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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

Column: Replacing refs is bad news

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sometimes people and organizations get so big they have no regard for anyone or anything except the bottom line. Roger Goodell and the NFL doesn't don't care how the game will be impacted as long as the league can get a better deal on referees.

This week the NFL declared they will play Week 1 with replacement officials and will continue to do so "as long as needed." Apparently the litigators at the league office really like lockouts and needed another one this summer. Just like the players lockout, the particulars aren't important to the public. It's about who's on the field.

After a close call, the players got the deal done in time. Now the NFL wants to eliminate referees who've been working games for 20 years with some guy found in a Starbucks a month ago. And the worst part is Goodell thinks the NFL audience is so stupid we won't know the difference.

You can say the old refs butchered calls and screwed teams every Sunday last year, and the year before, and that one Super Bowl, and on and on... But at least these guys have experience. Fans know these refs. Fans know Ed Hochuli and Jerome Boger and Mike Carey and other head officials we've seen for the last 10 years.

NFL ref is a very thankless job and I hope I don't even notice the refs. That's the only way I grade on a positive scale for referees and umpires -- I didn't even notice them and there was no impact on the game. But calls have to be made, popular or not, and even with review, an inexperienced NFL ref is going to miss some big ones.

I watched very little of the preseason this year, but in the bit I did see, one official said a team "refused" a penalty and got the hand signal for holding and personal foul mixed up. Innocent mistakes in a meainingless game, I'm sure, but this is a road I don't want to go down as an NFL fan.

Enough mistakes are made by the guys they had. With all the new rules for player safety being put in place, why does the league think some guys who weren't affiliated with the league before a few months ago are in a position to enforce these rules and ensure player safety? Once again, the NFL says player safety is its No. 1 priority but its actions are questionable.

Some of the hits being deemed illegal or dirty are very tough to call, but there's a guy who was watching on TV last year, like you and I, making the call in games that determine people's livelihoods.

I'd like to "believe" in the replacement refs like Goodell says he does, but I'm too realistic. Replacement anything is not desirable.

Just get the regular refs back and stop messing with a good thing.



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Zach Jevne
Real Sports Talk
Zach joined the Daily Reporter staff as sports editor in March 2011. He is originally from Decorah, Iowa. He played baseball at University of Northern Iowa and studied multimedia journalism at Simpson College.