by Greg Enslen, 10/03/12

Week Four in the National Football League was a sigh of relief for many fans as the Official Refs returned to the league to officiate games after they and the NFL resolved their ongoing contract disputes, ending the walkout. For one, I might miss those poorly-ref’ed games—they certainly made things more interesting!

Return of the Real Refs

The replacement officials are gone, and the games this weekend seemed more calm and evenly-paced. Perhaps the players and staff knew what they were getting, or they were no longer actively “gaming” the system—after all, it was a crap shoot what penalties the replacement refs would make, or miss—but the games seemed refreshingly free of baffling penalties, awkward mistakes, and mind-numbing delays. It shouldn’t take ten minutes for a group of officials to determine where to place the ball on the field. And the games seemed faster—most of the 1pm games were over by 4pm.

But Susan, a reader, sent me an interesting article pointing out some of the NFL’s problems, which were brought into sharp contrast by the officiating fiascoes over the last three weeks: the games are too long, the rules are too confusing and not consistently applied, and players are getting hurt too often. Having these replacement refs struggling with the arcane and complicated rules in the league points out that they need to reviewed and simplified. If they’re too convoluted to easily explain, they need rethinking…