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Game action in Pittsburgh during a Pittsburgh Steelers (black/yellow) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (white/red) National Football League game on December 3, 2006. Players depicted include: (Steelers #99) Brett Keisel; (Steelers #51) James Farrior; (Steelers #26) Deshea Townsend; (Bucs #75)
The first weekend of National Football League regular season play brought a new flood of complaints about the scab officials brought in to replace the league's locked out regular referees—and the news that the NFL Players Association has expressed its concern over the lockout to NFL management. So far, though, the NFL seems to be taking the view that flagrant errors and questionable safety protections are worth it for the chance at forcing concessions from its regular referees.

Sunday's games included some egregious officiating errors, led by scab refs giving the Seattle Seahawks an extra timeout late in the fourth quarter, a mistake that could have made the difference in a close game. In other fourth-quarter confusion, scab officials gave the two-minute warning at the wrong time in the Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos game. Both of those mistakes are crystal clear, but neither has a direct safety impact; much less clear are the calls that take place—or don't—on a split second's judgment. And it's those, the blocks and holds, that affect the physicality of a game and potentially endanger players.

The NFL Players Association is looking into safety concerns:

In a September 5, 2012 letter from NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso to NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, DePaso requests biographies of all replacement officials, including their names, ages, and experience.

“Should it be evident that the replacement officials are under-qualified or inexperienced, we reserve the right to assert that utilizing replacement officials jeopardizes the health and safety of our members and to take appropriate action to protect our members,” DePaso wrote.  “In addition, our players request that the locked-out officials immediately be allowed to return to work for this weekends’ games to ensure the players’ health and safety is protected until you reach a new agreement with them.”

This language is important: The collective bargaining agreement for NFL players prohibits them from striking. But it specifically exempts from being called a strike "the quitting of labor by an employee or employees in good faith because of abnormally dangerous conditions for work." NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has hinted at such a possibility, telling Sports Illustrated during the preseason that "In America it is the employer's obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible. We believe that if the National Football League fails in that obligation we reserve the right to seek any relief that we believe is appropriate."

But there's a way all these concerns can be put to rest immediately. The NFL's management and owners need to stop being so greedy and end their second lockout in two years.

Sign our petition calling on Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners to drop their demands for major concessions and return the regular union referees to the football field.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  BS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kane in CA, Rich in PA

    there were two prominent screwed up calls that did not affect the outcome of the game.

    There were no missed calls on plays involving safety. I haven't seen or heard anyone talking about that, there is no evidence that players are less safe with the replacement refs, yet you cite safety concerns several times.

    NFL players have been doing a pretty good job of injuring and concussing each other even with the normal referees.

    In about 3 weeks no one will miss the old referees.

    If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

    by indefinitelee on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:34:54 PM PDT

    •  really? (22+ / 0-)

      so you support busting up a union? The refs didn't know how many timeouts the Seahawks had used and gave them an extra one. Both teams in last nights game used illegal formations because the refs didn't know any better and te flags were consistently  late and the refs were unsure of what the penalty was. Your anti union bias is showing.

      As a nation, the U.S. consumes the most hot dogs per capita. So you'd be wise to never underestimate our powers of denial.

      by jbou on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:38:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  really (0+ / 0-)

        there are horrible calls every single week.

        i'm against a stupid union that overplayed their hand.

        If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

        by indefinitelee on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:48:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not like this past week... (16+ / 0-)

          even an NFL toady like Chris Collinsworth was pointing out how bad the refs were.

          The owners could settle this mess but they are trying to break the union. It would cost each team 62,000 dollars to settle this but instead they are going with scabs. The owners would be wise to just sell the spot on the back of the refs jerseys to Budweiser for double what it costs them to pay the refs.

          As a nation, the U.S. consumes the most hot dogs per capita. So you'd be wise to never underestimate our powers of denial.

          by jbou on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:53:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that the NFL could easily pay (0+ / 0-)

            what the referees asked for is sort of irrelevant. The NFL is going to pay what they believe the refs are worth. Nobody overpays for something just because they have a ton of cash in their pocket.

            there are probably lots of motivations behind the lockout and i'm sure the political philosophy of the team owners is among the top.

            by all accounts it looks like the refs had a pretty solid deal that they walked away from. They also were against the NFL hiring more referees. Is it anti-union for a union to not want to let more workers in? It's more like a closed guild or something.
            I don't feel bad that guys making on average $149k per year +$20k in defined benefit pension + an undisclosed 401k match arent working now. They want to be paid like MLB or NBA refs who get in the $250k-$400k range. It's not gonna happen.

