August 17, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; NFL replacement officials stand before kickoff of a preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
A little tardy on this news I know, however it's worth posting up late than never getting it done.
NFL Executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson confirmed in a memo to all 32 NFL teams that replacement officials will take the field in week one, as the regular officials remain locked out. The memo specifies:
In light of the current state of negotiations, we will have replacement crews on the field when the regular season begins. The replacements have undergone extensive training and evaluation, and have shown steady improvement during the preseason. We will continue the training with each crew and they will work as much of the regular season as necessary. The replacement officials are dedicated and enthusiastic, have worked very hard to improve, and have persevered despite the attacks on their qualifications and performance. We are all grateful for their service to the NFL.
As part of our effort to support the replacement officials, we will employ procedures similar to those in effect in the postseason. We will have an officiating supervisor from our staff in the replay booth at each game whose job will be to help ensure correct penalty enforcement, administration of rules not involving fouls, operation of the game and play clocks, and game administration. The supervisor will be able to communicate directly with the alternate official on the sidelines. The supervisor will not be involved in either the instant replay system or any judgment made by the officials on the field. As in all games, the final decision will be made by the referee on the field and no decision will be revisited or changed once the ball has been snapped for the next play.
I don't like to jump on an already tricky situation, however I think it is imperative to the integrity of the game that a deal gets done with the regular officials. In pre-season week four we had officials make blown calls left right and centre. In the New York Giants/New England Patriots game, I can only explain what happened as a comedy sketch. We had flags we had whistles, we had a mumbling officiating crew who changes their mind on one call four or five times. We had them getting the teams wrong, we had them experience problems getting the clock moving.
When I'm watching a football game, I want to ensure that it is decided based on talent and the football being played on the field. With these replacement crews, I am not confident that this is going to happen. All I'm hoping for is a quick resolution and that these replacement officiating crews are not out there come Christmas.