Ray Anderson: NFL 'officiating is never perfect'


Editors note: Ray Anderson is the NFL's executive vice president of football operations. Below is an op-ed piece Anderson wrote for USA Today:

The hallmark of great American institutions is their ability to get better. The NFL has evolved into America's passion because of a willingness to make tough decisions that ensure long-term growth and improvement of the game.

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This was the case last off-season in the dispute with the players' union. There was short-term discomfort. But by working together, we were able to come to an agreement that was fair to the players and provided long-term certainty for our fans.

We have approached the dispute with the game officials union with a similar game plan to achieve long-term stability and improve our officiating.

No one wants to see the outcome of a game determined by an official's call, but it has happened several times in the past. Officiating is never perfect.

There is broad agreement that the quality and consistency of officiating can and should be improved. How to accomplish that is a critical issue separating the two sides in this negotiation.

The officials' union would like to turn this into purely an economic dispute. We are prepared to make reasonable compromises on economic issues, including an average annual salary that will rise close to $200,000 and a generous retirement plan that exceeds what most Americans receive, provided we can obtain agreement to reforms that will improve the long-term quality and consistency of officiating.

We have made a number of specific proposals to accomplish that, including by developing a deeper talent pool trained in NFL officiating earlier and more intensively. We propose retaining some officials on a full-time basis and adding additional officials for development and other purposes that will only serve to make our game better.

The union has been resisting these reforms.

We recognize the current officials are facing unprecedented scrutiny. We are committed to do all we can to help them continue to improve.

We appreciate the passion and patience of our fans as we continue to work hard to reach a fair agreement as soon as possible so we all can continue to enjoy our game today and improve it in the years ahead.



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