            If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

            by indefinitelee on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:05:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Union refs KNOW what time it is. nt (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pengiep, Larsstephens, cybersaur

              Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

              by franklyn on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:38:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  They make that much for working 16 Sundays? (0+ / 0-)

              And they want more?

              •  To keep a highly remunerative system honest and (5+ / 0-)

                safe as possible with the competitive personalities involved requires that referee be a high paid position. The union refs ARE clearly worth it because the scabs "ain't gettin' it done.".

                "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

                by pengiep on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:01:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  try standing, unprotected, on an NFL field (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zinger99, homogenius, sethtriggs, JBL55

                in a violent scrum of 22 players averaging 250 lbs of muscle. And keep your eyes solely on the players and movements you are tasked to watch for the often tiny, fleeting difference between a legal or illegal movement. Don't pay attention to the receiver/linebacker pair using you as a screen to come open, or the flying bodies all around you.
                do that  for 60 plays a game,16 times for real, after preseason games where overeager recruits are less concerned with you than they will be come regular season.

                Fact is, referees can and do get badly hurt in football. I can't explain why they wear no protection, or why it is legal to use them as human shields in the passing game, but their physical safety is at risk every time they step on a field, and that risk goes up the more one is focused on making the correct calls. And it is not an apples to apples comparison to look at an NFL ref's yearly income without acknowledging that the players, coaches, pundits on TV, and team owners make hundreds of times that amount. It is chump change in the NFL.

                As for player safety, it is only logical that less professional refs will err on the side of too few calls (we see it in tennis all the time), which directly impacts player safety. I expect by season's end there will be plenty of documentation for this pov, sadly.

                R-Money/R-Ayn, the ENRON Ticket, is not a campaign; it's a hostile takeover bid.

                by kamarvt on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 04:46:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zinger99, homogenius, sethtriggs
              by all accounts it looks like the refs had a pretty solid deal that they walked away from.
              Please define the word "lockout."
        •  No - False Equivalence (13+ / 0-)

          I commented on a SF 49er blog that this was the worse officiating I'd ever seen. The only thing that made it even remotely OK was that they blew calls in both directions.

          Truly incompetent officiating.

          Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

          by TerryDarc on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:38:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I saw several missed calls involving safety (17+ / 0-)

      Every elite athlete knows how to injure an opponent.  I do not think that is disputable, particularly not when it comes to the NFL.  That doesn't happen for the most part because players at the NFL level see their self-interest in playing within the rules (the boneheads at New Orleans notwithstanding).  The question we now face is, "What happens when there are no consistent rules?"  Yesterday, I saw blocks in the back, late hits, and dirty play (see Yahoo on Antonio Smith calling out Richie Incognito, as an example).  The fact that these things are not being called makes recurrent and increasingly flagrant fouls more likely.  At some point, the Antonio Smiths in the league will take matters into their own hands either by holding the owners accountable or by play meant to injure.  The former is preferable, from my perspective.

    •  I used those two examples because (19+ / 0-)

      they can't be argued. There are a ton of safety-related misses that are being credibly alleged, but since they're typically less clearcut, they're subject to being seen as sour grapes or what have you. The point is, if these refs are missing basic stuff like that, you really think they're doing as well as experienced refs getting the more subtle stuff? Sorry, but you'd have to be a fool or a management tool to think that. It's like DeMaurice Smith said in the linked interview -- traditionally the NFL won't use a rookie ref except in a game where all the other refs are veterans. You don't think they do that for good reason? Until now?

      •  The problem is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you didn't make your case.

        If the replacement refs are truly putting the players at higher risk, then there should be evidence of it. A blown pass interference call is rarely a safety issue. And they happen every single week.

        And there are injuries every single week, even with experienced refs.  A penalty on a late hit does NOT eliminate an injury. A concussion doesn't go away because of a 15 yard penalty. Nor would a missed penalty on a late hit cause an injury.  In order to substantiate your claim, you have to have evidence that there were more blown calls resulting in players being at higher risk this weekend than there are other weekends with experienced refs. Maybe that evidence exists. This diary sure didn't point to any of it.

