Former referee says Roger Goodell ‘doesn’t care’

Fresh off what many are calling the replacement referees’ worst performance of the season, a former referee tore into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and said the officiating will get worse before it gets better.

“It’s obvious to me that (Goodell) just doesn’t even care,” said Jerry Markbreit, a fixture in the NFL for 23 years before retiring in 1998. “Otherwise, how could they replace professionalism with unprofessionalism in a game that’s so tough to work, even for the best officials in the land?” he said on ESPN Radio’s The Mike Lupica Show. “How could he care about it?”

Markbreit scoffed at the notion the replacement refs will get better as they gain experience.

“The management of the games gets tougher (in the coming weeks),” Markbreit said. “These guys have relied on competent, top-notch, terrific officials all these years. And now they have a bunch of amateurs out there and it’s going to fall apart.

“It’s not going to get better, as the commissioner said … It’s going to get worse.”

Criticism of the replacement refs reached new highs after Monday night’s Falcons-Broncos game in which the officials seemed to have trouble controlling the game, took too much time to decide calls and even marked off an 11-yard penalty for what should have been a 5-yard defensive holding penalty.

In addition to doubts about their competency, questions have been raised about the new refs’ impartiality.

A side judge, Brian Stropolo, was yanked from the New Orleans-Carolina game just before kickoff after it was discovered he had pro-Saints messages on his Facebook page.

And Eagles running back LeSean McCoy told a Philadelphia radio station that a referee told him that he needed him to do well for his fantasy team.

“I’ll be honest, they’re like fans,” McCoy said. “One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team like, ‘McCoy, come on, I need you for my fantasy.’ Ahhh, what?”

Here’s what some fans had to say in a recent AP video.


From a fan’s perspective, have you noticed a big difference in the quality of the officiating?

104 comments Add your comment

billy

September 19th, 2012
7:35 am

Are they very good? No? Should the commissioner have called and had Denver’s coach ejected from the game for the way he was treating those guys? Absolutely. Get the coaches back to coaching their teams and not relying on intimidating fill in refs to get an advantage.

the number34

September 19th, 2012
7:37 am

I’m all for busting the union. Stay with the replacements.

bill

September 19th, 2012
7:52 am

Yeah Markbreit was real courageous . He was the referee in the Ohio State Michigan game when Crazy Woody tore the down markers to pieces and received not even a calm down from that ass kisser. If he had been the referee at the Clemson game I guess he would have held the player’s arms.

B

September 19th, 2012
7:56 am

They’re just not that good. It’s partly not their fault because they’re all new at this, but it also is their fault for taking positions for which they’re unqualified. Goodell just needs to open up his wallet and get the right guys back in there.

bill

September 19th, 2012
7:56 am

The games have not been affected by the replacement officials and they have not made any major errors like tuck, or the 50 other times bad officiating have lost or won games in the NFL.. Certainly replay helps. The only real officials left work without replay like tightrope walkers without a net because their judgement is all you have and their errors are under review but not correctable. No head coach has ever been ejected from an NFL game

Call It Like It Is

September 19th, 2012
8:03 am

They are slow yes, but even Monday night the calls they made were correct. Did they miss calls, sure, but so do the so called “real” refs. The shame is on the players and the coaches. They know their new, they smell blood and they are doing everything possible to intimidate these guys. Quite frankly the refs need to start kicking these guys off the field and let them know who the boss is and that will settle all this crap down.

Moon Mullins

September 19th, 2012
8:06 am

This “union busting” mentality that seems so prevalent today is going to bite the working guy in the butt. They appear to be so damn dumb they can’t see that the benefits they enjoy today — a fourty hour work week, vacation, healthcare and a safe working enviroment, to name just a few — didn’t happen because of the compassionate concern of employers, but though the hard-fought efforts of working guys who put it all on the line to exercise their rights to organize. Now, those rights are being systimatically destroyed by right-wing minions of the oligarchs in this country, but the courts will show the unconstitutionality of these fascist efforts and restore the rights of workers.

Bust the unions and you’ll be answering Dr. Phil’s question in the future: “How’s that working for you?”

Get real

September 19th, 2012
8:15 am

@Moon, you bust the Unions or the common working man will need to get a passport and Rossetta Stone to get a job because they will all be outside this country. We have laws that protect workers unions are a farce in these modern times.

