NFL field judge Boris Cheek said while the league and the regular officials are meeting, he doesn’t know if the latest controversial call Monday night in the Green Bay-Seattle game will expedite the end of the lockout.
He said it wasn’t a tough call, ”our grandmoms sitting at home can probably make that call.”
Cheek, an NFL official for 17 years, says the ruling on the game-winning touchdown by Golden Tate was the result of a breakdown in mechanics and communication by the replacement officials.
The call has raised hopes the regular officials will be back soon.
Cheek said the lockout is not ”good for the game of football” and the regular officials ”want to go to back to work, but it has to be the right deal for 121 guys.”
”I’ve not heard anything at this point,” Cheek said when asked if the lockout was nearing an end. ”We all want to get back to work and do what we love doing. We’re taking it minute by minute and day by day and we’re trying to be professionals. … All I’ve heard is that they’re meeting.”
The sense of urgency to get the regular officials back on the field seems to have increased after the replacement crew ruled Tate’s touchdown catch as a simultaneous possession, which resulted in the game-winning score.
Replays appeared to show Tate not only got away with offensive pass interference, but also didn’t have possession of the football.
”I’m a wide receiver and I’ve always rooted for a wide receiver, but that wasn’t a catch,” Carolina’s Steve Smith said. ”I will just be honest. If he had two hands on the ball, great. But he had one hand slightly on the ball and his left hand is hugging the guy who actually has possession of the ball.”
When Cheek was asked about the bad call in Monday night’s game, he laughed and said, ”Which one?”
Then Cheek addressed the final play, saying he believes the call was the result of a communication breakdown between the officials.
”As a referee we are trained to find out what happened first and then have replays to find out if (what we called) is accurate,” Cheek said. ”I think it was a lack of communication.”
Cheek said the calls are an indication of how valuable regular officials – who have proven experience working NFL games – are to the integrity of the league.
”Honestly, those (replacement officials) are in a tough situation out there,” Cheek said. ”There’s no way. … I mean, it’s tough to keep up with the speed of this game with such short training. That is tough. I mean really tough. And that was a big play. But that is why we get paid. We get paid to make those calls. When you are in that arena you have to make that call and make it right.
”That is what distinguishes guys who work Division III, Division I and the NFL.”
He hopes that soon all of this talk of a lockout will be a thing of the past and that negotiators can work out the details and he can get back to work.
As of Wednesday afternoon, however, he had not received any word on the possibility of working an NFL game this weekend.
”I don’t know what is motivating everyone,” Cheek said of the negotiations. ”I don’t know. I’m not privy to that information. But it’s not good for the game of football and the NFL.”