That's right. This burgeoning $9 billion enterprise is entrusting the integrity of it's on field product to a group of scabs.
Unbelievable. The referee for tonight's Giants-Patriots game is Don King. Who's the back judge - Bob Arum? We joke, but the stakes in the NFL are greater than ever. Tons of variables are riding on each game - including player safety , the league's most coveted directive. Nothing good can come of this. A financial settlement between the league and it's officials is almost mandatory at this point. The money spent will be dwarfed by the money lost should something go awry....
Las Vegas is also freaking out. Who in their right mind is going to bet on an event that could be decided by an inept or unqualified official? Not I. Some of these fill-ins have never officiated above the high school level. Their competence will constantly be questioned. Their incompetence and confusion has been thus far embarrassing.
From Sam Borden of The Times:
In one National Football League preseason game, the referee announced a penalty with his back to the television camera. In another, an official twice referred to a team from Atlanta as Arizona. That referee, whose previous experience included a stint in the Lingerie Football League, also mixed up which team had won the coin toss.....In one game, officials ruled that a punt had landed in the end zone when it was nearly at the 5-yard line. In another, an official identified a player returning a kick as being guilty of holding, which is impossible.What is holding up the settlement? Money, what else? The officials are not full-time employees, yet want the league to match pension contributions, a fading practice these days especially in private industry. In it's place, a 401k proposal is on the table. Salary increases are also being discussed.
From Brian Frederick of sportsfans.org:
The league has offered what it says amounts to a 5 to 11 percent increase in salaries while the National Football League Referees Association says that increase would effectively be only 2.8%.How long will this go on is anyone's guess. All it might take is a controversial call to cost Jerry Jones, Tom Coughlin or Bill Belichick a ballgame. Then it will end, fast.
It is true that NFL officials are paid much less than their counterparts in other sports. After five years, an NFL official makes $42,000. Meanwhile, a fifth-year MLB official makes $141,000 and a fifth-year NBA official makes $128,000.