Mike Geigerman

September 19th, 2012
8:17 am

The calls were correct. Bust the union. It’s a bad economy and there’s someone willing to work.

i'm a referee

September 19th, 2012
8:17 am

Please Roger Goodell – don’t give in to the greedy officials who are currently on strike. They make a ton of money already and the NFL has agreed to give them a significant increase and they want even more? I hope they never step foot on the field again. And I don’t care if the NFL is a multi billion dollar entity. If the regular refs don’t like what they are being paid then go get another job somewhere else. Unions are a joke. Unions once served a noble purpose many years ago — to protect workers who worked under horrible working conditions making very low pay, etc. Occupational safety and health laws have taken care of that so now unions simply serve to fill with money the pockets of those who run them. If you don’t like what you are making go get a job somewhere else. The regular refs are not nearly as good as everyone thinks they are and the replacement refs are not as bad either. They will get better over time as they get used to the speed of the game and become more familiar with interpreting and enforcing the rules. And one thing for the players and coaches – quit whinning and play ball!

MoonBAT Mullins

September 19th, 2012
8:21 am

Liberal agenda …
If you don’t have anything to back up your antiquated views, blame it all on right-wingers. Use words like “fascist” to describe your opponents and “hard work” to describe your allies.

Unions served a very useful purpose. Before OSHA … and labor laws …

NOW unions are the supporters of forcing pay as high as possible while fighting to do as little work as possible. I guess there is a reason that Detroit is basically empty and the south (mostly non-union) has had great success.

the number34

September 19th, 2012
8:21 am

Seems to be working quite well for the likes of employees at UPS, Coca Cola, etc. who enjoy great work environments and benefits. Unlike the ‘heartland’ of America where companies are folding in record numbers. Go back to reading your socialists propaganda, professor Whinestein.

Hoohafan

September 19th, 2012
8:22 am

Union cronies….players, refs, broadcasters were itching to make the case for a badly officiated game. It wasn’t…..keep the crew, bust the unions….more hooha for all.

Box of Rocks

September 19th, 2012
8:27 am

“It’s not going to get better, as the commissioner said … It’s going to get worse.”
We’ll see. Unions were very important. Now? The union isn’t going to get busted, anyway.

OldBravesBag

September 19th, 2012
8:31 am

For all you people promoting union busting. You do realize that the players also have a union, don’t you? So while you are critical of the referees, you say nothing about the players. Interesting. I guess it’s okay for those making high six figures to have a union and negotiate contracts for pay, but it’s horrible that the referees do this.

FALCON FAN

September 19th, 2012
8:31 am

I don’t think they know what they are doing. I was fustrated Monday night.

Tim

September 19th, 2012
8:33 am

Have I noticed a difference? Nope, but I am not trying to promote a pro-union opinion that would support the locked out refs the way most sports writes and casters are trying to promote. Even Mike Keith, the Titan’s announcer, the other day when asked on Jox radio out of Birmingham said he would give them the same grade he normally gives the regular refs.
No wonder all newspapers and broadcast news is tanking. They are more worried about promoting an agenda, rather than simply reporting the news.

Casey

September 19th, 2012
8:39 am

Roger Goodell is not the one who makes these decisions. The owners are. The commissioner is not the one who decides how much to pay the referees or anyone, else. What kind of idiot is this guy? He actually worked for the NFL for 23 years and didn’t know who signed his checks every week. What a jacka$$. As for the replacement officials, they are not doing a bad job. Obviously, they have to learn the NFL rulebook. But, they are not going to get worse before they get better. How in the hell would they get worse, then get better? They will get better each week. As far as I’m concerned, they are not much worse than the regulars. It’s not like the old refs never missed a call. If they didn’t, why do we need instant replay?

Old Timer

September 19th, 2012
8:43 am

Oldbravesbag- the players are not on syrike, the reds are. Dumbass!!

pikedawg

September 19th, 2012
8:45 am

Bill: dude, how old are you??

Old Timer

September 19th, 2012
8:47 am

Isn’t autospell a wonderful thing.

