View Full Version : Officials say NFL planned lockout

07-19-2012, 01:36 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL's on-field officials say the league is paying lip service to player safety by contacting replacement officials.

They also believe the NFL planned to lock them out rather than negotiate a new contract. Members of the NFL Referees Association were locked out June 3 after talks broke down.

NFLRA President Scott Green and past president Ed Hochuli, both current referees, said Wednesday the NFL is jeopardizing the safety of the players, as well as the integrity of the game, by considering using officials they feel are unqualified. None of those officials will come from the top college division because they all are barred from accepting NFL jobs by the colleges, Green said.

''To take seven officials who have not worked Division I (college) games or not worked the last several years,'' he said, ''and to put them on the field has got to be pretty unsettling not only to the players and coaches, but to the fans.

''The players have plenty of things to worry about on the field, they don't need to be worrying about the officials.''

Green said players know the current officials are consistent in their calls, but won't have any idea ''what will be called or seen and what won't be, and that will be a product of how the game is being affected.''

Added Hochuli: ''There is no game if the competitive nature of the game is not being controlled'' by officials.

The NFL disagreed, saying in a statement:

''Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of officiating for our teams, players, and fans, including proper enforcement of the playing rules and efficient management of our games.

''We are confident that these game officials will enforce rules relating to player safety. Contrary to NFLRA leadership, we do not believe that players will 'play dirty' or intentionally break the rules.''

07-19-2012, 03:28 PM
I don't know how I feel about this.

The rules are the same, regardless who is officiating the game. The only kicker is what is going to be seen by the inexperienced refs and if they are going to be as technical.

Part of me hopes they'll make less calls and let the game be played the way it should be. It's football. It's a tough sport. Period.

07-19-2012, 05:54 PM
Thanks for the article, Wolf. Some additional takes on this subject.

Will replacement NFL officials make a difference in the game? (http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-nfl-officials-question-20120719,0,546206.story)

July 19, 2012, 10:56 a.m.
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss how games might be affected if the NFL referee lockout extends into the regular season. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation with a comment of your own.

Matt Vensel, Baltimore Sun

As is the case in any profession, you can expect a drop-off when the best in the business are sitting on the sidelines. This applies to NFL referees as much as it does to its starting quarterbacks and skilled workers away from the gridiron — surgeons, master chefs and hair stylists too.

But even though the replacement officials aren’t likely to butcher the rules like that woman at the hair salon chain at the mall did to my hair last time around, there will be differences — some subtle and some not.

The expansion of replay may prevent game-changing missed calls, but veteran NFL official Ed Hochuli says that replacement officials threw between one and five penalty flags a game in 2001, the last time replacements were used. And if flags were to fly more frequently this time, the pace of the game may be slowed as the guys in stripes huddle up to interpret the rules.

The NFL must resolve this dispute to ensure that the game’s top players remain the story, not shoddy officiating.

[Updated at 12:16 p.m.:

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

This situation has the potential to be a mess for the NFL. Because many supervisors of several major college conferences are current or former NFL officials, those supervisors will not allow their officials to be pro replacements. What’s more, nine of the top retired officials – well known zebras such as Red Cashen, Ron Botchan and Jerry Markbreit – have refused the league’s request to train replacements.

So the league has reached into the high school and junior college ranks to assemble a group of replacements, and lacks qualified officials to train them. As the speed of the game increases, from the first to third exhibition game, then to the regular season, the glaring mistakes could start piling up.

When replacements were used in 2001, there were some embarrassing situations – including one in which an official asked Jerry Rice for an autograph before a game. The first time someone makes an obviously bad call – and it’s bound to happen – fans will go crazy. Officials are like offensive linemen – you’re much more likely to notice a poor performance than a great one.

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Quick, name an NFL referee whose name isn't Ed Hochuli, who gained his popularity because of his bulging muscles and not for making sensational calls in a game.

If you're a gambler, you might know a few more, but referees are typically invisible most of the season. Or at least they should be, blending into the fabric of America's favorite game.

That's why it's hard to imagine the NFL would look any different with a new breed of replacement referees culled from the collegiate ranks. As long as we're not talking about this billion-dollar sport hiring officials from the Pop Warner and high school level, or NBA and MLB refs switching sports, it would be premature to say that using replacements would have a negative effect.

There's no harm in going the replacement route for a few months and seeing what happens.

Vaughn McClure, Chicago Tribune

Here is the Bears’ Brian Urlacher, talking about the possibility of playing football with replacement officials:

"Were the refs that we had before good? Seriously, it doesn’t really matter. Yes, there are officials that have been around a while and you know their names and have relationships. But at the same time, it doesn't matter."

