SBD/September 13, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Goodell: Replacement Officials Did "Credible Job" In Week 1 Role

Goodell said that there are no current negotiations with the NFLRA
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday said that the league’s replacement officials “did ‘a very credible job’ during the season’s opening weekend of games and the league can continue to use them as long as needed,” according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Goodell, speaking after a Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and military about brain injuries, said that there are “no current negotiations with the NFL Referees Association.” He added that he “believes the league can continue to use the replacements until a deal is reached with the referees.” Goodell: “We believe we can. They did a very credible job and they’re only going to get better” (WASHINGTON POST, 9/13). He added the performance by the replacements will not affect the negotiations because “there aren’t any negotiations going on." Goodell: "We would like to negotiate, we’d like to get an agreement but it has to be for the long-term good of officiating” (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 9/12).

TACTICS COULD BACKFIRE ON REFS: CBSSPORTS.com’s Jason La Canfora wrote the NFL’s “resolve to hold a strong line in its negotiations with its on-field officials should not be understated.” This “high-stakes game of chicken could end up seriously backfiring” on the officials. The officials are “going up against a monster in the NFL, a lawyered-up, all-powerful institution that has no real competition and generations of experience waging these labor wars.” With each week that goes by, those who are “waxing nostalgic about the good 'ol days of Ed Hochuli's biceps, become fewer and fewer.” The replacements “figure only to get more comfortable turning on their mics and more comfortable calling games as the weeks mount.” The reality is “the worst might already be behind them” (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/12). Showtime’s Cris Collinsworth said the NFL could "crush” the regular officials and “run those guys out of the league, so the officials are going to have to come back at some point and eat a little humble pie.” Collinsworth: “It’s okay to win -- and the NFL is going to win -- but you don’t want to crush these guys.” Showtime’s Bill Cowher said of the regular officials, “In the National Football League, I realize this: Everybody is replaceable, so they better be very careful not to play their hand (too long)” (“Inside the NFL,” Showtime, 9/12).

GROUNDSWELL NEEDED: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has been among the players critical of the replacement refs, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio siad, “It would take a major groundswell of high-profiled players before it would even register." Florio: "That doesn’t even change the fact that when fans settle in on their couches and they grab their favorite beverage and bowl of popcorn, the game looks the same. Until the game looks different, the fans aren’t going to take a side on this one” (“Pro Football Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 9/12).
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