the Packers get away with murder and stop betting on games. Then maybe you’ll get some respect.

  32. one thing the league needs to do is quit hiring so many sons of current or retired officials. the amount of nepotism at the college and pro level is astronomical. Daddy’s little boy(s) can’t take the heat.

  33. irishgary says:
    Jan 31, 2017 8:24 PM
    I for one am tired of every receiver and QB wanting a flag on every pass and also tired of DBs holding or grabbing a jersey on every play. Maybe some rules should be changed

    Agreed. I think it should be a 15 yard penalty every time a receiver asks for a flag when there’s no foul committed. Also pass interference shouldn’t be a spot foul either, it should be 15 yards. The inconsistency in which it’s called can totally change the outcome of games

  34. maverick2560 says:
    Jan 31, 2017 8:29 PM

    Look at the fumble call
    in the Steeler game. The Steelers appeared to recover the fumble….
    It seemed that Brady clearly fumbled …but the refs just cut the Steeler
    coaches off. The refs need to look at themselves.
    It looked to me like the ball came loose as Brady’s knee was down, and that he himself landed on the ball. Whatever happened after that is anybody’s guess since you couldn’t see it on any of the replays. The fact that a Steeler emerged from the pile 30 seconds later doesn’t mean squat since you don;t know when the whistle blew. Also, it wasn’t the “Steeler game”, it was the “Patriot game”. If you play defense that poorly, you don’t get to put your name in the title.

  35. Instead of getting rid of holding & PI since it happens every play, the refs should start calling it ever play. Then tell the players to learn how to do THEIR jobs right & block/ cover, not grab.
    The 3 calls he specifically brings up should embarrass the players that called the refs out as well as the union for having guys run their mouths without actually seeing/knowing the play. Kelce going off to the media then grandstanding on the pregame show the next week proves how dumb & arrogant these players are & how ineffective these fines are. He pulled his checkbook out & said it was nothing to him, so how about making fines something that will stop the childish behavior.

  36. I would love to see the additional complainers from the safety of their computers try to ref a game in full speed. It’s easy for you to say get the call right when you are seeing a million highlights peppered by the broadcast in 1080p slow motion. Refs have to work with what they are given and the rules they are given. They don’t have the luxury of going back and looking at reply every single play and overturning calls MOST of the time. The rules don’t allow it.

  37. There are some players who are far worse than others, but a mistake by a ref can make a team lose the game. They need full-time referees!!!!

  38. I’m tired of all the player bitching. I’m tired of watching the hate.
    One pre-designated player on each side.of the ball is allowed to address the refs. That’s it.

  39. Sounds sort of like Donald whining about the media reporting the truth about him.

  40. These refs are full grown men, most over 50. They didn’t grow up in the “everyone gets a trophy” snowflake era. They are well aware that they blow calls all the time and instances of players like Kelce ripping on them are pretty damn rare. They need to man the F*** up and quit their whining. I mean really, their poor little feelings are hurt??? If players weren’t fined half the price of a new car, the abuse they would take WOULD be a problem, but again, players or coaches ripping into refs is a fairly rare occurrence. They need to get over themselves. Most of them should be happy that they get to work as refs at all.

  41. Refs want to be named to the Protected Species list but it is the fans that are rapidly approaching extinction. Bad calls are ruining the NFL. The ratings are down. You hear about bad calls every week during the game, in the forums, chat rooms and TV networks sports coverage.

    In a league of parity, one bad call does effect the outcome. Every coach knows that every game may be decided on just a few key plays. Many times these key plays involve controversial referee decisions and they should not. Coaches know to give the standard response post game because it serves no purpose whatsoever to protest bad calls.

    Face it, we are all stuck with bad calls until the NFL does something about it. Sooner would be better, before the integrity of the game degrades any further. Whatever the NFL decides, there needs to be a quantum change.

    Perhaps there should be fewer penalties. One good way to reduce them is a penalty box. 2 minutes for a standard foul, 5 minutes for personal foul, 10 minutes for 2nd personal foul. One thing we know is players want to play. Perhaps they would commit fewer penalties with a time out.

    The competition commitee needs to address The biggest game changers, Pass Interference and the catch process. Take away the PI spot enforcement and make it 15 yards. The enforcement of the most subjective call in the game should not be the most severe. For flagrant PI add a personal foul and additional 15 yards. Call offensive facemasking on recievers. Call all jersey holding on defenders and the player sits for 2, 5 or 10 minutes. Appoint replay official for all plays not just final two minute. Make all blatant bad calls reviewable. These are just a few ideas.