    •  Did you even read the diary? (10+ / 0-)

      The players' reps themselves are raising safety concerns. They aren't going to wait until a serious injury to address the issue.

      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:48:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You have to admit that is pretty funny (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kane in CA, jayden, homogenius

        though. Safety concerns in pro football? We know now that most of these guys are going to leave football with some combination of knee, ankle, shoulder, and brain injuries. Few veteran players will escape having at least one injury plaguing them for life. To cry about the additional risk posed by amateur refs is just sort of silly.

        •  Teh irony--it burns us!!! (0+ / 0-)

          There is one simple way to guarantee their safety--DON'T PLAY PROFESSIONAL TACKLE FOOTBALL!!!

          (Better yet--don't play it at ANY level.  Why we haven't banned it at the high school level is beyond me.)

          (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

          by homogenius on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 07:35:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Heh (12+ / 0-)

      In my Bears v Colts game, I saw at least a half-dozen blown calls and one blown review. The regular refs miss calls, but not this frequently, and the bulk of their missed calls get overturned on review.

      Not now.

      You get what you pay for. You want quality officiating, pay the pros. If you don't give a shit about refs that know when to properly charge a timeout, then sure, cheer on the scabs.

      Me, I'm for quality football, and you'll never have that without quality officiating.

    •  So what happens if there are (9+ / 0-)

      enough missed calls that players figure they can get away with murder?

      As for missed calls, there was a blatant block in the back on the Green Bay punt runback that one of the replacement refs overruled leading to a Packers touchdown. The fact that it didn't affect the game result was thanks to the 49ers defense especially with the interception of Aaron Rodgers on the next drive.

      I admit to being of two minds on this -- on one side I can see the regular referees desire to protect their jobs, on the other I can see the owners' interest in having more full-time refs (something a lot of people in the game have called for) plus flexibility to replace those who are ineffective or just plain bad. The worst part about these labor discussions (and I have the same beef with the current discussions in the NHL) is that they wait till the last minute to start the negotiations, rather than getting them going a year before the contract expires so that there's enough room for negotiation on both sides. My spouse was a union worker for close to 30 years (before he retired) and I don't remember negotiations being started so close to contract expiration (though we had a few close calls where strike votes were actually taken; never had a walkout though).

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:48:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  After watching referees botch (0+ / 0-)

      calls on my favorite teams for 20 years, I have no sympathy for any of them. Let's face it, referees are one of the most unpopular professions in existence. How many times do they have to miss obvious pass interference calls before they can expect to lose the support of the American public?

      •  I don't believe you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        With instant replay I can't remember the last time I was upset over a bad call. Or a spot for that matter. And this is in  light of the fact they change the rules literally every season.

        No Jesus, Know Peace

        by plok on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:24:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are still a few. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Even replay doesn't always have a good angle to demonstrate that a call was botched.

          Having been a referee in amateur leagues for over a decade, I can tell you outright, every single player knows that "If the Ref didn't see it, it didn't happen".  And Refs ALWAYS see retaliation.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:29:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  In the 49ers game (10+ / 0-)

      There was a clear block in the back that the refs missed and the announcers were up in arms about it. They also missed a number of other calls.

      That quote about GDP by Robert Kennedy

      by erichiro on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:16:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been watching football (8+ / 0-)

      for 30 years. I like seeing the familiar faces of the refs.

      A scab is a scab.

      And BTW, those stadiums? They didn't build that. Hardly.

      No Jesus, Know Peace

      by plok on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:18:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We call the workers who cross picket lines 'scabs' (15+ / 0-)

    It makes them seem like the only guilty party in this. What we really need is a word for the owners who hire them and won't negotiate with the union in the first place. Nominations? And please, no profanity, I want a word that can be used in front of children. So far all I've got is 'scab pickers' but that's just derivative.

    If we got Mitt to be slightly less dishonest and gave him some personality he could pass as a used car salesman.

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:34:55 PM PDT

  •  How bout Ayn Rand football: no refs! (17+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't  the game be much better without and rules or referees?

    How dare you stifle innovation with your regulations! You and your "penalties" are destroying the magical hand of the free market, which can make any corrections needed without your corrupt, bureaucratic "referees."

    And this game will never be any good as long as their is a salary cap. And why should the weaker teams be given the first draft picks? You're rewarding failure!

