NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a comment concerning the replacement referees officiating the regular season in the NFL by saying, “We think they’ll do a very credible job.” From what many have seen, that statement is the exact opposite of credible.
Of course Goodell’s intention is to attempt to ease the anxiety of fans that everything is fine, much like in the lockout last year. Goodell mirrors some other comments he made last year about the players. Concerning striking a deal with the regular referees he said,
“We’re anxious to get a deal done, but it has to get done that it’s going to help us for the long-term. It’s not a short-term issue.”
Goodell also said that there is almost a point of no return on reaching a deal with the referees since the regular season is almost here and it might take too much time for the officiating crews to get acclimated back into the swing of things.
However the NFLRA lead negotiator Mike Arnold said that, “We’re ready to go.” Much like the players in the offseason, referees hold “mini-camps” of their own reviewing film of the past season, working on issues that came up with questionable calls, and participating in game drills.
The replacement referees have been heavily criticized and scrutinized during this preseason. While some crews are doing well, most seem to falter with over-the-top questionable calls, taking an obscene amount of time when reviewing, and having a hard time grasping the concept or language of calls.
In last night’s Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans game, the referees called a holding penalty on the Cardinals offense, while also citing the Titans for having twelve men on defense. In reality, the Titans penalty should have been a pre-snap call thereby negating the holding penalty on the Cardinals. However, the penalty still stood against the Cardinals.
The list goes on with pass interference being called on the secondary when they never touched the receiver and an incomplete pass is called when a safety slams into a receiver right in front of an official before the ball even reaches him. Credible? It doesn’t look like it.
When asked about his opinion on the job the replacement referees are doing Arnold simply said it’s not their job to judge them but that “their performance speaks for itself.”