Don’t know about you dear readers, but it seems to me we’ve seen some truly bad reffing this season. Full-time refs were supposed to be the answer, but that hasn’t happened. It’s because it was done half-assed. There is a NFL Referee problem and I’ve got a list on how to fix this.
*I write “he” for ease, but assume there will be females here or there in a crew. Also, I use the word referee to encompass all the officials*
- Draft referees from the NCAA like the NFL does.
- House them in a non-Pro football city that’s in the central time zone like Birmingham, Alabama. Since Birmingham has three, maybe four college teams (and a couple top notch high school teams) within fairly close proximity, they can use their players and facilities for practice.
- They will act like players – practice or watch film during the week. This way all referees are on the same page. In addition, during practices, players will fake penalties and supervisors will watch and rank how the refs do
- They draft enough refs to have two crews at every NFL game. This way if a ref or line judge, etc. stinks during a game, his replacement is there. Just like players. There will also be a crew of third teamers left in the home city to fill a “B” team crew due to any benchings (see below). for future games.
- Like the NFL, have awards for best refs at each position. They will get bonuses and get to officiate the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. Refs who officiated throughout the season, but receive no votes, get the heave-ho.
- If a ref has two failed challenges in a game, he is benched during the game and suspended from reffing the team(s) he messed up on for the rest of the season and/or the next one. His calls will also be under review to see if he needs to be benched for other games.
- If a ref has more than one game with two overturned calls, he’s fired.
- Each year, refs will go under a review board made up of members of the NFL officiating committee, an owner rep, a HC rep and a player rep.
- Top ones get a raise and are kept. Bottom ones are sent back to the NCAA.
- Each year a referee is kept, he gets more perks, like his choice of what games to call, a 401 type savings plan and better living quarters.
The plan is find the cream of the crop, and make it pay to do their best.
As far the current referees, the review board I suggested weighs in on them. The top ones (the non-NFL staff decides on how many) are given seniority for 2019 and can be the instructors (with an additional bonus) at the training city.
They are also given choices on whose crew they want to be on or pick the crew they want of the current refs, but no more than two per crew. After officials are drafted, they will be parceled out to be as balanced as possible.
The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business and can afford to do this. Especially since bad NFL referees can and do cost franchises millions when games are lost.
It’s time they become serious about this and get tough. The NFL this season feels like the officiating crews, not the teams, are deciding who wins, which in turn makes the NFL seem corrupt. It’s tough not believe this has come about for two reasons: legal gambling and ratings.
Actually, I believe gambling is why viewership is up – bettors want to see how their players are doing. With the NFL now in bed with gambling organizations, they absolutely want certain endings, to think otherwise is naive.
Give fans competent and impartial refereeing and you’ll grow the fan base by having butts in seats. How many stadiums are selling out? That should be the measuring stick, not who’s watching their money perform on their TV’s.