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Thread: Andrew Brandt: Will MNF outcome break stalemate?

  1. #1

    Andrew Brandt: Will MNF outcome break stalemate?

    I felt this deserved it’s own thread since it explains all the issues (not just last night's game/calls) regarding the Referee situation. Brandt is very good!

    We still may not have reached the tipping point in NFL's impasse with officials

    By Andrew Brandt | ESPN.com


    Yes, it happened. Because of the ineptitude of replacement officials, the outcome of an NFL game was changed. The country watched in disbelief as a replacement referee gave the Seahawks a game-winning touchdown on what was a game-sealing interception by the Packers. What many had feared about the use of inexperienced replacements had surfaced. And the tipping point that will bring the real referees back to the field has come -- or has it?

    Despite Monday night's debacle, we may be no closer to a deal with the real referees. Two different problems operating on parallel tracks -- the ineptness of the replacements and the stalled negotiation with the real referees -- have not yet intersected in a meaningful way. Although it is logical to believe the negotiation will dramatically change after Monday night, that is to focus on the problem, not the solution.

    The replacements, however unprepared, are just pawns in a negotiation, temporary placeholders while we wait for the NFL and the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) to find common ground.


    Commissioner's power

    Roger Goodell, for better or worse, is the face of the NFL. In dealing with players on the collective bargaining agreement and the bounty suspensions, and now with the referees, he has taken withering criticism. He rightfully does not engage, stoically defending his position with bland platitudes about protecting the integrity and "best interests" of the game.


    Although "best interests" allows for great latitude, we would like to believe it means the best interests of owners, players and fans. However, the commissioner is selected and paid by the owners; there is the natural tension between "best interests of the game" and "best interests of the owners." In the case of the NFLRA negotiation and the spectacle of the replacement referees, it appears the latter has priority.

    Although Goodell is taking the brunt of criticism for perceived indifference to safety and the integrity of the game at the expense of a business negotiation, these decisions are probably being made by his bosses -- the owners -- not him.

    As the dispute escalated this summer, I asked an NFL owner for his take on the disagreement. He remarked, with some disdain, "They think we can't play without them." That sentiment, shared by other owners, is telling.

    As much as these owners like to win on the field, they enjoy winning off it just as much. As with the player negotiation a year ago, the owners don't "need" a different kind of deal; they simply "want" a better deal. They believe they can extract concessions because they have the leverage to do so.

    With the players, it was about fixing costs. With the referees, it is about changing the culture, denying entitlement and exerting more control. Let's briefly examine the issues holding up a deal as well as possible solutions.


    The money

    The popular view about the gap here -- about $25-30 million over six or seven years -- is that a $9 billion business can easily spare a few million to resolve this. Another view is that the NFLRA is balking at increases, albeit modest, on salaries already averaging $150,000 for part-time employees. As always, there are two sides to every story.


    Proposed solution: The NFL moves toward the requested NFLRA increases in pay, but layers them evenly throughout the six or seven years of the deal.


    The pension

    The NFL owners perceive the pension -- negotiated by the officials as part of the now-expired 2006 CBA -- as an "entitlement" ripe for change. The NFL points out that many full-time league and team employees do not receive pensions, so why should part-time referees? Owners want to strip the NFLRA of this entitlement: that was then, this is now.


    A pension puts the risk on the employer. The NFL's proposed defined contribution plan puts the risk on the employee. This continues to be the blood issue of this negotiation.


    Proposed solution: The NFL raises its defined contribution plan (presently between $16,000 and $23,000 a year) and allows for pensions to full-time officials and those without a second income. The NFLRA relents on requesting further pensions.


    Full-time officials

    The NFL wants seven full-time officials -- one at each officiating position -- to improve the overall quality of the group. Potentially, the number of full-timers could grow.


    The NFLRA knows that to be full-time, officials would have to leave their other (full-time) jobs and lose income. The NFL is not going to pay them an amount equal to their present sum of two incomes, nor will it pay what MLB or NBA full-time referees make.


    Again, the NFL is trying to make a change in the culture.

    Proposed solution: The NFL caps the number of full-time officials and provides year-round physical training and rules seminars throughout the offseason to improve the quality and fitness of its officials group.


    Extra crews

    The NFL's offer to have three additional crews -- 21 officials -- on "standby" has not been warmly received by the NFLRA. Officials see them as built-in replacement referees, ready to substitute for underperforming first-string referees. The NFL says that it is just trying to deepen its bench and add a layer of accountability.


    Proposed solution: The NFL provides the NFLRA extensive and clear criteria for being "sent down." The NFLRA agrees to more accountability in the name of improving the overall level of the product.

