NFL Offseason Recap (Carolyn Eichhorn and Emma Harring)

NFL Referee’s Locked Out!

When the National Football League announced that the regular referees
would not be attending and officiating pre-season games in June, no
one was exactly surprised. With the referees having been locked out of
the league since mid-June, replacement referees have been called to
officiate all preseason games. Now they will continue to officiate
regular season games until the lockout has ended.
It all started when the referee’s contract was up in the league and
the National Football League Referees Association (NFLRA) had to negotiate new contact terms including salary issues, retirement benefits, and operational proceedings. When they could not
agree on any certain terms, the lock out began.
Throughout the pre-season, the replacement referees have been
brutally attacked and criticized on their calls, decisions, and lack
of experience with refereeing professional games. Now that the regular
season has started off (the Cowboys played the Giants in Wednesday
night) everyone is concerned about how the change in officials will
impact the game. Most were stunned however with the quality of the
crew on Wednesday night, but that does not mean this pattern will
continue. Blown calls could mean games lost and possible injuries that
could have been prevented.
The NFL Referees Association and the league have yet to come close to
any agreement after several meetings about contract details. As of
September 6, no other meetings have been scheduled.

Effects of the Saints Bounty Program

This past spring the National Football League (NFL) announced that the
Saints defense had participated in a bounty program, also known as the
“bountygate”. Head defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, gave players
a bonus for intentionally injuring players of opposing teams. Over
twenty players partook in the bounty system from 2009-2011.
Punishments were handed out to the head coach, Sean Payton, general
manager, Mickey Loomis, and assistant coach, Joe Vitt. Four Saints
players who had “key” roles in the bounty program were also given
suspensions. Even with defensive players, Jonathan Vilma and Will
Smith, suspended for multiple games, the Saints still have a good shot
at a successful season, according to Athlon Sports.
The Saints have dealt with other challenges before and have thrived.
This year should be no different as long as their offense remains
dominant, and their defense finds ways to fill in the gaps left by
suspended players.

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