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Deke Bellavia

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Deke - One thing the NFL can't replace: Officials

You can substitute salt, you can have a substitute teacher, even a substitute a head coach, but one thing you can’t substitute--NFL officials.  

If the NFL, its commissioner, coaches, players and fans learned one thing the last three weeks of pre-season football, it’s that the most powerful league in sports needs its officials.  Official officials, if you will!

For many reasons, the NFL must have legitimate refs.  With a commissioner hell bent on being ''safety'' conscious, it only makes sense.  It’s just safer, smarter, better to have the people who know the game, the rules, the players and coaches inside out to call the games.

So far we’ve seen replacement officials frustrate, irritate and agitate everybody TRYING to call games.  Just in this past week’s Saints/Jaguars game, we saw several plays in which temporary officials flat out blew the call.  

And I’m not bashing these people; without replacement officials there would be no preseason games at all.   But before the season begins, the commissioner of the most powerful league in sports must extend the olive branch and get real officials back on the field.  

How can Roger Goodell be all about safety and think replacement officials are safe?  It seems the big dog of the NFL is contradicting himself.

I wish nothing bad on anyone, never have and never will.  But I’m quite sure all of you have played out scenarios in your mind in which one of the NFL’s top players goes down and is lost for the season…all due to a bad call by a replacement ref.   That would be a shame.  And that, my friends, would be on the commissioner’s watch.

And furthermore, some suggest NFL officials should be full-time employees, which in turn would make the game better.  But from what we’ve seen thus far, just to have the real refs back would be great news for the NFL.  

Former safety and current NFL analyst for Fox Sports John Lynch gave his take on this issue.   ''I think we are kind of at a crossroads as a league," Lynch told Bobby Hebert and me.  "We’ve heard so much about safety issues, new information on concussions and I understand that there are tough negotiations, but this to me is a place and time where you can’t have a negotiation stand in the way of what you say is your priority as a league…which is the safety of the players."

Lynch went on to say he thinks current officials are doing the best that they can, but the difference is obvious.  “I’ve been doing preseason games down in Tampa and it’s just evident all over that they (replacement refs) are uncomfortable and not informed on all the rules.”

So basically it all boils down to two weeks…or let’s say until Wednesday September 5th when the 2012 NFL season kickoffs off.  If no deal is struck, replacement officials will call the first games of the season, if not more.  

“They have to find a way to get it done," Lynch said.  "Because I don’t believe that you can go into the regular season like this.”  

What’s that old saying…a penny smart…and a pound foolish?

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Locations : Tampa
People : Bobby HebertRoger Goodell

08/22/2012 3:50PM
Deke - One thing the NFL can’t replace: Officials
Please Enter Your Comments Below
08/22/2012 4:17PM
Well put
Amen brother
08/23/2012 1:30PM
Rod Guidry in Sacramento
Dictator Goodell screws it up again. I sure hope all the truth comes out concerning the idiots accusations against the Saints to prove the players innocence.
08/28/2012 9:37PM
We forgive you Ed and Pete!
If we can only get those officials back, my Wife and I will forgive and forget ALL the bad calls and no calls over the years from the real officials. We just had no idea how bad it could get until we lost our NFL officials. We have a new found appreciation for what our NFL officials do for us.
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