    The Refs need to improve their skill, game oversite and referee promotion/relegation system.
    Their needs to be incentive and consequences for refs.

    The fans and players are fed up with poor officiating. The players have to live with the outcomes, but the fans do not.

  42. There is a simple fair solution – if a player complains and the head of officials says the call is correct the player is publicly reprimanded and fined. If the call turns out to be wrong the referee is publicly reprimanded and fined. You make the mistake – you own it publicly. The only opinion that should matter is the PAYING CUSTOMER and we want BOTH less whining from players and more correct calls from refs.

  43. What the refs don’t understand is that it is better to miss a PI or holding call than to call one that did not happen. That is the problem. They call what they think happened instead of what actually did. Miss some calls? Sure, but don’t make phantom calls.

  44. Here’s a thought for everyone. 12 Officials on the field another 24 watching monitors. Every official has the ability to buzz the field for a flag and every play is thoroughly reviewed before the next play can start. To keep the games to 3 hours, each quarter is limited to one possession each. Only the play clock comes into effect. Then the NFLPA membership will be happy, the NFLRA will be happy, and the Advertisers will be really happy. Of course nobody will be watching anymore.

  45. Awww, little Scott Green got his little feelings hurt.

    Dude, your members suck. Just about all of them. Get some new blood. Get guys that are less than 100 years old who can keep up with the players. Get in the faces of Smith and RG1 and force them to simplify the rule book.

    And quit your bawling, you sniveling baby.

  46. no drooling,chippy,tpet,Vancouver,crybabies allowed says:
    Jan 31, 2017 8:36 PM
    Players are not concerned about the accuracy of a call. Their concern is whether the call went the way they wanted it to. To be honest, the same is true of us fans.



    I read posts ripping the refs for a wrong call. In cases where it was deginately wtong there will still be someone declaring the opposite because their team got helped.

    I read posts ripping the refs for a correct call except it went against the commenters team.

    And for those two I am talking about cases where the video was blatant and easy to see. The cases where even the video is tough to interpret become the wild west as homies and haters have at it. None are concerned about the correct call, just the one they want.

    Then there are the cases where the refs made the absolute correct call according to the rules they were officiating under, but guys claim they should have not followed the rules with their call simply because it did not favor their team

    This can be in cases where it didnt decide a game like the tuck rule (it simply gave one team a second chance, the other team still had to choke away their lead over several plays in order to lose) or cases where it was truly the end of the game like the Fisher hold. (Except KC still had to fail on the retry but you cant call that choking away a lead like what happened after the tuck rule.)

    On the tuck rule it was a lousy rule. The rule book should have had that defined as a fumble (and thank God they fixed that) but the bottom line is it didn’t. So it was not fair to the refs to rip them for following the rules. (And some have gone so far as to label it cheating that the rules were correctly followed, that’s how whack fans will be) For the Fisher hold that was a hold all day, always will be, and only a couple truly delusional homies tried arguing otherwise. The more common argument was to criticize the refs for not ignoring the rules on the basis that such a call decides a game. But thats still just homie-ism, wanting the refs to favor their team. Because the situation was such that to not follow the rule book still decided a game, just not the way the complainers wanted. In that case the ref was deciding a game and catching heck one way or another no matter what he did/didnt do. He simply chose to be getting ripped with the rule book and video backing him rather than getting ripped with all that against him.

    So the life of a ref basically boils down to darned if you do darned if you don’t whether your dall is right or wrong. Its just a question of who darns you.

  47. Referee’s think they matter. They don’t. Its simple… quit favoring the stars, make the obvious calls and remember no one wants to see or hear you.

  48. All you crybaby complainers need to suck it up. Try officiating before you boldly determine that a professional NFL Referee is incompetent. When players after every game are excoriated about all their missed blocks, missed tackles, alligator arm pass catching attempts, etc., then they can begin a discussion on referee performance. All you arm chair officials who know nothing of the avocation and the time and energy officials spend to prepare to make instant decisions, need to just shut up.

  49. Like the Seattle vs Atlanta game where Alford held Kearse or like the Seattle vs Atlanta game where Jones had an illegal hit to Sherman’s helmet?

  50. It’s not so much the bad calls. It’s the bias. Everyone knows certain teams (cough cough Packers) get the calls going their way more often than other teams.

    NFL = WWE.

  51. I wonder what their actual grades would be if the Blandino didn’t torture the rules on every bad call review to cast it in the best possible light.

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