Full time refs in the CFL??? Never if the other league wont

By Rachel Cohen The Associated Press

last updated: January 02, 2009 05:41:21 AM

NEW YORK -- The gripes pour in from teams to the NFL office whenever a disputed call happens in a game.

And inevitably Mike Pereira, the league's vice president of officiating, will hear this refrain: "Why aren't the officials full-time?"

It's an issue that comes up any time a questionable call influences a game's outcome, and this season has certainly had its fair share of those. Pereira understands why people wonder that.

"It just doesn't sound right," he said. "It just doesn't ring right that you have the NFL and you have full-time players and coaches, and you have part-time officials."

NFL officials are part-time in the sense that most hold other jobs during the week. In the opinion of Pereira's counterpart in another sport where the group is full-time, Major League Baseball vice president for umpiring Mike Port, it's more a case of semantics than a reflection of their ability to operate effectively.

"Their folks may be designated as being part-time, but by the nature of the sport, they're about as full-time as they're going to get," Port said.

In baseball, umpires are full-time for the simple reason that there are games nearly every day of the week for them to work. NBA referees work 3-4 games a week. NFL teams, of course, play just once a week.

"Full-time doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be any better," Pereira said. "Other sports have other problems with their umpires or officials or whatever they are. I'd love to have full-time guys, but give me five games a week to work. That's the only way you get better is having more repetition, and there's just not that."

NFL officials' work for the league doesn't stop during the days between games when they're at their "regular" jobs, which must be flexible enough to allow for the double-duty.

"I think most people think they show up an hour before kickoff, and an hour after kickoff, they're at the bar having a beer," Pereira said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. It's surprising, really, how many hours they put (in)."

Officials are provided laptops by the NFL; after every game, they receive a DVD of the action and are expected to review it. The league then compiles a report on each game, given to officials by noon Tuesday. It may include questions about a particular call, and officials are asked to respond by that night.

Crews generally hold conference calls Tuesday or Wednesday night to discuss the report. Officials also must complete a weekly quiz of about 50 questions testing their knowledge of obscure rules by the end of each Sunday's game.

The NFL actually has a more structured process for reviewing games and calls than other leagues because of the infrequency of its games, Port said.

"We do so much more than any other sport does, but that's not to knock them," Pereira said. "They're playing every night. It's such a completely different model."

Officials take the first flight out Saturday morning to the site of their game. They meet with their crews for 3-4 hours later that day, then arrive at the stadium 2½ hours before the game Sunday. Pereira can't imagine how their weekly routine would be different even if they were full-time employees.

"They'd do what they do now," he said. "There's only so much you can do. There's only so much video to look at."

That’s actually a really good article. I think the CFL follows a similar routine for their officials, although I doubt they are grilled or given as much work to do during the week. I think the league itself has to work with the officials to set something like this up to help work with them to improve their officiating.

I thought the cfl did a good job in disciplining the ref, who threw out the Calgary player . It was against SK, the ref lied and said the Calgary player intentionally hit the ref. I think it was Labinjo,not sure. It was clear that he was shoved in by a sk player.
It would be nice if the cfl could start with 1 crew as full time and then go from there.

I believe it was Armour.

It is not fair that you say the ref lied. He was wrong, and obviously did not see the whole play.
If the NFL won’t hire any full time officials, the CFL will NEVER EVER do it.

If he didn't see the whole play,why would he go out of his way to say the hit was on purpose. The CFL demoted him to a senior league a couple days after the game. You need to be 100% sure , in that situation. If it's not lying then what is it ?

It seems that this forum is attracting people who are quick to call other people - who aren't here to defend themselves - liars.

I'll try reason with you. I don't think ayone is saying the ref didn't see the whole play. I suspect that the matter turned on the refs honest (but possibly mistaken) belief of intent on the part of Armour. For example, we see in hockey all the time that a defenceman pushes an opposing foward in the goal area and the forward runs into the goalie; ref makes a judgment call that the forward could have avoided contacting the goalie despite the push; offensive player says he was pushed and couldn't stop his momentum or at least it was incidental contact; ref believes he could have stopped and intended to run the goalie or at least made no effort not to do so, so gives a penalty. The ref may have been wrong in inferring intent and may be disciplined after the game but that doesn't instantly make him a liar. It means his boss considered that he exercised his judgment in an inappropriate manner, even if the ref honestly believed that the player who ran into the goalie did so intentionally. IDo you have it in you to see that this might be just as plausible?

Well I was there and saw it live. The ref made a mistake. Calling him a liar is a bit dramatic. That said, with replay, it was difficult to say 100% for sure what happened b/c the camera angle didn't clearly show anyone push Armour. Though it did appear it 'may' have happened. I suspect that the additional camera angles available to the league, i.e the full view camera that shows the entire field eliminated any doubt in the leagues mind that the fired ref screwed up. :rockin:

The CFL is fairly forgiving league,so there must be more to the situation that we don't know.
The CFL just doesn't fire you after one blown call. If that was the case,there would be no refs left and teams would have to use the honor system. The majority of the refs do a good job and will make mistakes like anybody else. The league understands that mistakes happen ,so it just seems strange this guy got the hook.

I agree. I would suspect that he has made some big mistakes in the past and this was the icing on the cake. The league refused comment on the firing, if I remember correctly.

