The NFL officials have generally come under very little scrutiny in a world where almost every call is broken down and dissected in terms of overall accuracy and correctness.
Which is why the possibility of replacement officials is too frightening to conjecture. The Associated Press filed this latest report that has the current NFL officials breaking down totally in their negotiations with the league.
Negotiations between the NFL and the referees ended June 3 after two mediation attempts that followed nine bargaining sessions since October. The league has said it would start hiring and training replacement officials.
"We have urged the Board to investigate this matter quickly and to seek appropriate remedies against the NFL's unlawful bargaining practices," Mike Arnold, the NFLRA's lead negotiator, said in a release Thursday.
There are so many problems with replacement officials, most notably that they aren't as good as regular referees. But there are also larger concerns, most notably how the safety of the players might be compromised. Sports Illustrated has more.
The biggest complaint you could file against the replacement official move comes in terms of how it relates to the NFL’s highly publicized stance on player safety. Be it concussion protocols or head-to-head contact penalties or the smackdown the Saints received over their bounty scandal, the league has gone out of its way to create the image that it’s protecting its players.
On top of asking a new set of officials to learn the NFL rulebook and enforce it on the field, the league will also require those newcomers to keep its players safe. Remember, as of November 2011, officials are responsible for monitoring players for concussions, on top of their every-down duties.
All it would take is one serious injury resulting from an oversight by a replacement official to send the NFLPA up in arms.
The Seahawks know a thing or two about bad officiating in the biggest moments, but they probably aren't too excited at the prospect of an increased probability of bad calls deciding their fate in every football game every week.
Talk about the plight of the NFL referees association with Seahawks fans at Field Gulls.