Every Sunday in football season whether fans are watching their TV's or are at the game live, they love to yell. Most of the yelling is geared toward...... the referees. I am not exempt from this large group of people, when I see what I think is a bad call against my team I get furious. Referees endure much scrutiny from fans when they perform poorly, yet are never recognized for the good work they do. The pressures of being an NFL referee is intense.
Since June 3rd the NFL referees have been locked out. There has been much speculation on whether or not they will negotiate a contract in time for the season. Many have said that it is likely that NFL refs are going to miss some preseason games at a minimum. This will mean replacement refs. If this scenario plays out, it will not take long for fans to become outraged. The skill level of the current refs is often overlooked because of a few bad calls. Replacement refs will be nowhere near the quality as current referees. One potential positive that can come from the replacement referee situation in the NFL is a new presence on the field that has not been seen, a woman. According to an ESPN article, the NFL has confirmed that a woman referee will be apart of the replacement referees used.
The NFL referees have not received a pay increase since 2006. Yes 2006. This is outrageous when thinking about the pay increases that players have received every single year. It is understandable that players make the sport money, not the referees. The referees do provide a service to the league that I am afraid is being overlooked, integrity. When fans tune in on Sundays it is imperative for them to have faith in whats taking place on the field. If fans do not trust the game, they will not devote as much time and energy as they currently do. A season filled with replacement referees will be bad news for the NFL.
For the National Football League to put its league integrity on the line, the referees must be asking for a big pay raise. Right? WRONG.
Depending upon experience and other factors, current referees in the NFL make only between $25,000 and $90,000 per season. They are currently asking for an 8% increase in pay. To be put in perspective, an 8% increase in pay would cost each team about $100,000. That type of money means nothing to NFL franchises. Currently the NFL is offering about a 2.5% increase, that is just degrading.
The former Vice President of NFL officiating, Mike Pereira, said about the replacement referees, "There are officials with high school experience only. There are officials who were dropped from their college conference. Three officials from the Pac-12 Conference that were not rehired this season for performance reasons are now going to work NFL games."
Stop risking the integrity of the NFL and pay the referees.