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Will Replacement Officials Still Be Around To Start NFL Season?

Posted on August 18, 2012 by Thomas Rooney

Unless a settlement happens in the next two weeks, the NFL could start the 2012 with inexperienced officials.

The new NFL regular season looks set to get under-way with replacement officials, following a controversial decision by league executives.

It is a move that is likely to cause great disputation amongst both players and coaches, with the replacements having already attracted criticism.

Amongst the main reasons for the difference in opinion amongst NFL Betting Picks experts is the fact that many of the replacement officials will go into the season without the same level of collegiate experience that the senior officials have.

Quite why there is a need for replacements remains a mystery, although it has been mooted around that economics will be a major factor.

As it stands, current officials only work on a part-time basis, with the NFL keen to make their positions full-time.

This has caused a certain amount of anxiety among the part-timers, as more than 90 per cent of them already have full-time jobs and would be unwilling to give up the financial security that they offer.

With the start of the regular season hurtling towards us (September 5, it all begins, when the Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants), the situation is beginning to look pretty desperate. It appears obvious that the league authorities will have little choice but to call in the replacements.

In reaction to the criticism, the league has proposed mixing the less experienced officials in with the more experienced crews, to minimize the chances of substandard performances during important games.

The changes have already been implemented throughout pre-season, with the upcoming Cowboys-Raiders clash set to be officiated in such a way.

That pre-season experience could turn out to be crucial when the regular season gets going, with the replacement officials having already spent three months training with the NFL to try and get them up to standard in time.

One league executive in the officiating department pointed out the fact that many of the teams competing in the NFL this season will be fielding rookies, who over the course of the season will get better and better with experience.

The same, he said, would apply to the less experienced officials.

Adam Podlesh, player rep for the Chicago Bears, offered a counter-argument, pointing out that the speed of games in the regular season will be much faster than it is in pre-season.

He said: “That is one thing that basically all these refs that are officiating our games haven’t experienced. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

“That’s the concern for the players: are they going to be able to keep up with the speed of the game and are they going to make the right calls that are going to make the players feel safe?”

The discussions are expected to remain ongoing for some time still, with one source even suggesting the regular season could be three weeks old by the time anything is resolved.

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