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Troy Vincent sends pep-talk letter to game officials

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It’s no secret that the NFL has refereeing problems. The people who do this work miss too many calls, and the NFL stubbornly refuses to use technology that would help reduce and/or correct errors.

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An upgrade that will really help officials when it comes to making the right calls is expensive. A public pat on the back is free.

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Through Judy Battista of NFL Media (a publication owned and operated by the league), through NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. sent an email to all game officials on Friday. It looks and reads like a pep talk as the 18-week season closes halfway through.

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In the letter, Vincent expresses his “thanks and appreciation” for the “pursuit of excellence” of various game officials.

“Expectations are always high,” Vincent wrote. “Perfection is required from all sides. As with players and coaches, officiating isn’t always perfect, but you are the best in the world as you strive for excellence and achieve excellence. No one knows better than you about the intricacies of administering the game and how to “get it right” with one glance at full speed, and then each call is dissected from multiple angles in slow motion. When there are 22 players on the field at the same time, you have to make several decisions before the snap and after the game. All in all, you’re doing great.”

Vincent’s comment is perfectly accurate, but it highlights the league’s inability to develop and implement vehicles to bridge the gap between full steam ahead, happening to the naked eye, watched by officials, and everything we see at home. The league is either too cheap to pay for the necessary upgrades, or too worried that they’ll mess things up – as they did when they let through jammed and non-challenged challenges in 2019.

As for Vincent’s “world’s best” comment, we’re only 10 years behind Commissioner Roger Goodell in believing that NFL game officials could easily be replaced by officials from the lower levels of the sport without a significant reduction in quality. refereeing. As explained in playmakerssome in the league’s office were amazed that the replacement of officials during the 2012 lockout was no more of a disaster than it turned out to be.

“You are under intense scrutiny,” Vincent continued in his letter. “We understand this. This is the world we live in. There will always be tough judgments that will cause controversy. Working closely with you, I want to thank you for your tireless preparation for the game and your commitment to consistency and excellence.”

Again, this sounds empty. How tireless can preparation be for a game when referees have other jobs? When the league doesn’t want to pay, how much does it take for part-time officials to become full-time employees?

Whatever the “commitment to consistency and excellence” may be, it is undermined by the fact that NFL officials for the most part work part-time. While working part-time, they pay well for the opportunity to travel around the country and be at the center of the events of the biggest sport.

And as for the “incredible test” that officials face because of “the world we live in,” legal gambling has infiltrated that world. The check goes along with the territory. This is the territory the league has taken on given the many millions it can and will make from its various sportsbook partners.

But don’t take our word for it. In 2009, when the NFL fought in court to stop Delaware from legalizing gambling, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the following: “The usual incidents in the game, such as bad shots, missed passes, losses, penalty flags and game calls, will inevitably fuel speculation. mistrust. and accusations of rigging points and rigging the rules of the game.”

That’s where the “incredible test” came from. The World We Live In was partly created by the NFL’s stunning turnaround when it came to legalizing gambling, from hatred to love. And make a lot of money out of it.

So, please, spare us parting words and PR tricks. Telling officials that they are doing a great job and leaking a letter to the media is far from saying that officials are actually doing a great job. And that’s even less than spending the money needed to actually improve the judging function so scrutiny doesn’t lead to official government oversight of the sport and the NFL can’t have its own Tim Donaghy scandal.


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