Replacement Refs To Start Regular Season


According to CBS Sports’ NFL Insider Mike Freeman, the NFL has sent a memo to all 32 NFL teams claiming that the replacement officials will start the regular season. Although there has been a ton of media coverage, the argument to whether the replacement referees are any worse than the regular refs is a debatable one. Sure, Tony Romo had to spot his own ball inside of the hash marks, but that isn’t any worse than some of the mistakes we have seen by the “official” officials *cough Ben Roethlisberger’ touchdown in Super Bowl XL cough*. Regardless, the referring situation has been one of the highlights of the preseason, and now appears like it will be one of the highlights during the regular season, at least for Week 1.

Here is the tweet from Mike Freeman,

About 30 minutes later Freeman spilled more information, including a copy of the memo to the teams,

In case you do not feel like reading through the document, here are some highlights,

On the plan for the replacement officials during the regular season:

“We will have an officiating supervisor from our staff in the replay booth at each game whose job will be to help ensure correct penalty enforcement, administration of rules not involving fouls, operation of the game and play clocks, and game administration. The supervisor will be able to communicate directly with the alternate official on the sidelines… the final decision will be made by the referee on the field and no decision will be revisited or changed once the ball has been snapped for the next play.”

On the status of the negotiations:

“Our negotiations with the game officials’ union remain
deadlocked. Although we continue to be in touch with federal mediators, and are prepared to resume negotiations at any time, no discussions are currently scheduled.”

On their “pension plan” proposal:

“We have proposed to freeze the defined benefit plan (preserving all vested benefits for all officials) and replace it with a defined contribution/401(k) arrangement – the same arrangement that is in place for all other league employees and which 13 clubs have adopted. We have offered a defined
contribution that would average $20,000 per year, while the officials’ union has proposed a substantially higher amount.”

On the discrepacy in “operational issues”:

“We have proposed several steps to accomplish (increased quality of officiating), including having a number of full-time officials and expanding the overall number of officials. We think these steps, along with improvements in training and evaluation, an increased emphasis on consistency, and an enhanced ability to bring in new officials when necessary, will lead to long-term improvements in officiating”

Personally, I like the replacement officials; at least their mistakes are somewhat entertaining. Moreover, the St. Louis Rams have been one of the least penalized teams throughout the preseason! Stay tuned to for any additional updates…