    Take the fight to them. Don't let them bring it to you. - Harry S Truman

    by jgoodfri on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:42:19 PM PDT

  •  The one game I watched on Sunday had a flagrant (10+ / 0-)

    face-mask violation called holding. It was a guy on our team that did it so I'm not sad it was a ridiculous call but their safety concerns are real.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

    by OHdog on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:43:34 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, there was arguably a non-call (9+ / 0-)

      or two that benefited my guys. In fact, Tennessee's QB was out for most of the fourth quarter because he hurt himself tackling a Patriot who had picked up the ball and was running on what almost certainly should have been called an incomplete pass.

      •  I mean, it was an incomplete pass. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKinTN, jayden, TimmyB, Larsstephens, cybersaur

        They almost certainly should have called it that way on the field rather than letting it go.

        •  They're supposed to let it go (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If they call it incomplete and it later turns out to be a fumble, the play is already dead and the game gets screwed up. I was pretty sure when it happened that it was incomplete, but when there's doubt I'm fine with them waiting until the play was over to potentially overturn it.

          If they let close fumble/incomplete calls go they can always go back and overturn the play, which they did.

          It's not the replacement ref's faults that Jake Locker is a moron that injured his shoulder making a tackle on an interception.

          When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

          by PhillyJeff on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:49:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly Right--Player Safety Was Compromised (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, cybersaur, JBL55

        I'm a New England fan and watched that game.  There were two incomplete passes that were picked-up by the Pats and run back because the refs failed to blow the whistle.  Both these plays were reviewed and ruled incomplete after initially being improperly ruled fumbles.

        On one of these plays the Titan's QB was injured.  These two plays endangered player safety.  How anyone can claim something different is beyond me.

        And I'm not counting the obvious pass interference call against the Pats the refs missed in the end zone.  That had nothing to do with player safety, but was still an obviously blown call.

    •  Yup (7+ / 0-)

      saw that. It was a crazy non-call particularly since it happened right in front of a ref.

      If you can't call a face mask, the most blatant of football fouls, I don't trust you to call shit.

      btw, I've never seen a real ref blow a face mask.

  •  players can self police.... (8+ / 0-)

    Who needs referees if everyone plays by the rules? The invisible hand of the free market will NOT be called for HOLDING again!

    Unregulate Football!!!

    Defeat Glass-Jaw/SeaGals!

    Keep Barney Franks out of football!

    Come up with your own snarky slogan....

    Personally, I prefer real football where they use their FEET to play.

    "You can tell 'Monopoly' is an old game, it has a Luxury Tax and rich people can go to jail." - George Takei

    by daddybunny on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:57:38 PM PDT

  •  how expensive (9+ / 0-)

    can these refs be? I mean the entire collective amount for all of them for a year probably doesn't come close to equalling the contract of Brady or Brees or Foster.

  •  Let's think about this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, Russ Jarmusch, pot, schnecke21, kyril

    What better time for unions to get some re-branding done at the expense of the NFL.  And no, I am not a marketing guy, nor do I play one on TV.

    Anywho, why don't some of the union folk start placing ads during the games, to just remind them of the benefits of unions, making sure to throw at the NFL and their use of the scab umpires?  You know as well as I do that the Koch bastards wouldn't think twice about doing the same in return to the unions.

    •  pro/anti-union ads? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, kyril, catfood, sethtriggs

      Ya know...if the players had a union, they'd honor the other union's strike.

      It's tough running a union in a non-union industry.

      -6.12 -4.87 I don’t need insurance I need health care. You have sick people and doctors. Any third parties looking to profit from disease should go to hell. (Stolen from a comment somewhere on the Internet.)

      by jestbill on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:49:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you mean these guys? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        NFL Players Association.
        They've been leading the effort to make the league pay up on head injuries, and more. they're also in large part responsible for the recent and growing awareness of the severity of concussions, an avenue that has enormous benefits for our veterans.

        Yeah. a little union solidarity would be a damn good thing. Problem is the multimillionaire constituency of one union sees a short term benefit to not sitting out with the other union. These guys have a ten year window, tops.

        R-Money/R-Ayn, the ENRON Ticket, is not a campaign; it's a hostile takeover bid.

        by kamarvt on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 04:56:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a violent No Fun League (5+ / 0-)

    If it were not for the fact that the NFL is an economic engine on its own right, I would not mind it slowly disappearing into oblivion

    I personally wont watch any college or NFL game again, but I will go to the superbowl house parties just to socialize.

