The NFL has a crisis on its hands, and it lies with the men — and women? — in zebra stripes.
Three weeks into the NFL's preseason schedule, and less than three weeks away from the regular season opener, commissioner Roger Goodell and the league owners still won't budge on their deadlocked negotiations with the NFL Referees Association. And now it seems that Goodell isn't all that worried about replacing his replacement officials.
"We're anxious to get a deal done, but it has to get done that it's
going to help us for the long term," Goodell said on Thursday, according The Associated Press. "It's not a short-term issue."
With the calendar inching ever closer to the Sept. 5 season opener — just 13 days away, and officials likely in need of at least 7-10 days to prepare, according to Goodell — the regular season's beginning to look ever bleaker.
Yet, for some reason unexplained to any common football fan, Goodell seems very confident in his replacement crews.
"These officials have been trained," Goodell said of the replacement
refs who have been calling preseason games. "We've been working with
them. We think they'll do a very credible job."
"Credible"? As in "good"? Because it's become pretty obvious throughout the preseason that these officials are definitely not that. And NFLRA lead negotiator Mike Arnold seems to agree with that notion.
"We're ready to go," Arnold said of the locked-out officials' preparations for the upcoming season.
When discussing the performance of the replacement refs, though, Arnold was sure not to criticize but definitely got his point across.
"It's not our job to judge the replacements, because their performance speaks for itself," Arnold said.
While the commissioner continues to sit idly by and await the NFLRA to cave to the league's demands — adding more referees and accepting less money than the NFLRA is asking for — the product on the field continues to suffer.
There's just no way around it. No matter how "credible" Goodell may believe the officials are, the proof is in the pudding, and right now it doesn't taste too good.
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