The referee crisis of 2012 has come and gone and all it took was the now infamous, “Fail Mary” to get the deal done. After three weeks of blown calls, no calls and reverse calls, a deal was finally reached Wednesday night between the NFL and officials union.
As the details emerge from which side got what, one thing is certain is that it should have never come to this. After having all off-season to negotiate, it took back-to-back embarrassments televised in primetime for the NFL to cave in.
And what did Roger Goodell and the owners gain by allowing this charade to last three weeks into the regular season? Not much, according to the initial details which have emerged from the deal.
There were wins for both sides, but most were expected. The officials’ union did receive a 4-percent wage increase, but the major issue hanging up the deal was the referees’ pension. With all the multi-millionaires on the field every Sunday, the NFL was battling over $3.3 million per year in pension payouts. That equates to a little over $100,000 per team for a $9 billion industry.
In the end, no one really cares about why the NFL sent replacement refs out there. After Monday night’s debacle, all the casual fan wanted to know was why the NFL, with all its perceived integrity, would employ an inferior group of individuals to officiate their favorite teams.
And with all do respect to these replacement officials, they were way out of their league. Most of these refs were pulled from Division III college, junior college or in one case — The Lingerie League.
I officiate collegiate soccer in my spare time, mostly traveling to places like Jacksonville State, UNA and Wallace State — the same or higher level of competition where the NFL found its replacement refs. While I feel confident in my ability to officiate the level of games I’m assigned, in no way am I prepared to do a center on an MLS game.
And no one should have expected these substitutes to be qualified either. The replacement refs could not keep up with the speed and complexity of the professional level, often losing control of the game.
The irony of it all is that these refs were hired to give the NFL leverage by showing that the game could go on without the normal officials. Over the last three weeks, they have done the exact opposite.
While the “normal” officials might not get every call right, they will demand more respect, manage the game better and bring integrity back to the “The Shield.” For some comparison, the seven officials refereeing last night’s Browns vs. Ravens game had a combined 70 years of NFL experience between them.
Three weeks into a bad experiment and less than 48 hours after one of the worst blown calls in league history, the NFL is officially back, referees and all.
- Local News 2
AHS girls swim team had eyes set on the goal
The Athens High girls swim team set a goal of finishing in the top three in this year’s AHSAA state Swimming & Diving Championships.
Athens girls swim team sets state record; finish second in AHSAA championships
The Athens High girls swim team set a state record and freshman Mallory Underwood was a double individual medal-winner in the AHSAA state swimming & diving championships Saturday.
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BREAKING: Tanner wins 2A football championship
Tanner won its second consecutive 2A state championship with a 21-13 victory over Washington County.
Tanner vs. Washington County: Tale of the tape
Predicting the outcome of high school football games during the regular season and in the first few rounds of the playoffs is sometimes a guessing a game, but can often be determined by just comparing common opponents.
Once a team reaches the state championship game, all bets are off. There are no common opponents and it’s difficult to know how the teams will fare.
Experience could be the difference for Tanner
Speaking with Tanner football players Wednesday afternoon, you wouldn’t know they were less than 48 hours away from a state championship game. Calm, cool and collected, each player answered questions with the confidence you would expect from a team playing in its third consecutive 2A title game.
Madison Academy wins 3A title 31-14 over Leeds
Kemoni Miller rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns to lead Madison Academy to a 31-14 victory over Leeds Thursday in the Class 3A championship game.
East Limestone reduced to one player in rare forfeit
No one in East Limestone’s Gymnasium had seen anything like it before.
Athens and East Limestone varsity girls teams played a back-and-forth game that you would expect from any rivalry, but what happened in the final minutes made even the Iron Bowl finish look ordinary.
East was reduced four players in the final minutes of the fourth quarter after having its fourth player foul out Tuesday. Playing four versus five, East erased a six-point deficit in the final two minutes to force overtime.
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- AHS girls swim team had eyes set on the goal