    My attraction to the game is over with. I dont give an effin hoot anymore.

  •  Scabs missed an obvious block in the back 49ers (5+ / 0-)

    vs Packers, while flagging another block that wasn't illegal... on the same play...

    Baby, where I come from...

    by ThatSinger on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:32:58 PM PDT

  •  I'm gonna be alone on this one (4+ / 0-)

    but I hate the word scab almost as much as I hate the word bitch

    Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?

    by WalterNeff on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:36:17 PM PDT

    •  Lets focus on the owners, not the workers. (6+ / 0-)

      It reminds me of how Republicans always blame "illegals" for driving down wages and or putting Americans out of work.

      I'm not going to attack someone for coming here to make a better life for themselves - I'll attack the business owners who exploit them to line their own pockets.

      The replacement refs aren't facing such dire circumstances, but they had an opportunity to earn some decent money and provide for themselves and their families in an era where times are tough. And maybe they had a dream of reffing in the NFL.

      Instead of attacking the replacement referees, lets go after the NFL for not bargaining in good faith with the existing refs.

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:54:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  May I just add as an aside (4+ / 0-)

      I went to the Sounders game on Saturday - and we get 40,000 people at those - and I was moved to tears (which never happens, ever) when I discovered that when the national anthem is sung, it's not some local dude/dudette like baseball or football - the CROWD sings it. It was stunning. I vote that we stop with the American Idol singers and do that instead for baseball and football. Have you ever heard 40,000 people sing the national anthem??? Whoa.

      Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?

      by WalterNeff on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:04:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't like it either, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, catfood, sethtriggs

      I don't think the two terms can be compared. To call someone a "scab" is an insult, but it's based on a person's actions, not a slur against a person's identity.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:09:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Officiating was terrible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Larsstephens, cybersaur

    I complained to the NFL yesterday.  I saw part of all of the games yesterday.  So many bad calls.  The Philly/Cleveland game was a prime example...just horrible.  No protection for the quarterbacks, the game was slowed down by too many suspect calls...some without explanations...every down a holding penalty was called or instead of the team receiving the ball getting called for a block in the back or a clip, the kicking team got penalized. Poor clock name it I saw it yesterday with the amature officials.  Lots of offensive pass interference calls...almost unheard of at this level.  

    NFL...we need the real deal.  

    Oracle2021: The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

    by Oracle2021 on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:46:35 PM PDT

  •  Laura, you are so right. The saftey of the players (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim Domenico, Larsstephens

    is the really serious issue. Although they make major money for a few years, they often time do not understand the risks they are taking to their long term health & life longevity. Plus Godell is an authoritian asshole, I believe he will get his ass handed to him by Jonathon Vilma. Godell picked on the wrong guy. Vilma is extremley bright. well connected, & was a vocal advocate in the NFLPU.

  •  If infractions are called (3+ / 0-)

    after the play, what difference does it make who the officials are vis a vis safety? Though my team, Seattle, benefitted from the weird timeout confusion, I don't see what difference officiating makes except when it comes to gambling and civic pride. Having said that, GO SOUNDERS!!!!!!

    Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?

    by WalterNeff on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 06:51:45 PM PDT

  •  Great article and I signed the petition, but . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Of the eight Steelers in that picture at least three of them (including three of the four closing on the tackle) are retired.  This photo was taken when the refs weren't scabs.  Something more recent would seem appropriate.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:03:03 PM PDT

  •  Yesterday these scabs (5+ / 0-)

    couldn't even keep track of the timeouts. And it was MORE THAN OBVIOUS that the networks were not going to discuss the scabs.

    Watching football yesterday SUCKED.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:14:05 PM PDT

  •  You won't see Ed Hochuli (et al) this season (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, kamarvt

    Probably not ever.  The NFL is out to prove one thing this season:
    1. NFL Football is popular enough that poorly officiated but legitimately competitive games have an insignificant effect on revenues.

    My guess is they'll do it.  Once they do they will have effectively broken the back of the referee's union and have shown other sports leagues how to do it.  When the current scabs say "Hey, we're the regular refs now, let's unionize!" the NFL will simply grab the next pool of replacements.  I'm just taking a wild guess that the market for people willing to earn six figures to referee a football game is fairly robust.  

