- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
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:
HE WHO HAS THE GOLD MAKES THE RULES