Should NFL worry about referee turnover? Here's why there's concern - ESPN (blog)


Jul 11, 2018 8:40 AM - 6 days, 18 hours, 3 minutes, 35 seconds ago


A new anxiety is filtering through the NFL's officiating ranks. The first training camp opens in 10 days. Preseason games are less than a month away. There has been unprecedented turnover among referees, including two unexpected retirements last month. And because of late approval from owners, hardly any of the league's 121 officials have been briefed in detail on a series of rule changes that will require fundamental changes in the way they administrate games.

That confluence will make for a hectic three days this weekend in Dallas, where senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron will lead the league's annual officiating clinic. Some of the apprehension will be soothed there, but even informed observers worry that the NFL is asking too much of the department, given the circumstances.

In short, the NFL will navigate the biggest collection of rule changes in recent memory this year with one of its least experienced groups of officials ever.

"To be quite honest," former NFL officiating supervisor Jim Daopoulos said, "I have a concern about the level of officiating because of the inexperience out there and with the new rule changes. You've got so many things that the young officials are going to have to learn and the veteran officials are going to have to learn.

"It's going to be a very interesting year, and I think Al Riveron has really got his hands full. It's going to be really tough. You think about the experience he's lost this year and trying to replace these guys, it's going to make for some tough Sundays watching football."

The NFL did not respond to a request for comment from Riveron, who is scheduled to speak with reporters on Friday in Dallas. Officials themselves are barred from speaking with reporters. But former referee Terry McAulay, who retired last month to join NBC Sports, said the concern is real.

"These are probably the most significant rule changes I've seen in my career in one season," McAulay told ESPN.

Unprecedented turnover

Four referees retired this spring, the most in one offseason in league history, according to research by Football Zebras. The NFL was expecting two: Ed Hochuli and Jeff Triplette. Both spoke privately about it for months. They were replaced quickly by Shawn Hochuli and Alex Kemp; each is the son of a referee -- Ed Hochuli and Stan Kemp -- and have long been earmarked as future referees.

According to sources, however, NBC approached multiple NFL referees about a job in late spring that its executives felt was essential to broadcasting football games: a rules expert. Clete Blakeman turned down an offer. McAulay, 58, accepted. CBS had reached a similar conclusion. Within days, it hired Gene Steratore.

Suddenly, two of the NFL's most respected referees were gone in McAulay and Steratore. There is no evidence to suggest either was upset or otherwise fleeing an untenable situation. If anything, McAulay said, ...

Read the Article, CLICK HERE.

All Extracted Terms (Click to add to search.) Should NFL worry about referee turnover? Here's why there's concern - ESPN (blog)    rule changes    rookie side judge    referee Terry McAulay    NFL referees    helmet rule    supervisor Jim Daopoulos    Al Riveron    referee Mike Carey    Sunday night games    analyst Cris Collinsworth    announcer Al Michaels    terry McAulay    Mike Carey    Shawn Hochuli    Ed Hochuli    NFL referee    rules expertise    kickoff changes    television career    NFL Nation    kickoff change    replay reviews    NFL games    rules right    job isn    Sunday night    Tony Corrente    numbers thing    Pete Morelli    vantage point    replacement referees    Clay Martin    things change    Shawn Smith    NFL owners    prediction mode    NFL field    New York    record number    executive producer    Alex Kemp    Jeff Triplette    Gerry Austin    Unprecedented turnover    NBC Sports    future referees    vice president    Preseason games    Stan Kemp    interview Steratore    Mike Pereira    league executive    right time    Fox Sports    right thing    Dean Blandino    Gene Steratore    Clete Blakeman    rules expert    

Discovered Stories

See More

**The statements and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or it's affiliates. The opinions expressed here should not be understood as advocated by or sanctioned by this website or it's affiliates. Information contained on this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and should not be relied upon. You use this website, information, and content at your own risk. This includes information and content linked to and from this website. Content displayed may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to report the news, advance understanding of the issues, and discover content. We believe this constitutes fair use of any such copyrighted material. Content is removed on a case by case basis. To request that content be removed, contact us using the following form: Contact Us. 4Internet LLC, its members, owners, employees, contractors, customers, users, agents, affiliates, and/or assigns, will not be liabile for any damages.