Urlacher has a point. Players won’t have a choice in the matter and will adjust accordingly. But if history repeats itself, replacement officials could benefit hard-hitting defensive players and adversely affect quarterbacks.

When replacement officials worked games in 2001, referee Ed Hochuli said those officials threw between 1-5 penalty flags per game. That is a significant difference from the 12-14 flags whistled by regular NFL officials last season.

A player might sneak by with an illegal hit in front of a replacement official that he would never get away with in front of a seasoned veteran official. In turn, the game might become more dangerous, as some already have implied would be the end result.

As much as players might normally complain about officiating, they might have a better appreciation of the NFL’s regular officials if replacements step in.

07-19-2012, 06:39 PM
if i remember correctly the question "how much worse could they be?" was asked when talking about replacement officials in the NBA a couple years ago. the answer was "a WHOLE LOT worse". as much as we complain about the refs already, i'd hate to see youth and inexperience deciding outcomes of a 16 game season. moving up a grade in officiating isnt as easy as it sounds, especially at that level.

07-20-2012, 03:54 PM
if i remember correctly the question "how much worse could they be?" was asked when talking about replacement officials in the NBA a couple years ago. the answer was "a WHOLE LOT worse". as much as we complain about the refs already, i'd hate to see youth and inexperience deciding outcomes of a 16 game season. moving up a grade in officiating isnt as easy as it sounds, especially at that level.

It just did get worse.

NFL, former refs at odds over training replacement officials (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/20/nfl-former-refs-at-odds-over-training-replacement-officials/)
July 20, 2012, 4:28 PM EDT

Prominent former referees including Jerry Markbreit and Red Cashion have refused to train replacement officials to take the jobs of the league’s locked-out regular officials, leading to a standoff between the trainers and the NFL.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports that Markbreit, Cashion and seven other former game officials who have previously worked for the league training current officials have apparently been fired for refusing to train replacements.

“The NFL never actually told us in writing we were fired,” Markbreit said. “However, they took our computers back, and they shut off the NFL website as they did to all of the officials. We feel that we’re fired. They haven’t formally notified us, but it sure feels like we’re fired.”

The other officiating trainers asked to return their computers were Ron Botchan, Bill Schmitz, Ben Montgomery, Jim Quirk, Sid Semon, Tom Fincken and Dean Look. Markbreit said none of them felt comfortable with training replacements.

“They wanted us to train the replacements, which we would absolutely not do,” Markbreit said. “We were all officials for 20-plus years. . . . How could we face our people? There wasn’t a question about us doing this. We knew this was coming. It’s very discouraging for [the league] to have put us in this kind of situation.”

The league has declined to comment on the matter. If the league and the National Football League Referees Association can’t come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL will start the season with replacement officials. And it’s not clear who will train those replacement officials.

07-20-2012, 04:03 PM
They can put me out there, and I'll work for FREE! Just the opportunity to gawk at a few TiGHT ENDS would be enough!!:):shetexan:

07-20-2012, 06:00 PM
Let me introduce you to the NFL substitute referee instructors


who will be teaching the new batch of referees their "safety outlet" signal for "I DON'T KNOW!"


07-22-2012, 03:03 PM
NFL’s replacement officials would include first female ref (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/22/nfls-replacement-officials-would-include-first-female-ref/)
July 22, 2012, 2:11 PM EDT

If anything nudges the NFL and the locked out NFL Referees Association back to the bargaining table, it might be this weekend’s replacement clinic in Dallas.

Referred to as the “scab clinic” by NFLRA officials last week, it’s a collection of refs who’ve been working lower-level football, some retired officials and others who aren’t currently working at the Division I level.

If the league’s confident what they have gathered is a competent bunch, it will only embolden their stance. If they realize they have a disaster on their hands, it may make them much more agreeable to negotiate from the current position.

Not much is known about the makeup of the replacements, other than the fact the NFLRA considers them sub-standard.

But if they are put in play, a bit of NFL history will be made. According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, one of the replacements is Shannon Eastin. She’s worked Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games, but would be the first woman to work an NFL game as an on-field official.

Whether the league wants to put her on the field should have nothing to do with her gender. If she was qualified enough to work her way up the ranks to an NFL gig, no thinking person would have a problem with her presence. But the fact their replacement plan doesn’t include even the Triple-A quality refs from the college ranks would seriously diminish the accomplishment of a barrier being broken.

07-22-2012, 09:27 PM
again i'll reference basketball. if violet palmer is the example, female officials dont work at the highest levels.