Not getting all that much pub, but for those of you who don't know, the NFL referees are involved in a major contract dispute - they are currently locked out, and neither side seems very willing to budge on demands.
The NFL is currently looking to use division 3 referees for the upcoming season.
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I think now would be a good time for the league to stop being petty and hipocritical. They should sit at the table, look at zebra demands and give them 10% more. Set and example that this league not only wants the best referring of games but is more than willing to pay. This is not a battle worth fighting, but it is probably more a matter of procedure and principle. And it gives the laywers something to argue over. seriously, does it make any sense for the league not to just pay the men who are protecting the game?
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The lockout of veteran officials is a story receiving little attention. That will change if the regular season commences with 120 replacement referees, who contractually can't be culled from major college conferences.
"To take seven officials who have not worked Division I games or not worked the last several years," NFL Referees Association President Scott Green said last week, "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."
Like any negotiation, this one seems destined to go to the 11th hour, but the sides haven't met since June 3. The Giants host the Cowboys to kick off the season Sept. 5. But failure to reach an accord will surely call the NFL's commitment to protecting players into question.
"If all these issues are truly about player safety, then you get things worked out with the refs," Davis says, referring to the recent initiatives to curb concussions and dangerous hits. "You have to have officials that understand and are accustomed to seeing the game at the speed of light. Division II refs aren't used to seeing games at the speed of light just like rookies aren't." And that's to say nothing about the potential for blown calls and on-field gaffes.
Former referee Jerry Markbreit said in a Chicago radio interview this week: "You have to realize that there is no game if the competitive nature of this game is not controlled, and the NFL officials, the best in the land, are the ones that control this game. And when you put replacements in there, you're compromising the nature of this game, and that's what the league is planning right now. They feel like they can get people that are competent to work. They're mistaken. They can't. These (replacements) are not even qualified collegiate officials."
Replacements, who reportedly spring from such places as high schools, small colleges, and the Arena Football League, are expected to see their first NFL action Sunday, officiating the Cardinals and Saints at the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
NFLRA members have been locked out since June 3 following a breakdown of labor talks with the NFL.
There is concern that, despite the league's months spent preparing the replacements, the quality of game officiating will be reduced should the lockout continue into the season.
Good. If it gets this far, then one of two things will happen: the officiating will resemble SB 40, and the ball will be in the ref's court, or it will go relatively without incident, and the ball will be in the NFL's court. Either way, most likely it will push the tide one way or the other and pretty much pressure one side to cave.
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