    Where the players stand

    Despite criticisms, profanity-laced tweets and statements from the NFLPA, the players have made no meaningful gestures of support.

    They cannot strike and would not even if they could. Article 47, Section 6 of the CBA allows the NFLPA to strike only if "union security" is threatened -- the NFLPA's status as a union, not the health and safety of the players. And although federal law does allow for employees to strike over "abnormally dangerous work conditions," that is a stretch in this scenario.


    In hindsight, perhaps during last year's CBA negotiations, while the NFL was providing concessions on health and safety -- that was good business for them -- the NFLPA could have demanded that games not be officiated by replacement referees during the term of their agreement. Lesson learned for the next CBA.


    What could the players do for the NFLRA? They could offer financial support, refuse to play in games officiated by these replacements (risking fines and suspensions), or file negligence actions against the league.

    Thousands of negligence lawsuits are now circling the NFL regarding concussions. It will be interesting to see if head injuries suffered during these games officiated by replacements generate a new wave of future allegations against the league.


    What now?


    We have reached the intersection of "best interests of the game" and "best interests of the owners."


    NFL owners appear to regard a disputed win, negative media reports and player/coach frustration as acceptable collateral damage to achieve a change in the way the referees operate. They fully expect the NFLRA to make a deal much closer to their terms than the NFLRA's. While the owners wait for that to happen, we endure the much-maligned pawns of their strategy: the replacements.


    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/84...-stalemate-nfl

  2. #2
    New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said in a statement that he plans to introduce legislation prohibiting the playing of professional sporting events with replacement officials.

    "This past weekend in the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety," said Sweeney.

    "We wouldn't allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees. Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?"

  3. #3
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    The refs have the leverage now.

  4. #4
    I'll be honest, i think Fans have it backwards. The Owners are being responsible busienss owners, and teh Refs, good as they are, are asking for vastly more than is appropriate for the VERY part-time work they do.

    The NFL will lose, as management almost always loses to labor, but that doesn't mean Joe ToBit Ref deserves a $150,000 Salary and a bagful of bennies for working 16 days a year.

    ****, where do I sign up for THAT kind of job?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by batman10023 View Post
    New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said in a statement that he plans to introduce legislation prohibiting the playing of professional sporting events with replacement officials.

    "This past weekend in the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety," said Sweeney.

    "We wouldn't allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees. Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?"
    Totally ridiculous

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post

    The NFL will lose, as management almost always loses to labor[/SIZE]
    about as wrong as a statement can be.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/dear-...ts-2012-6?op=1

    after adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings have remained flat for 50 years.

    the chart on corporate profits over the past 50 years tells a different story.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by petejet View Post
    The refs have the leverage now.
    They do?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    I'll be honest, i think Fans have it backwards. The Owners are being responsible busienss owners, and teh Refs, good as they are, are asking for vastly more than is appropriate for the VERY part-time work they do.

    The NFL will lose, as management almost always loses to labor, but that doesn't mean Joe ToBit Ref deserves a $150,000 Salary and a bagful of bennies for working 16 days a year.

    ****, where do I sign up for THAT kind of job?
    Then I guess the players themselves, television actors, et al are vastly overpaid, as they work relatively few hours as compared to their income.

    As we can clearly see now, the refs are an integral part of the product on the field. And the guys we had are vastly superior to what we have now. I'm not even talking about last night's blown call. You see 4-5 blown PI / Roughing /possession calls every game. The game moves in fits and starts. And the spotting of the ball is atrocious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetfan16 View Post
    They do?
    They don't? After this weekend and last night its painfully obvious the real refs have to come back immediately. The media is starting to rip into Goodell and the owners - they locked the refs out and now look like the bad guys.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by petejet View Post
    They don't? After this weekend and last night its painfully obvious the real refs have to come back immediately. The media is starting to rip into Goodell and the owners - they locked the refs out and now look like the bad guys.
    The NFL doesn't care about what their fans think of them. People are still tuning in to watch the games as well as attend them, and as long as that's happening (which ain't changing any time soon), the NFL has all the power to continue the lockout. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if tv ratings go up this week as people that maybe wouldn't watch the NFL might start just to see how badly the replacements are going to screw up. The lockout isn't going anywhere unless the officials cave in to the NFL's demands (not that they should until they get a deal that is actually satisfactory).
    Last edited by Jetfan16; 09-25-2012 at 02:26 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by petejet View Post
    They don't? After this weekend and last night its painfully obvious the real refs have to come back immediately. The media is starting to rip into Goodell and the owners - they locked the refs out and now look like the bad guys.
    Will you stop watching?

