NFL Says ‘My Way Or The Highway’ To The Refs

Folks, I have to admit that I am primarily a college football person. I mean no offense to the other fans but I spent ten years in college as a student at the University of Alabama and 28 years teaching there so I sort have it in my blood.

I have always watched the pros on Sundays, however, since there was nothing much else to do in the afternoon except cow pasture pool, i.e., golf to you city folk. To be quite honest though, I really just love football and I have to admit that watching the guys, especially those I had watched at the college level, play at the top of their game is fascinating.

Over the years I have noticed a trend in most all sports but most notably in football, and even more noteworthy in professional football. The players have progressively gotten a lot bigger and a whole lot faster.

The game I used to watch back in the days of quarterbacks Eddie LaBaron,(5′ 7″, 168 lbs), “Sonny” Jurgensen (5’11” 202 lbs) and a linebacker named Leroy Jordan (6’1″ 215 lbs) just doesn’t exist anymore. Another former Alabama kid named Rolando McCLain (6’4″ 255 lbs) was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2010 is now more the prototype linebacker for today’s game. His speed is probably faster than that of the running backs of those of yesteryear which makes for some very serious collisions when he and 230 lb running backs collide. The point here is that the game of professional football has been constantly elevated as the years have gone by to an extremely fast and, at times dangerous sport. Other than the pads and their conditioning the only thing that the players have that they can depend on for their safety are the referees calling the game. The Referees, as many know by now are locked out by the NFL while they are in negotiations with the owners over working conditions, pay and pension benefits. The league has brought in replacement referees to call the games who clearly are not up to the job. According to Brian Fredericks of the Huffington Post Sports Blog:

Where are these replacement referees coming from? In a memo obtained by SB Nation last month, the NFL instructed scouts to approach prospective replacement officials and said the league was specifically looking for:

1. An official who have recently retired from a successful career in college officiating and is still physically able to officiate at a high level of competency.

2. Lower division college officials, professional league officials and semi-professional league officials whose window of opportunity for advancement has pretty much closed but who have the ability to work higher levels but just got overlooked.

Well part of that problem was that most highly qualified referees, even from the college ranks, already had their seasons lined up. According to Fredericks one of those hired actually came out of the Lingerie Football League, which I am sad to say, I didn’t even know existed, but I doubt that it would qualify one to immediately step into a referee spot in the NFL. It seems that many of the replacement refs are from Division III football and are most likely still learning the rules of the NFL which differ greatly in many respects from college level football. When you combine the rule changes with the speed changes in the game, and the impact factors, and the skill factors of the pros, the replacement refs are simply way out of their league, pun intended.

So, what is the big riff between the NFL and the regular referees? Well, as of the end of the last season all of the referees were considered part time employees, meaning that many of them had other jobs in addition to their gigs with the NFL. So the $8000.00 a game pay they were making was a really good part time job if you could get it I guess, considering that there was 16 games a year plus the playoffs. As best I can decipher the wants of the NFL they want the referees to become full time employees at about the same pay but with no pension plan. It is also rumored that the NFL wants to hire additional referees so that, in the event a referee isn’t living up to standards they can put someone else in his place. The referees, according to rumor, either do not want to become full time, but they do want a pension, or they want a raise to go full time and they want a pension plan and benefits. So far the NFL has said that they are not going to negotiate anymore. Their offer is on the table take it or leave it. At least that is the best I can gather from umpteen different sources on the internet and two off bathroom walls at truck stops which are usually reliable.

So, folks it is the same old game. People who have money, want to keep it. People who are earning money would like a little more of it. It seems that it comes down to the Golden Rule:


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Posted by on September 27, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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6 Responses to NFL Says ‘My Way Or The Highway’ To The Refs

  1. Dale Fisk Reply

    September 27, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I could be mistaken but I heard they settled this late last night.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      September 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Yeah Dale, talk about bad timing for a post explaining the lockout. 🙁

  2. Erin Nanasi Reply

    September 27, 2012 at 8:04 am

    My husband, who follows pro football because he used to play football, told me last night that NFL refs make $149,000 a year for 4 months of work. And what’s interesting about that is union hating Republicans are screaming that the NFL needs to being the “real” refs back, meet their demands and give them what they want so football can go back to normal, but teachers, who make less than half what these refs make and work much harder, deserve our scorn. Anyone else notice something glaringly wrong here?

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      September 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

      The glaring hypocrisy of the republicans rears its ugly head once again.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      September 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

      Yeah, there is a glaring problem here. It is all about what rich people want and when they want it. Looking at it another way, if it were not for teachers the NFL players would never get to college to get drafted to play professional football so then we wouldn’t need refs, and team owners would be so rich.

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