The NFL will have a real problem on its hands September 5, 2012 if it cannot reach a deal with its locked out officials.
The NFL has proceeded with replacement officials throughout the preseason and it has been awful.
While players and coaches have not said much publicly, one can tell by the answers to the questions about the officiating this preseason that they are not happy with this situation.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has preached safety and changed rules in the past few seasons has to be concerned with these officials even though he publicly backs them.
It is hard to imagine a man whose sole mission since taking the position of commissioner has been to clean up the game and make it safer is going to allow this issue to continue much further.
When it comes to safety many rules have been changed since the 2010 NFL season. The officials that are currently locked out are far from perfect, but they have been around for these rule changes and in some cases have helped implement these rules.
There is no way these replacement officials are as in tune to these new rules or know the kind of hits the commissioner is deeming illegal or excessive. The safety issue aside, these officials just do not seem to know the rules.
For example, last Friday night in the Bears/Giants preseason game there was a pass interference penalty against the Bears just at the end of the first quarter.
Rather then ask Giants head coach Tom Coughlin if he would like an untimed down, the officials just had the Giants run one untimed play. The rules specifically state that it is the victimized team's choice whether to take the untimed down or not. The officials simply had the play run even though Coughlin wanted to just end the quarter and take the penalty yards to start the second quarter.
The worst instance of these replacements blunders had to be in the second week of the preseason.
In the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Atlanta Falcons game, there was a penalty called against Atlanta. However, when the official went to announce the penalty he said the penalty was called against Arizona. This has lead to much ridicule of the particular official who seemingly had no idea even where he was at.
These replacement officials have come from all over. Some officials are retired, some have come from division II and III college football, some have come from the Arena Football League, and, worst of all, some have come from the Lingerie Football League.
The thing all have in common is they have never officiated an NFL game prior to this preseason. How can a multi-billion dollar organization such as the NFL have such an inferior group officiating these games? This is unacceptable and has been quite evident throughout the preseason.
Though this is a part-time job for most of the regular officials, they truly are the world's best at what they are doing.
It is being reported that a mere $100,000 per team towards the officials could get this labor strife settled. For a multi-billion dollar a year industry, this is just a drop in the bucket to keep a great product moving like a well-oiled machine.
All 32 franchises can't be happy about what they are seeing on the field right now ether. They are spending millions upon millions of dollars on the talent that is stepping onto the field each Sunday, don't they want the best possible officials on the field when it comes to the millions of dollars in talent?
Though the owners have to tow the company line when it comes to these officials, they must be very concerned at what has been a joke of officiating to this point in the preseason.
September 5th is only 8 days away (as of this writing), so the clock is ticking for the NFL and the regular officials. Fans are becoming increasingly concerned as each week of the preseason has passed with replacement officials calling these games.
If the NFL and the regular officials cannot come to an agreement in time for the regular season it could be disastrous. Can you imagine if your team misses the playoffs because of a missed call costing your team a crucial early season game? This could be exactly what happens if the replacement officials continue to call games in the regular season.
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