SDF Athletics

September 19th, 2012
8:48 am

Its amazing how people can sit back and criticize the officials but would never have the guts or confidence to step on to the field. http://www.sdfathletics.com

fairburn1

September 19th, 2012
8:54 am

After watching the Falcons Game on Monday Night. Noting that the refs were actually interfering with the speed, accuracy and enjoyment of the game . I believe the NFL and commissioner Goodell owes the fans resolution to this substitute referee insanity. The TV sponsors need to stand up for the fans. FOX, CBS, ESPN, NBC have paid billions of dollars for a product. The Fans tune in for the enjoyment of the game. TV gains revenue from commercial sponsors as fans tune in. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m losing interest because the Bad referee and Bad calling is taking away from the game.

pikedawg

September 19th, 2012
8:55 am

I love how the “management” cronies just ignore the fact that there were 7 different examples of improper administration of the rules across the NFL last week. Lets just ignore the facts because we want to bust a union.

AtlNative62

September 19th, 2012
8:56 am

The only “unprofessional” behavior I saw Monday evening was done by the coaches and players. They made several less than ideal situations (by the referees slow decisions) much, much worse. There is an obvious agenda to make the officials look as bas as possible. Even the announcers for the game were making “slanted” comments. As a Falcons season ticket holder, I hope the Falcons management will “encourage” the team (coaches and players) to focus on playing football rather than the politics of the game.

Billy Bob

September 19th, 2012
8:57 am

Union busting aside…the replaced referees all have regular jobs and the NFL is a part – time gig…paid extremely well by any standards. The NFL has offered a generous increase but some people are never satisfied. I work as a basketball official and there is always someone willing to take my place at the current price. I once thought I was indispensible until I put my arm in a bucket of water and saw the hole left when I pulled it out.

The Truth

September 19th, 2012
8:57 am

What a load of junk.

Personally, I like the replacement refs. Are they as good as the normal crews: no. This is what it must have been like back during the early days of professional football. I don’t mind they don’t get all the calls, heck the regular crews don’t get them all correct either.

I expect to see more and more players (union, duh) on board with this kind of comment. What’s more, reporters are going to harp on it more too – they have to sell their crap too.

I say, bust that worthless union, if the difference is ONLY a mere $6400 a game (which is $108,000 per year) then let the officials drop their demands and sign the new agreement. This is a typical give them an inch now next they’ll take three kind of deal. Draw the line and hold to it.

These refs won’t keep me from watching and enjoying Pro Football.

xxx

September 19th, 2012
8:57 am

Unions are for sissy mama’s boys that can’t hold down down a job by thmselves so they need a gangland style group of thugs to intimidate others to keep them employed.

Phillip Rushing

September 19th, 2012
8:57 am

The refs are not full time employees. They already have other jobs. They make a lot of money for weekend work. The NFL needs to stick to their guns on this and force them to become full time refs and get control over rating refs so poor performing refs can be fired.

Just me

September 19th, 2012
8:59 am

Seems like the refs who are “on strike” are the ones who do not care.

Gary

September 19th, 2012
9:00 am

The accuracy rate is no less than the non replacement refs according to ESPN analysts. They are just taking more time to discuss the penalties. Hopefuly what this will lead to is less calls on the field and more on the booth. WIth instant replay and HD and mutliple camera angles it is stupid to rely on humans on the field. Do it like college. Review every play.

Paul in NH

September 19th, 2012
9:13 am

There are certainly some interesting comments on here but one common refrain is completely incorrect. The referees are not on strike – this is a lock out.

FenderMan

September 19th, 2012
9:17 am

Goodell should do what Reagan did with PATCO years ago, fire them. 150K to ref football games is a good deal. Once again greed has raised its ugly head.

Don Waddell

September 19th, 2012
9:27 am

I pleased to see that NFL officiating is moving in the right direction.

Jason Hill

September 19th, 2012
9:31 am

Stop your crying. The refs are fine. They are professional and skilled.

alphadog

September 19th, 2012
9:36 am

Workers are people too, and they have a right to act in their own best interest as does management. If any one of the people posting on this blog never did anything to increase their compensation, it is a disservice to their families. The owners and commissioner have lawyers, accountants, media reps, consultants and security. The Refs only have their Union.

Jerry Markbreit = hack

September 19th, 2012
9:40 am

This guy is a sham. Back in the late 80’s he was part of the cabal of refs that treated Joe Montana like he walked on water. Anytime I sat down for a game and I saw this clown you could bet any close calls were going against the small market teams.

king of mean

September 19th, 2012
9:40 am

From a fan’s perspective, have you noticed a big difference in the quality of the officiating?

