If you’re a fan of the NFL, you’ve heard about the referee lockout by now. Three weeks into the 2012 season has seen countless examples on how the replacement refs are making bad calls, some of which have determined the outcomes of games incorrectly. Not only that, going into week 3, many coaches had prepared for this week by letting their players know that they could get away with some more rough and tumble things both during the play and after the whistle had blown. Mike Pereira, former Vice President of Officiating for the NFL, said in on Fox Sports Radio this past Tuesday:
I saw a lack of control with the replacement officials. You have players and coaches that have lost respect for these officials and they know they’re getting away with more. You saw more rough and tumble stuff going on after a play is over. As this thing goes on, the coaches trust the officials less. When I watched Monday night’s game, I was sad because it’s not the NFL I know.
It’s not the NFL I know, either. What I have been seeing in the games I have watched is something akin to a backyard game where players blatantly break the rules knowing that there will be no repercussions. It is sad and it’s making a mockery of the game I love to watch.
At the end of last year’s season, the CBA for the NFLRA expired. The NFL and the RA have been in talks since last October in an effort to salvage an agreement. Obviously, one has not been met. What is it the refs want? Money, what else?
But here’s the thing – unlike referees in the MLB, NBA or NHL, the NFL refs are part timers. They hold down full-time jobs in the off season. When not on the field, these guys make money – and more of it – then when they officiate a game.
Let’s look at some numbers. The starting salary for a part-time, first year NFL official is $78,000. Compare that to the starting salary of a full-time MLB umpire at $120,000. NBA and NHL officials similarly make 6 figures.
You may be scratching your head. $78k for a part-time job seems pretty damn plush to me and it is. If you assume that a MLB umpire works every game, that’s 162 games. $120,000/162 games = $741 per game. If an NFL ref works every game, we can call it 20 games. $78,000/20 games = $3900 per game.
Wow. Keep those numbers in mind as I give you an example what this lockout is doing to football.
I don’t watch all the games. I can’t. I watch the ones that are broadcast in my market and all of the New England Patriots games. Last night, the Pats played the Ravens in Baltimore. I always enjoy watching these two teams duke it out against each other and always feel satisfied for having watched a good game no matter if the Pats win or lose, but last night I was totally dissatisfied.
The replacement refs did one of the worst jobs officiating a game that I have seen or even heard of so far. I have a copy of last night’s game summary sheet (all 18 pages of it) so I’m gonna drop some facts on you.
In last night’s game, there were a total of 24 penalties called for a whopping 218 penalty yards. Many of those calls should never have happened and there were things that happened that should have been penalized but weren’t – for both teams. Late in the fourth quarter, the Baltimore Bench was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct when head coach of the Ravens, Jim Harbaugh, was trying to get the attention of an official, any official, so he could call a time out. He didn’t do anything that I haven’t seen a head coach do before in all the years of watching football games. He waved his arms, made the universal time out sign with his hands, and shouted for someone to pay attention. Big deal! and So what? It was a bullshit call and it cost the Ravens 15 yards.
Minutes earlier, another bad call was made that may have cost the Patriots the game. Here’s the setup: The Ravens have the ball and they’re down by 9 points. It’s 2nd down with 14 yards to go. Joe Flacco lets loose with a pass down the right side to Torrey Smith. The pass is broken up by Devon McCourty for an incomplete pass. That’s what I saw. That’s what the commentators saw. That’s what the replay showed. However, McCourty was hit for Defensive Holding. The penalty? 5 yards for Baltimore and an automatic 1st down. It kept the Raven’s drive alive, which ultimately ended in a touchdown, bringing them within 2 points of the Pats. Chris Collinsworth, one of the game’s commentators, after seeing the replay in which McCourty never touched Smith, said in a very sarcastic manner, “Yep. Keep negotiating.”
If McCourty didn’t draw a flag (as he shouldn’t have), who’s to say whether Baltimore could have converted on 3rd and 14? I don’t know for sure. I do know that the odds are against it (despite what Flacco may think) and they might not have been able to get the touchdown they needed to bring the score within two, making it a very different game with a different outcome.
One call the replacement refs got right was on the game winning field goal by the Ravens, but it’s based on a dumbass rule. When a field goal attempt is made, there is an official standing directly underneath each of the uprights on the goal post. The ball is kicked, and the refs look straight up, watching to see if the ball goes between the uprights. Because the refs are looking straight up it’s assumed, by rule, the the uprights extend infinitely toward the sky. It is also a rule that if the ball passes the uprights higher than the tops of the uprights where the uprights would continue to the sky, the kick is considered good. Never mind that if the ball is a few feet lower it’ll hit the upright and potentially bounce back onto the field or somewhere else. It’s a rule and the refs called it right.
So, this game is but one example of the chaos being sown by the NFLRA lockout and it’s a game that’s going to get a lot of media attention this coming week, just watch and see. NFL Network is already debating it.
Remember the numbers I talked about earlier? Do you think this chaos is worth the regular refs getting paid more when they are already the highest paid officials per game across the major sports organizations?
…and then this happened on Monday night:
I thought things were bad, but this, this is just ridiculous.
NFL and refs, come to a decision soon. Somebody’s got to give. Take a look at the Twittersphere, guys. The players don’t want to play in this atmosphere anymore.