Just like the NFLPA, the NFL’s officials have their own union. Amid talks with the NFL’s Referees Association, ESPN reported that the NFL has put the program for full-time officials on hold.
Could this lead to a bigger, more pressing issue prior to the season’s kickoff?
However, for those fans that question if the refereeing will be altered, think again. Per ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, this move isn’t expected to have much impact, if any, on the play of the game this upcoming season.
“From a practical standpoint, the move will have minimal impact on officiating this season. Most of the additional responsibilities assigned to full-time officials are focused on offseason work. Functionally, all officials work full-time once the preseason begins. But the move represents a step backward for coaches, players and fans who have implored the NFL to use every means available to improve its officiating.”
There are an array of trainings, rule development and clinics that these officials go to and have to follow. That being said, it isn’t an easy job that they have, oftentimes being under scrutiny despite making the right call.
This is one of the only major developments in officiating since the league’s standoff since the 2012 lockout. That was an issue for the league as the substitute officials missed numerous calls on seemingly every play.
The referees proved that they’re irreplaceable or, at least, hard to replace immediately. That showcased their importance to the league and how it cannot provide the same product without them.
That experience should give them some advantage if labor talks once again heat up to that level.
This will be a development worth keeping an eye on over the next few months as the training camps and preseason quickly approach.