  12. #12
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    First of all the NFL will never negotiate. They will not set a precedence of caving to pressure, like baseball. The good part is that this will eventually end with better overall officiating. When the officials see that this kind of thing still cannot make the NFL waver they will have to realize that they just don't have a chance in hell. This will also show everyone else that they cannot leverage the NFL and may as well not try.

    This is like my wife giving in with the kids. She says she picks her battles, but she is really causing the battles by giving in. When I was a kid I never pleaded and screamed because it never once worked. Same as the government not negotiating with kidnappers.

    Now the NFL just supported the call. How's that for balls? The refs made the proper call

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    I'll be honest, i think Fans have it backwards. The Owners are being responsible busienss owners, and teh Refs, good as they are, are asking for vastly more than is appropriate for the VERY part-time work they do.

    The NFL will lose, as management almost always loses to labor, but that doesn't mean Joe ToBit Ref deserves a $150,000 Salary and a bagful of bennies for working 16 days a year.

    ****, where do I sign up for THAT kind of job?
    I think it's become very apparent that not just anyone can become an NFL referee. All the replacements are refs by trade, and they're still an enormous step down from the regulars.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by isired View Post
    Then I guess the players themselves, television actors, et al are vastly overpaid, as they work relatively few hours as compared to their income.

    As we can clearly see now, the refs are an integral part of the product on the field. And the guys we had are vastly superior to what we have now. I'm not even talking about last night's blown call. You see 4-5 blown PI / Roughing /possession calls every game. The game moves in fits and starts. And the spotting of the ball is atrocious.
    Yes, but is that because of a unique skill-set or simply being in the position longer.

    If, for arguments sake, they don't settle the suit all year by next year these refs (and others they recruit) will be vastly better than they are right now.

  15. #15
    People are missing the point. It's not about people watching on TV or going to games.


    If the public feels that the results of the games are not legitimate, they're not going to bet as much money on the games. A lot of people are going to be very upset about that.

    Then there's the whole "protect the shield," business. If you're a professional sports league, the integrity of the outcomes of your games is everything. The hardcore fans will always complain about the officiating, but this is all over the regular news. The public at large cannot be made to feel that one team can outplay the other on the field, but lose the game because of incompetent officiating.

    Lastly, have you seen the amount of after-the-whistle scuffling going on through the first 3 weeks? We're a week or two away from an all out brawl in one of these games. When do the Steelers and Ravens play? The coaches and players have ZERO respect for these replacements.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetfan16 View Post
    The NFL doesn't care about what their fans think of them. People are still tuning in to watch the games as well as attend them, and as long as that's happening (which ain't changing any time soon), the NFL has all the power to continue the lockout.
    Wait until the NY lawyer/PSL-holder starts a class action suit for "reduction of services" :p

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by isired View Post
    Wait until the NY lawyer/PSL-holder starts a class action suit for "reduction of services" :p
    Kind of like that class action suit that was filed by Jets fans against the Patriots for cheating all of those years? How'd that one work out?

  18. #18
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    MNF game is going to change the way that refs whether regular or replacement will be monitored. As last night's game will be changing things for all ages.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by isired View Post
    Then I guess the players themselves, television actors, et al are vastly overpaid, as they work relatively few hours as compared to their income.
    Nope, they're the talent. They're worth what the Owners are willing to pay, within the Salary Cap.

    As we can clearly see now, the refs are an integral part of the product on the field.
    Nope. The old Refs everyone is now ungering for was almost as laughably bad in making calls week to week. People just forget that now.

    Where the new Refs are weak is that the players, the talent, is taking advantage of their lack of experience, and choosing to break and bend every rule.

    The players are 100% at fault. They are choosing to break the rules en masse, fight and scuffle en masse, and generally cheat the **** out of the game. The Refs, unsuprisingly, can't keep up.....but neither could the old ones if the players acted, en masse, as they are right now.

    And the guys we had are vastly superior to what we have now.
    More experinced, yes, clearly. Better.......not so much. Funny how many bad calls get forgotten when it suits an argument.

    Give the scabs 6 weeks, they'll be just as good as the old crews tbh.

    I'm not even talking about last night's blown call. You see 4-5 blown PI / Roughing /possession calls every game.
    Yup, we NEVER had that before.



    The game moves in fits and starts.
    Inexperience, and the most legtimate criticism. They unfamiliar with the results of penalties and how to apply them.

    And the spotting of the ball is atrocious.

    Nope, never had that before either, amirite? Pay no mind to the Vinny T. rushing TD that ended 8 yards before the goalline.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetfan16 View Post
    Kind of like that class action suit that was filed by Jets fans against the Patriots for cheating all of those years? How'd that one work out?
    Still being adjudicated, last I heard. Do you have news?

    BTW, I was kidding in my initial post. I didn't forget the , did I?

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