Ex-NFL Official Red Cashion on Replacement Refs: 'They're Just Way Overmatched.'
By: The Football Girl | Posted: September 26, 2012
Just like much of America, ex-NFL official Red Cashion watched Monday night’s Green Bay-Seattle game. But unlike much of America, Cashion’s mouth was not agape when the last play of the game was called a touchdown and not overturned in the review booth.
“I’m not surprised,” Cashion told TheFootballGirl.com Tuesday. “The replacement officials are getting a lot of criticism. It’s really not fair because they’re just way overmatched. “
Cashion, who started his NFL officiating career in 1972 and is most famous for his “first doowwnnn” call, had been one of nine referee trainers the NFL uses to re-train officials each year. (Out of respect to the union, Cashion, Jerry Markbreit and the others declined to train the replacement refs.)
As a referee trainer, Cashion’s focus has been on communication. He works with officials to ensure they articulate calls correctly in a semi-private manner to players and coaches, and publicly to the television audience. In other words, Cashion trains them not to call a penalty on “93 red,” or to announce an infraction as “Holding. Offense. 15 yards” without naming a culprit.
Photo courtesy of Red Cashion
Even if Cashion had made his services available to the replacement refs, he doesn’t think it would have done much good on such a short-term basis.
“It just takes training,” he said. “Years and years and years of experience are necessary to handle all the situations that are thrown out there. “
While Cashion was not as surprised as most by the officiating gaffe on Monday night, he was still deeply disappointed.
“It’s not right for a team to lose a game because of an officiating call,” Cashion said. “The regular officials make mistakes, but they don’t make that kind of mistake.”
He hopes this replacement referee experiment will illustrate the complexities of the pro game.
“You can’t take somebody that’s never seen that speed, that intensity or played in front of 90.000 people and expect them to do a good job. It’s just not fair,” Cashion said.
Talks continue between the NFL and the NFLRA (NFL Referees Association), and conventional wisdom would say Monday’s outcome-changing error would accelerate a deal.
But until that happens Red Cashion knows the league is putting out an inferior product.
“One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about the NFL is it’s always stood for the very best, and I just think that somehow they have to have the regular officials back to play the game at the level and fairness that they need to be playing.”
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