Uhh, are you kidding me? Yes I see a difference. I see offensive lineman straight tackling defensive pass rushers and not getting called for holding. I see refs being influenced by players/coaches to throw flags – this is putting control of the game in the coaches/players hands.

this reminds me of the poor little 15/16 yr. old kid trying to umpire a 9-12yr olds baseball game. All it takes is the big adult coach to get a little loud to scare the kid into reversing or making a call.

itpdude

September 19th, 2012
9:41 am

The replacements are notably worse than the regular crews. The games are longer. The officials don’t know the rule book as well. They are also missing a lot of calls, but more obviously, they are over-calling.

I saw some pass interference calls that were not pass interference.

Darn it

September 19th, 2012
9:41 am

Its so bad, almost like a season or so ago when the replacement refs blew the whistle early and cost Denver the game — oh wait, that was one of the permanent refs. Um, sure, the replacement refs get it wrong more often, just trust me!

GTJohn

September 19th, 2012
9:41 am

Hey Get Real, if the unions get busted, I will be able to afford things again because high school drop outs will be making wages commensurate with their ability and education.

Darn it

September 19th, 2012
9:43 am

@alphadog — ” workers are people too” — great insight.

David

September 19th, 2012
9:43 am

Umm…Sorry I have been watching NFL games since I was a kid back in the early to mid 80’s. I have news for you the regular NFL officials have screwed up calls, let games get out of hand, missed calls, made bad calls, effect the outcome of games. I really don’t see much of a difference other than the media and players are beating on the replacements. The media because they need a story, the players becuase they are using it as an excuse for poor play.

jose

September 19th, 2012
9:47 am

The replacement refs are horrible. But, the “real” refs make mistakes also. If the NFL ever reaches an agreement with the “real” refs, I hope it contains a clause that allows punishment and corrective action for blown calls. Too often, when the “real” refs blow a call, the affected team gets a letter that says “oops” but that is all. If there was some sort of recourse, i.e. fines, the ‘real” refs might have an incentive to call a game fairly.

Leon Lett

September 19th, 2012
9:49 am

I think the players and announcers are very two-faced. On the one hand they’re dissing the union by in effect crossing the picket line. On the other hand, the players are trying to score points with the union by their fighting with each other plays and trying to show up the refs. And the announcers are in the booth saying “Gee, ain’t it awful”.

Typical liberals – trying to have it both ways – a bunch of hypocrits.

David

September 19th, 2012
9:52 am

@alphadog…Unions are not workers…Unions are organizations looking out for their own interests…nothing wrong with that; however I don’t equate Unions to workers. I am a worker, I don’t belong to a union because I value my own work and I know my own value and I don’t want to be measured by the weakest link which is what workers represented by Unions have to be measured as their weakest link. Also in the case of the NFL refs, I don’t think they have a leg to stand on when they make and are being offered betwen 150K and 250K per year for a job that requires them to work 16 games plus playoffs and pre-season

Jeff

September 19th, 2012
9:57 am

It’s funny to me that Goodell is stonewalling over $1 million total compensation for all officials per year. One million bucks–that is chump change–you could find that in between the sofa cushions in Arthur Blank’s home(s).

There are very few people in the world who have the skill set to officiate and control a game at this level. And if you have a valuable skill set that is rare and in demand, you will get paid accordingly. The officials will get what they want, it’s just a matter of time. Until then, as Jon Gruden said, games will be incredibly painful to watch.

RC

September 19th, 2012
9:58 am

The whole union thing is a joke. If the players are so gung ho for the regular refs they should not play in support, but that means no pay. Well we can’t do that,can we? Explains the hypocrisy!!

Not So Casual Observer

September 19th, 2012
10:05 am

The pro-union crowd here is not concerned with the cost or managment’s decision to hire replacement officials to save money. Unions have outlived their worth and the auto industry is the perfect example. The pro-union crowd likely believes the Obama administration, or some successor, will bail out the NFL once the unions have driven the league into bankruptcy.

For another example of union greed please examine the NBA. One player, obviously not a college graduate, wondered why the owners needed to make money. Ooops, a recent news video from the Democratic Convention revealed the delegates also believed corporations (owners) should not be allowed to earn profits.

Ignorance abounds in politics and NFL union supporters.

Not So Casual Observer

September 19th, 2012
10:08 am

Jose,

Referees are fined for mistakes in professional sports.