There are also some folks here who clearly assume that an official who has been on the field for 15 years will do the same job as an official who is in their first year. If a player is having a bad game you can pull him part way through and sit him until next week or until you get to a practise field. Not the same for officials. If you're having a bad game you have a bad game for the entire game and there is no practise roster or a coach on the sidelines to get you back into the game. Well, there are lots of coaches but it's unlikely any of them have anything good to say.

Also, would the league really send a 10 year official back down to minor ball? No, probably not- they would just let him go. What the news media failed to mention was that a whole crew worth of officials were sent back to amateur ball after their 4-game stint in the pros. The incident with with Armour was coincident with the end of the "try out" period that the league has implemented with officials who are new to the league. Let me be clear - in your first year in the league you will probably only get 3-4 games and maybe less if you don't do well. Then they send you back to CIS and CJFL to get some more experience and work on the stuff that you need to work on. Your try-out period could last for two or three years, by the way, but I get the feeling that if you can't handle a full season by your third year there probably won't be a fourth.

One last thought and then I'll try to bring this thread back on topic. Be very careful when reading "expert opinion" on the game. The job of the news media is to build drama - even if none exists - and the "expert opinion" is frequently long on 'opinion' and short on 'expert'. The news media coverage of the Armour incident would have only been more complete had a headline read, "Official drug out into the parking lot and shot for bad call". There was a whole bunch of VERY irresponsible reporting and very, very little done in the way of fact finding. Saldy the whole lot of it was passed of as "expert opinion" and probably does more to harm the image of the game than build any interest.

Now, back to the original poster - the CFL will NEVER have full time officials and I think it's a shame. It seems to get passed off as 'self evident' that the officials should be full time property of the league. So far I haven't seen anybody argue that officials should be full time employees. I would; however, argue that there needs to be another look at compensation for game officials and here's why: There are some sacrifices that people generally aren't aware of. I think they should be compensated well so they can make a decision about other employment if they need/want it.

If you're a CFL official you had better have an extremely understanding employer. Imagine you live in Montreal and you have a BC game on Friday night. You have to be in town the night before, so you have to take a vacation day for Thursday to travel. You don't normally get your assignments until a week or so before the game (maybe two?) so your employer has to accomodate your vacation day request on short notice. Then, you have the game on Friday but you're not at work so you take a second vacation day. You get paid a few hundred $$ for the game. Now, imagine that you get 10 games in a season -- I would hope they aren't all Friday night games (or, during the summer, even worse would be a Thursday game where you take a vacation day on Wednesday, one for Thursday, and one for the return trip on Friday). In many parts of the country you're looking at two weeks of vacation in a year - 10 working days. Three Thursday games would chew up 9 days and then you'd be dipping into your own pocket to fund your love of the game for the next 5-6 games (estimated). Maybe your family would like some of your vacation time.

When folks talk about officials and hanging them out to dry when they make mistakes, these are the kinds of sacrifices they make that I'm thinking of. Officials have lost their jobs over the game and they've certainly had strained family relationships. So you might say, "cry me a river, if you can't handle it then don't ref the game". Really? As a fan of the league is that the best you can do? What kind of game would we have if the players had the same situation - that they needed to have regular, full-time jobs just to finance our entertainment? I can imagine that being a football player's wife isn't exactly a walk in the park, but at least she gets to see him and go on holidays as a family.

Meh - I've said too much.

CFL refs are being paid more than a couple hundred a game. It's not high school football where you ref for $50 a game and a couple cold ones smuggled in by the home team. Perhaps it's not the $70,000 that veteran NFL refs get but also some of our refs do the Thursday and Saturday games during the same week.

The CFL minimum requirements are 8 years reffing amateur football.

He did not lie! He said the hit was on purpose.....For him to have lied, he would have had to know that it was "NOT ON PURPOSE"

He was guilty of being wrong.....not lieing

At least the refs have instant replay now and they usually get the call right. This takes some of the pressure off these part time officials.

They may have used to work more than one game a week, but they only work one game a week now.
This is taken from an article a couple years ago...

"In his other life, Johnson is a partner in a Toronto software company. Steen works as a lawyer in Edmonton. Neither are getting rich off their part-time job in the CFL. In fact, officials receive between $550 and $850 per game"

Geez Ned, You are providing facts to the Ref Bashers..... You'll take all their fun away! :roll: :roll:

Be careful Ned, you admitted in another post of being tied into Officiating somehow....The bashers will be fitting you for a target soon! :roll: :roll:

That's okay. The haters will always be haters. Someone has to take the blame for everything, why not the officials.

The bashers can come out next fall to watch me work some high school games , or maybe even some peewee games and REALLY get some material... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Hey Ned,

Isn't it funny that there is no thread for the blown call in the NFL on this last weekend, where the Officials missed the play clock going to zero, but if that had happened in the CFl, well, guess what we would haveseen posted allready:

-Official biassed against (Submit CFL Team name)

-We need full time officials,

-Mark Cohon must do something about these guys

Silence about the NFL game is deafening!

I didn’t see that play but I heard the commentator talk about it.

He said that you have to realize that the ref has to look at the clock and then look to see if the ball has been snapped before he throws the flag. That could take a 1.5 to 2 seconds for him to make the call!!!!!

Are you kidding me? 2 seconds to move your eyes? When you should see both at the same time!

Maybe the NFL needs to get some refs with better peripheral vision and motor skills

Ro....how dare you critisize the almighty NFL and their abilities...... :roll: :roll: The CFL could learn a thing or two here. Just give me a minute to figure out what it is they could learn! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: