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NFL needs to hire full-time Refs

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by SalemPats, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. SalemPats

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    This year has been a year of bad officiating and the NFL has no one to blame but itself. They need to hire full-time refs who mid-week like a player are reviewing tapes of games. They should know their teams inside out and be as prepared as any player/coach. If the NFL can pay Roger Goodell 30M we can give the referees a 50K raise and hire them full-time.
  2. chasa

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    some of the better refs make more money at their regular jobs then a 50k raise would end up being.

    What the league NEEDS to do is allow replays of everything, and put the bad refs on a shorter leash
  3. PatsWickedPissah

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    Not clear to me how full time refs can compensate for the league's too subjective wording on PI and the unspoken directive to "just let them play" in the last 2 minutes of SOME games, which capriciousness exacerbates the situation. FT refs aren't gonna solve a schizoid competition committee. Clear, unambiguous rules with automatic booth review on PI would help a lot.

    I have no solution for the random invocation or not of holding calls.
  4. rlcarr

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    Exactly. During football season they already spend lots and lots of hours per week watching film, etc. (and many of them are collegiate officials supervisors and so are getting more football-watching time there as well).

    What exactly do the "make them full-time" proponents think will be any different?
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Interesting that this topic comes up right now. Sunday I was at a local watering hole watching the game and got into a conversation with the guy seated next to me. Turned out that he was a longtime football official, and he worked as one of the replacement refs during the strike. He actually worked a couple of Pats games and did three of the prime CBS games ('without incident' he said, in a tone that indicated he was equal parts proud and relieved).

    I asked him about his thoughts of the NFL hiring full time refs, and here are his thoughts on the subject.

    First off, most of the current refs have lucrative full time jobs during the week. To make them full-time employees would mean that they would have to decide which job they wanted to keep. He said that in many, if not most cases the current refs would probably take their current full-time job over being an NFL ref. If that were to occur, what happens in the immediate future? You have a drain of your best, most experienced officials, and they are replaced by a group that is not as experienced and not as good. That means that in the immediate future, for the next few years the performance gets worse, not better.

    Secondly, what exactly is gained by making these officials "full time"? The best way to improve is under actual game conditions, i.e., officiating real games. How are you going to do that when there are no other games to officiate, other than perhaps having them work CFL games before the NFL season kicks off?

    The problem is that the NFL season is only 16 games go long, so there is only so much experience that can be gained. It's not like baseball or hockey where you work your way up through hundreds of games in the minor leagues, or even basketball where you call 80-100 games a year to gain that experience. Studying film, working out, simulated games and computer based tutorials are only going to help so much. By far the best way to improve is by working in actual game conditions, and there just isn't any of that available.



    His reasons make sense to me; I'm not convinced that the NFL going to full-time officials is going to improve anything.
  6. convertedpatsfan

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    I think full-time refs would be a part of the solution, but not address everything. However, I'm okay with paying them more money if they're worth it.

    While there are only a limited number of games for them to work in and gain experience, that doesn't mean they couldn't improve in other ways. Like players, they could study more film from other games to understand how certain situations were dealt with. They could spend the off-seasons reviewing hundreds of pass interference calls and which ones were correct and which ones were not, learning together what to look for. They could monitor more practices to help teams understand the rules and give them more live experience.

    They could also provide more time off than a regular job. A full-time salary with 2 months of vacation time would be attractive to some candidates, a perk like teachers receive.

    There would obviously be a loss of top "talent" but I truly believe an okay ref who works hard and studies/practices for the full year will quickly close the gap on a more experienced ref who is only doing it part-time.

    But putting together 100 people in the same classes receiving the same instructions and studying the same material has to help create a more uniform way of dealing with penalties. And in a league that generates over $9B in revenue and the worst players get $300K, I'm okay with paying a lot more if they're worth it.

    Or maybe the simple solution is for the league to invest more on their vision benefits for referees.
  7. neuronet

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    #87 Jersey

    They typically have full-time jobs in addition to the ref jobs.

    Hence, what will be different is the 40 hours a week freed up to spend on being a better ref.
  8. signbabybrady

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    This has not been the greatest year for the refs but I have always had the opinion that the refs are actually very very good at what they do its just that any one mistake can be a huge story even though on the whole they may have %99 percent for the day one mistake at the wrong time makes them look aweful. Just think about the speed of the game and the fact they are out numbered on the field by about 4/1 and then think about how often the spot appears to be dead on or how they can see even small tugs and pushes that may have big impacts on a play.

    What Patswickedpissah said is spot on the way the rules are written probably has more to do with ref controversy than anything. Take the Tuck rule for example rule was called right by letter of the law but even as a Pats fan I can admit that was a fumble. And now has been changed but still equally as bad all they really did was change the line of demarcation but they still aren't allowing for the refs best judgments which in theory makes sense (black and white) but in reality leaves you with moments like the tuck play where by letter of law the line was not crossed but where intent can clearly be seen.

    With this rule change now I am just waiting for the opposite of the Tuck to happen where clearly you see the QB was trying to throw but by letter of law he crosses the threshold and thus it gets ruled a fumble and most of the world will freek not knowing the Tuck rule changed.
  9. primetime

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    Some officials, like Hochuli or Triplette, are genuinely awful. Hochuli remains employed because of his absurd celebrity status.

    That said, it's tough on the officials. Football is a complicated game. Give them credit for knowing the nuances of that rulebook inside and out. I too think that full-time refs would be ideal, but the NFL probably doesn't want to pay full-time officials for whatever reason. I would grandfather those refs who are currently employed in, though.
  10. signbabybrady

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    I think clearly there would be some value in added time to work on their craft but I think you would be pretty shocked to see the amount of time these guys already spend on their part time jobs. I remember they highlighted Hochuli once and he talked about what he goes through to prepare to be a ref and while it is technically part time there was nothing part time about it.

    I think you also need to realize that Most refs get into it as side gig/hobby and only after years of doing it in Pop warner, high school, and college do they get a shot at the pros and obviously most need full time jobs then if they are the few who are considered good enough for the pros they are supposed to just quit their careers over some asinine idea that x amount of hours more will make them better I think it would deter a lot of good refs even with the money being equal or better to their career salaries.

    I think for full time Refs to work the NFL would need to be more involved in the lower levels of the profession. Identifying candidates for the pros earlier in the process possibly right from the get go so that they can actually make this their one and only career otherwise every ref will have to chose whether to quit their first career to be an NFL ref. More money and benefits for them certainly could make this an easy choice but again using Hochuli as an example I believe he is either a judge or a lawyer and he may chose that over football.
  11. primetime

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    The "Tuck Rule" should actually be called the forward arm motion rule. The purpose of the Tuck Rule, as written, was to take some subjectivity out of the officials' hands. With the Tuck Rule, any forward movement of the arm with the ball constitutes a throwing motion, and therefore an incomplete pass. Without the Tuck Rule, it's up to the officials to judge for themselves whether the ball was a pass or not. Was it a bad forward pass or did the quarterback fumble? Now the officials get to determine that.

    Don't get me wrong, it was a bad rule, but that was the intent and I understand why it was done.
  12. primetime

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    We can only hope. He's the worst head referee in the league.
  13. rlcarr

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    And those full-time jobs are sidelined to some (often large) degree during the season. And many of them are business owners/execs -- it's not like they can't take time away from their "full-time jobs" during the season. And some refs are retired from their non-ref jobs.

    It's not like the refs are only spending a few hours a week preparing for games.

    Like someone said above, I think the biggest problem is there are only 16 (20, counting preseason) chances a year to actually ref a game. So it takes ten seasons for a NFL ref to officiate the same number of games an MLB ref does in one season.
  14. signbabybrady

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    As I understand the change in rule it is basically still called the same only now the line has changed. Under the tuck rule the line of demarcation was having the ball fully tucked into your body which in my opinion took it to far as using the snow bowl game as an example he had clearly passed a point where he was realistically throwing.