    Unless the players say "This is unsafe, we're not playing" or a financially significant chunk of the audience says "This game sucks, we're not watching" the NFL owners will simply count some extra profit.  

    In a preseason diary I expressed my skepticism of a deal being reached before the season.  The longer the season continues the more skeptical I am that the old refs will ever officiate an NFL game again.

    War doesn't determine who is right, only who is left. Better be left so you can determine later if you were right.

    by Cendojr on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:28:08 PM PDT

    •  I don't agree with this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      at least where the NHL is concerned.  After the Koharski-Schoenfeld incident in the 88 Wales Conference finals when the NHL subbed the regular refs out, I don't think any team would ever get on the ice with sub-par refs.

  •  The NFL - 3+ hours of game time with an average (0+ / 0-)

    12 minutes of actual action. It's all beer and car and ED commercials with a little football thrown in.

  •  Hafta agree with most of the ref criticism... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, catfood

    on this thread--that damn Eagles-Browns game had more flags than the United Nations HQ (mostly for hinky shit that a more professional crew would have let slide to avoid gumming up the flow of the game) while missing several calls that directly related to player safety.  I saw Vick take at least one shot to the head that should've been a personal foul, and fouls that were called all day on the Eagles were mysteriously OK when committed by Cleveland.  (Can ya guess I'm a Philly phan?)  Still, 15 total penalties for the game seemed a bit excessive--one got the feeling that the replacements were attempting to preemptively keep the players from taking advantage of an inexperienced crew by calling a seriously strict game.  Of course the game was sloppy--8 INTs, dudes?--but I speak here mostly of the management of play and not its quality.

    Still and all, I think the main problem with using temp refs, even more than player safety, is the integrity of the game itself.  Since the days of Bert Bell the league's commissioners have promoted the notion, quaint as it may be, that the game is scrupulously honest and its referees unreachable.  If they now declare that any old zebra from the college game or the arena league or some two-bit Lingerie Football outfit can come in and ride herd on America's Favorite Pastime, then they are giving up that patina of rectitude simply to save a few thousand bucks a season.  That strikes me as a trade they'll ultimately come to regret.

    It ain't free speech if it takes cash money.

    by Uncle Igor on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 01:22:55 AM PDT

  •  Since we never complain about blown calls.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA

    ..when the regular refs are in the game, this is truly a tragedy.  Such a perfect pristine game ruined in one week.  To go from zero missed penalties to this.. oh, the humanity.

    I've got a whole bag full of /sarcasm's with your name on it.

    When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

    by Wayward Son on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 03:57:07 AM PDT

  •  You know what football needs? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    All these rules and regulations and penalties are just stifling innovation. If we just left the players alone to pursue their own rational self-interest, they'd find new and better ways to keep themselves safe and win games and enthrall fans!

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 03:58:16 AM PDT

  •  NFL referee is a part-time job. (0+ / 0-)

    NFL referees are well-off people who do it because it's fun to be part of the game.  While they're working they're workers, and they have a union, and by some minimal definition they deserve our sympathy.  But I'm dialing it down as low as it will go.  Ideally the NFL would train its own front office personnel to officiate as part of their job descriptions--it would get them out of the office, at least.

    Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 04:55:51 AM PDT

  •  Appalling. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, sethtriggs

    The number of anti-union comments on what's supposed to be a liberal, pro-worker site is just appalling.

    NFL officials are union workers, period.

    Where is it written that solidarity stops at six-figure salaries? Are Chicago teachers next because you think a $75K average salary is past the solidarity cutoff?

    I'm really disgusted.

    •  I agree with you, catfood. (0+ / 0-)

      The direction of this discussion is appalling.  And getting sidetracked by bad calls and a sloppy game is just what the owners want.  They are thrilled that fans are concentrating on peripheral issues.  They don't want substantive discussions of the refs' concerns.

      I will not watch any NFL football until the owners settle with the refs.  That hurts because I have been a Giants fan for 55 years.  And I think the players should refuse to play.  Hitting the owners in the pocketbook is the only thing we can do.  

      Remember, if we all think only of our own self-interest, we might as well be republicans.

      "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

      by Most Awesome Nana on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 12:44:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why (0+ / 0-)

    are the players crossing the picket line...

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