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SBD/August 28, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Players, Coaches Not Satisfied With NFL Replacement Refs Performance Thus Far
Published August 28, 2012
GLASS HALF FULL: Anderson said that the NFL is “training the replacement officials and seeing improvement.” Anderson: “We went in not expecting that they’d be up to snuff with the regular officials. But we went in knowing that with training and repetitions and preseason games that when we get ready for the regular season, we felt they would be credible, and they’re proving week in and week out that they’re getting better. So we think that when we kick off a week and a half from now, we’ll have very credible crews across the board.” In Chicago, Sean Jensen writes, “Credible, though, isn’t the most encouraging word.” Bears CB Charles Tillman: "I know they’re learning on the fly, but at the same time, they’ve got to make the right call” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/28). In DC, Matt Brooks wrote, "The chorus of complaints from coaches and players continues to grow louder as the ongoing contractual dispute between the league and the NFL Referees Association drags on." Brooks: "Never have more players, coaches and fans longed to be re-united with Ed Hochuli's biceps and Mike Carey's straight-as-an-arrow first down signals" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/27).
WEIGHING IN: In Chicago, David Haugh writes, “Figure it out, fellas. Consider your legacy, Commish. Roger Goodell's $9 billion enterprise pinching pennies with NFL officials smacks of hypocrisy from a league that has identified player safety as its No. 1 priority.” Haugh: "For rules changes intended to protect players to work, they need to be enforced. To be enforced, they have to be identified. How can the NFL trust replacement refs to identify illegal hits they can't see?” Former NFLer Jerry Markbreit said of the replacements, “I know they're working their fannies off. But these people are not schooled in professional football. They don't know the rules. They can have supervisors on the sideline, they still can't officiate the game. The integrity of the game is everything” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/28). In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik writes Goodell is “paid a lot of money to run the NFL,” and he has to “find a way to get the real NFL officials on the job for the start of the season” (POST-GAZETTE.com, 8/27). YAHOO SPORTS’ Doug Farrar wrote the “simple fact [is] that the NFL's replacement officials are turning the nation's most popular and visible sport into a complete and utter joke” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/25). However, YAHOO SPORTS’ Jason Cole writes while the replacement refs are “currently a far cry from their counterparts, they will get better with experience.” Cole: “When was the last time you went to a game and said, ‘Boy, that officiating was great?’” The argument that NFL owners are “messing with the integrity of the game in their negotiation with the NFL Referees Association is laughable” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/28).