August 15, 2012

An Entirely Different Lockout Threatens to Ruin the 2012 NFL Season

By - Shayne Carnahan

This time last year, fans were still breathing a sigh of relief that a new CBA had been agreed upon and that the NFL season had been saved from a lockout.

Now, the league is having a difficult time reaching another agreement.

The NFL and its Referees Association have yet to reach a new deal, which has led to replacement officials being used during the preseason.

Photo by: Doug Pensinger
According to an article by Mike Freeman on, the league is already preparing for the response to its use of replacements officials. The article contains passages from a memo that the league recently sent to teams, in which it tells them not to talk about the referee lockout.

So obviously, the NFL is ready for the negative reaction to replacement officials from the teams.

But what about from the fans?

For one, they just endured an offseason that held the 2011 season in limbo until late in the summer, and now -- there's uncertainty as to who will be officiating games this season, and whether replacement officials are prepared to step in after just three months of training.

It's easy to complain about referees, even when instant replay shows that the call should go against your team. But by not reaching an agreement on a new deal, regular season games could feature officials who are under an even bigger microscope, which may lead to even more criticism from both players and fans.

And what if replacement officials make incorrect calls that end up deciding games?

According to Mike Pereira, who spent eight years as the NFL's vice president of officiating, the league isn't being truthful as far as the experience that most of these replacement officials really have.

On Tuesday, Pereira specifically singled out replacement ref Craig Ochoa, saying he is one of many examples of someone who isn't qualified to officiate a professional league game.

"He didn't work in the Big Ten, and he's not been a major college official," Pereira said. "I don't think the NFL is going to say that he actually got released midway through the last Lingerie Football League season as a referee. I don't think the league is going to put that out there. The league wants as little out about it as possible. They don't want people talking about it."

Pereira went on to say that the game's integrity will be compromised if the best football talent doesn't have the best officiating:

"There's no doubt in my mind that the integrity of the game will be compromised."

So that's where we currently sit. A professional league only a few weeks away from the start of its regular season, with the very real possibility of scab officials working the games.

It could be a recipe for disaster.


  1. Nice post. I REALLY hope they get a deal done and these replacement officials don't have to be used in the regular season Unfortunately it doesn't seem like the league is in too big of a hurry to make it happen. But I agree, it could be a disaster.

  2. I'm amazed that this has gotten to this point. Surely the league knows it would be a HUGE mistake to start the season with replacements officials. They've gotta get a deal done, or risk major embarrassment when these scabs start screwing up games left and right.

  3. If the NFL really has guys who were officiating lingerie football games working as replacement officials, they should be ashamed of themselves.