Archived Story

Editorial: It’s good that NFL refs are back

Published 9:57am Friday, September 28, 2012

Thank you to the NFL and the referees’ union for finding middle ground and getting a deal done.

After the disaster in Seattle last week and at games throughout the weekend, it became clear that the integrity of the game was in decline. Fans wanted the best refs, and it wasn’t as though the NFL was facing declining revenue and couldn’t handle the demands of the hard-working officiating crews.

In Week 2, the NFL asked players and coaches to leave the replacements alone because “everybody has a responsibility to respect the game.” The irony was that the NFL itself was not respecting the game by failing to provide knowledgeable and experienced referees.

And Week 3 was just a mess, from the Seahawk-Packers follies to the charged Ravens-Patriots game to the strange Vikings-49ers finish, summaries and highlights were about the blown calls rather than the game of football, which is supposed to be about the athletic achievements of the players and the strategic decisions of the coaches.

We look forward to games this week where teams get three timeouts per half, where teams have 11 men on each side, where teams don’t get bonus downs, where players must at least touch each other to prompt a flag for pass interference, where blatant pass interference is called, where officials tell audiences of the number of the player in violation, where fights are penalized, where defensive holding is a five-yard penalty, where knees or elbows on the ground mean the runner is down, where the ground cannot cause a fumble, where players get penalized for late hits only after the whistle, where field goals mean a kicked football split the uprights, where officials don’t state their favorite team on Facebook, where quarters end when the time runs out, where clock operators obey the referees, where down by contact is reviewable, where helmet-to-helmet is a penalty, where holding is always called … OK, well, maybe the union guys miss the last one sometimes … but you get the picture.

The games in general will be much more about the action, not blown calls.