One of the things the NFL has to be happy about is the state of their officiating. Unlike the archaic status of baseball umpiring or the conspiratorial nature of basketball officiating, football's erroneous mistakes appear to get washed over with regards to time.
However, there does appear to be a huge hitch going into this regular season. The Associated Press filed this report.
The NFL Referees Association filed an unfair labor practice charge against the league with the National Labor Relations Board.
The NFL twice sent letters to officials that "contained inaccurate, false and incomplete information" after talks broke down this month, the complaint alleges. The charge, filed Tuesday, says the league violated the National Labor Relations Act by bypassing the NFLRA and trying to "undermine" support among members.
Clearly it's not a good thing for anyone if the NFL officials have to go to replacements. NFL officials are some of the best-paid and some of the most well-respected in the business. It's important for the league to have good refs or otherwise the outcomes of games could be drastically altered based on poor calls.
There's also the issue of relative safety. More from Sports Illustrated on this concerning issue regarding relative safety to the athletes.
Now, imagine trying to learn on the fly at the highest level of competition. While the NFL contends that its backups “are professionals who officiate games at a high level and have backgrounds similar to current NFL officials,” there’s no league out there that can fully prepare an official for the big-league jump.
It’s different when new officials break into the league, because they’re teamed with experienced and veteran crews. Throwing an entire team of rookies into the fire is a different thing entirely.
Talk about replacement officials with Cardinals fans over at Revenge of the Birds.
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