Replacement NFL Officials Draw Increased Criticism as Lockout Continues

By Community | September 18, 2012

The NFL is receiving increased criticism in its second week of games without regular officials.

The regular officials are locked out having failed to reach a new labour agreement with the NFL. The replacement officials have been recruited from the second level of college football and lower.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and quarterback Joe Flacco were among the most vocal critics, saying there were several officiating errors in their team’s 24-23 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles.

“There’s some serious calls the refs missed, and it’s just the way it is all around the league,” Lewis said.

Flacco told reporters the substitutes are “affecting the integrity of the game.”

Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesman, said that the work of on-field officials “is never perfect.”

“The current officials have made great strides and are performing admirably under unprecedented scrutiny and great pressure,” the league spokesman said. “As we do every season, we will work to improve officiating and are confident that the game officials will show continued improvement.”

Pay, pensions and operational issues have kept the NFL and the referees’ union from reaching a new labour deal. To date the league has made a schedule for the replacements to work through Week 5 of the regular season.

“We are ready to negotiate at any time with the National Football League Referees’ Association,” Aiello said.