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NFL Replacement Officials: How Many Games Do the Rent-a-Refs Have Left?

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IIDecember 26, 2016

NFL Replacement Officials: How Many Games Do the Rent-a-Refs Have Left?

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    One more week with these rent-a-refs will be one week too many; however, the replacements don't appear to be going anywhere just yet.

    As ESPN's Adam Shefter Reports in this video, the locked-out officials could be back on the field by Week 5 at the earliest.

    If nothing else, the temporary officials have brought a lot of clarity to how significant the regular refs are to this great game.

    Regretfully, the NFL appears to be the last to acknowledge this.

    Coaches and players have endured these amateur-hour whistle-blowers for long enough, and their gripes are finally being heard.

    Let's take an introspective look into why the countdown is on for these temporary refs. 

Temporary Officials Are Week-to-Week

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    As these rent-a-refs continue to tear away the integrity of the NFL with their dismal officiating, next Sunday could be their final games.

    You can take that to the bank.

    In fact, the NFL pulled in $9.3 billion in revenues last year. The squabble over meeting the locked-out referees' financial demands is unconscionable.

    At what risk is it worth parading these replacement refs out there?

    Next to the word hypocrite in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Roger Goodell.

    The commissioner has been cavalierly handing out fines and suspensions to players that exhibit violent behavior, but who does he think controls the chaos?

    Here's a hint: They wear black-and-white uniforms, and they're currently on strike.

    Expect both sides to compromise within days because player safety and coaches' sanity are spiraling out of control as long as the rental officials remain in charge.

    While it's encouraging to hear that the NFL and NFL Referees Association are talking, these talks should have started and finished months ago.

    Lockout over by Week 5? Let's hope that these people impersonating referees only have one game left to officiate.

Keeping Up

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    Their inability to keep up with the speed of the game has fittingly expedited discussions between the NFL and NFLRA to bring this circus to an end.

    The constant stopping of play and indecisive calls makes the games hard to watch. The refs' failure to keep pace is questioning the sport's legitimacy and jeopardizing player safety.

    The silver lining to these temporary officials' incapacity to adapt to the speed of the NFL is that the regular referees should be back in time for Week 5 as Adam Shefter alluded to.

    If the temporary refs remain and the lockout isn't resolved in the next few days, the NFL will surely start to resemble the colossal failure that was the XFL.

No Control

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    Referee blunders like what happened to Kevin Ogletree on Sunday should be all the evidence the NFL needs to end the stalemate with the locked-out officials.

    The NFL is embarrassing itself.

    Besides making brain-dead mistakes like throwing a hat at a receiver's feet while he's en-route, these refs clearly don't have the respect of the players.

    You know it's bad when the players are complaining because the referees aren't controlling the game. Usually, they're the ones who try and get one over on the officiating crews.

    As refs continue to lose control and respect of players and coaches, everyone is praying that Week 4 is the last time we see replacement referees.

The NFLPA Letter to the NFL

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    Next Sunday should be the last time you see these infamous rent-a-refs.

    Executive director Tim Mills of the NFLRA sent an open letter detailing the union's disappointment in the NFL allowing this lockout to drag on.

    This letter seems to have shed some light on how childish this lockout has been; hopefully, it will inspire a deal to get done so the madness can stop.

     

    Via NBC Sports:

    The 2012 season of the National Football League (NFL), the most popular sport in America, is under way. The NFL consists of an ideal in which the best athletes compete against each other in packed stadiums, while millions of viewers watch on television. The television networks and their sponsors advertise products to this audience that remains captivated by the raw power and speed of the athletes on the field.

    Maintaining the integrity and competitive balance of each game within a three-hour time frame is the job of 121 highly skilled professional officials.

    At least that is how the game is supposed to work. And in general, it did, until this season, when the League locked out the very professionals responsible for working quietly, and behind the scenes, to keep the game pure, the athlete’s safe, and the competition fair.

    These professional game officials – noted until this season by the NFL as being “the best in sports,” have spent years honing their skills, just like the athletes starring on the field. They have always taken great pride in their behind-the-scenes role of ensuring that each game is played fairly and within the rules.

    What are the issues that have led to the current distraction of this lockout, during which on-field officiating has pulled our focus away from the game and the outstanding athletes? The issues go far beyond what the NFL has claimed to be the sticking points in our negotiations – salary and benefits. At issue is the very continuation of the time-honored NFL tradition of doing what is right and fair.

    Both the League and the NFLRA have negotiated many prior collective bargaining agreements. Only one previous situation resulted in a two-week lockout during the 2001 season. So what is different this time around? Certainly, not lost revenues potential. The League is enjoying unequaled popularity and its growing annual revenues exceed $9 billion per year.

    The two sides have narrowed the gap on overall compensation. It is a gap that could be closed with some minor concessions by both sides. However, the parties remain far apart on another key issue, and that issue is the retirement benefit for officials.

    Every current NFL official was hired by the NFL with the promise of a defined-benefit pension package. All of these officials and their families have made important life-planning decisions based on this benefit promise. The NFL now wants to break the promise by eliminating that benefit; instead, turning to an inferior defined-contribution plan. I call that plan inferior because the League’s offer would reduce their funding obligation for the plan by some 60%, and at the same time transfer long-term investment risk to the individuals (each official).

    Why does the League want to do this? Is the League in financial distress? Does the League see its financial future as bleak? Not hardly. The League states that it desires to eliminate the defined contribution plan because other American businesses are moving away from such plans to a defined- contribution type plan. However, 18 of the League’s member clubs continue to retain their defined-benefit plans for their employees.

    The NFLRA has remained willing to compromise in order to achieve a workable new contract. We made a substantial concession in our effort to resolve our differences with the League when we proposed to “grandfather” the defined-benefit pension plan. Under the proposed grandfather plan, the defined-benefit plan would continue only for current officials, and new-hires would come into the League under a defined-contribution pension plan. Is this not a fair and reasonable compromise?

    Earlier this year larger employers such as Con Edison, Caterpillar and Lockheed Martin all resolved their defined-benefit pension issue by agreeing to the grandfather compromise for their existing employees. Federal mediators in the current NFL-NFLRA dispute have indicated that the “grandfather” compromise resolves 90% of all such pension disputes. Yet, the NFL has categorically rejected our grandfather proposal.

    The NFL requires that its officials impartially and fairly enforce the rules of professional football to ensure fair competition on the field. All the NFLRA asks is for the NFL to provide us the same type of fair treatment.

    The goal for both sides must be to get back to the bargaining table immediately. We need to reach a fair and equitable agreement before damage is done to the integrity of the game we all love.

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