    Now I believe the new line has to do with the angle of the ball/arm and once it is pointing down toward the ground and cant be conceived as throw down field. Problem here is sometimes you legitamatly are throwing and it just doesnt come out clean and could just as easily be called a fumble when its a throw as the Brady play was considered incomplete when he clearly was no longer throwing. Assume a similar hit as on the Brady throw but it happening a split second sooner in his motion (not as clearly tucked).

    This kind of play needs Ref interpretation but the rules are written in way to try and make it black and white and it is as much a problem if not bigger than asking refs to use a little judgement as to intent.
  15. patfanken

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    I think the whole "fulltime ref" topic is ludicrous. The key number here is 16. What a job that would be, to make fulltime money and work 16-19 days a year. :D

    But the real issue here has been pointed out by others. How exactly would making those officials full time make those snap judgments any better. By all accounts the current refs put in around 15 hours a week in preparation for each game beyond the actual game itself.

    Other points that have been said that are worth repeating.

    1. We should spend more times realizing how good these guys are and how often much more often they are right. There are close to 100 plays a game, and we complain about 2 or 3 of them? These guys are right 97% of the time and are getting killed for it. That doesn't make sense

    2. The irony is that the players and coaches who complain the most make mistakes at a MUCH higher rate. And the fans who get even more irate would NOT like to be judged at the same level of demand at their jobs.

    3. The game is played by humans. The whole dynamic which make the game so dramatic and compelling is the human conflict. And that conflict includes great plays and awful failures, just like the human condition.

    4. In the end, the game would end up being a lot more enjoyable if we all just accepted the fact that EVERYONE on the field is going to make mistakes.....INCLUDING the guys in the striped shirts. And we should all be comforted in the fact that the guys in striped shirts will make a LOT fewer mistakes than the guys in the helmets and the ones holding clipboards.

    5. That being said there ARE some things that can be done to improve the quality of the officiating and that would be to simplify the rules, add more accountability, all reviews be done centrally (like the NHL) or by a specialized review official at the game location. God would THAT speed up the game. :rolleyes:

    We should all take our cue from BB. He understands that there will be questionable calls that work for you and some that work against you. He also has the perspective that over time it pretty much evens out. He accepts that officials will make the rare mistake and its simply another obstacle you have to overcome, like the weather, the crowd, and your opponents, and your own mistakes, etc

    If you allow yourself to give in to the acceptance, you will be better prepared to deal with the consequences. Think about it. A coach can't spend more than a second after a critical turnover. Unexpected changes of possession need immediate responses. If the players and coaches are still upset about the pick or fumble, they can't properly deal with the results. It happens. Same goes for bad calls.

    In the end, as a coach, all you really want from the officials is that they are consistent.
  16. RayClay

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    I'm not crazy about him, but there are a lot worse.
  17. RayClay

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    They need to blend in some younger guys. That old dude and crew in the Ravens game needs to be retired.
  18. letekro

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    Yep, because full-time employees don't make mistakes.

    The overarching goals of any referee reform should be to minimize the opportunities for judgment calls and minimize the damage these guys can do when they have to make judgment calls and their judgment calls are poor.

    The one big change I would make to address the second prong is to change PI to a 15-yard penalty.
  19. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    By "the refs need to be full-time," are you saying "the refs shouldn't be allowed to hold any other jobs"? Even though the NFL season, including playoffs and exhibitions, only lasts half the year? And even though many of the officials' "day jobs" include refereeing college football -- experience that should make them BETTER at their NFL jobs?

    I totally understand frustration with refereeing errors, but IMO the whole full-time angle is a red herring. They already earn six-figure salaries, and they already take their work very, very seriously. A full-time label won't change the fact that they're still fallible human beings.

    Amen! It's ridiculous that this one penalty can so dwarf all others. They can still keep the current version for "flagrant fouls" to prevent out-and-out tackling of breakaway receivers.
  20. primetime

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    #18 Jersey

    The fact that DPI is a spot foul is, I think, the most blatantly bad rule in the rulebook. But changing it will impact scoring, so it's questionable if they'll change it... even if it's for the good of the game.

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