Imagine that you have decided to let the neighbor kid, who just graduated with a finance degree, manage your investment portfolio. He had never actually placed a trade before but assured you that he is way up in his own practice account, and you pulled the trigger. This wasn’t your first choice, but you just didn’t want to pay a 10-year veteran of the investment business the higher fees they were wanting. And now you just got your first statement, and it will take no less than the genius animators at Disney to draw your bugged eyes back into your skull.
Such is the replacement referee experiment that the National Football League is pathetically flirting with now. In a report released on Sept. 15 and reported on by NFL.com writer Albert Breer, the first statement is in and it doesn’t look good.
As any of us who haven’t been living under a bridge knows, the NFL is using replacement referees while their labor negotiations with the trained professionals drag on. The report details that not only are there glaring errors that we saw on screen week one, but there are also potential conflicts of interest.
According to the report, “The officiating department said in the memo that ‘effective immediately, officials will not work NFL team scrimmages during the week.’ They work training-camp practices on the NFL’s dime but do not work with teams during the regular season in an effort to prevent any sort of preferential treatment.”
It gets worse. ESPN”s Chris Mortensen posted Sunday morning that the NFL is replaced a replacement official “after ESPN notifies NFL that side judge assigned to Saints game has pictures online showing he’s a Saints fan.”
Surprising that this even had to be addressed. Like saying, “You know that team you got all chummy with during the off-season, or that you grew up loving, we’re going to let you ref their games, but try to be non-bias.”
Also in the note was emphasis on “no kidding” situations like:
» “When a defensive player crowds the (line of scrimmage) and jumps into the neutral zone at the snap, we expect that to be called.”
» “Throw flags in a quiet area. Do not throw flags at players.”
» “Get offensive tackles up on the (line of scrimmage). Do this early in the game. Let the head coaches help with this by telling them you have warned the player.”
» “For a Coach’s Challenge to be initiated, the red flag must be on the ground, and flag must be seen by one of the seven on-field officials before the snap.”
So you call the young lad down the street and he tells you that every week his goal is to get better. If you would have just been watching the market, you would have not been surprised by your statement. Just like those of us watching the games on Sunday didn’t need this report to know just how disjointed, uncomfortable and just plain bad these Shane Falcos were.
This isn’t a movie, this is the NFL. At what point are they going to realize that it isn’t worth the risk to the equity built into this league and pay the professionals to officiate the best league in sports?