Opinion: We need younger referees in the NFL

Make the league great again!


Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Referees converse at the Falcons vs Ravens game on October 19, 2014.

Dylan Shields, Opinions Editor

Let’s cut to the chase.  There’s not the best relationship between the NFL fan base and their officials.  There’s been a lot of controversial events like the strike in 2012 where refs didn’t like how they were getting paid, which forced replacement refs to step in.  It didn’t work that well at all.

There’s also been many controversial calls that have occurred in the past decade.  From the Johnson and Bryant no catch, to the Jesse James catch overturned, and to the no pass interference call in the Saints vs Rams NFC Championship Game.

The NFL has since tried to improve on this with the Microsoft Surface Tablet and now they can review pass interference penalties.  However, there’s an issue where I think if they can fix this, the league will improve.

The NFL needs younger officials.  Now, let me explain.  According to wikihow.com, the average age of an NFL official is 51 years old!  That’s way too old for officiating.  Here’s a couple of reasons why we need more 20-35-year-old referees.

The main reason is that they are more fit.  Usually, the older you age, the sorer your legs will get, resulting in people not being able to function as fast.  The quickness of today’s NFL game will affect these officials due to having to run up the field after every play and having to place the ball at the line of scrimmage, which will affect their legs dramatically.  With younger officials, they can move quicker, and make the game be a lot smoother.

Secondly, older officials can tend to be old school, not knowing the regular rules in the NFL.  I understand that experience is better.  But at the same time, younger people tend to figure out the new rules better.  When the officials are all in their 50’s, they will tend to be old school.  Hence, this is why a lot of calls are reversed on catches, and why a lot of pass interference calls stand because of the new rules.  With younger people, they will actually figure out and adjust to these new rules.

The final reason is that younger officials will take common sense over the rules.  At times in the NFL, they need to take common-sense instead of the rule.  For example, why is that when Tom Brady gets touched, officials will call roughing the passer?  It’s to protect their quarterbacks.  However, if there are younger people, they will take common sense over the rules to make the fans pleased instead of not on their side.

Overall, many things need to change when it comes to officiating.  However, having younger officials taking charge will make the game fun to watch again.

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