The head of NFL referees is lobbying for the league to eliminate penalties for touchdown celebrations.
Players and fans across the league support this rule to be eliminated as well, but NFL headquarters does not seem to feel the same way and as a result the celebration penalty will still be enforced…for now.
Scott Green of the NFL Referees Association is making an argument that the on-field officials are being put in a tough spot and would prefer the league handle the celebration penalty through fines.
“Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone,” Green said recently on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Sporting News. “We don’t really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great.”
“The issue we’ll still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether it’s a foul or not a foul, hopefully we’ll get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.”
Green said there are NFLRA members willing to officiate at offseason practices if asked by the league.
“We agreed to that (full-time hiring) as potentially being something that could be done,” said Green, referring to the labor deal signed between the league and NFLRA in 2012. “There are a lot of issues there. What’s the pay going to be? What are the responsibilities? None of that has been defined at this point.
“Most of our guys don’t get in the league until their late 30s or early 40s. Obviously, they’ve developed a career in whatever it might be elsewhere. The initial concern would be if the (NFL) compensation is comparable to what they’re receiving currently. But also from a standpoint of job security, some of the guys may have professions that it’s not quite so easy to go back to should they get hurt or let go as an NFL official.”
The NFL announced Friday that Dean Blandino, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, is leaving the league to pursue other opportunities.
Green hopes the league finds someone who has the on-field background that Blandino did not have in his career.
“We would like to see them hire one of our current or former folks who has been on the field in the NFL and has some supervisory experience,” said Green, who served as a field judge, back judge and referee for 23 seasons (1991 to 2013). “We think it’s crucial. Everybody can see a lot of things watching it on TV or video. But knowing what it’s like to be out there with 22 large, extremely talented individuals running around for three hours, there are a lot of nuances as far as being in or out of position.
“Some of that stuff, you just have to have been out there to really appreciate. When it comes down to evaluating officials and how they’re doing, it’s a little more comforting for all of our guys to know, hey, the guy who is doing the grading has been there. He knows.