The day after the NFL and NFLRA announced a new eight-year agreement, people around the league are starting to weigh in--mostly positive. Here are the thoughts of a few Patriots players about the return of the regular officials (courtesy of ESPN Boston)
Special Teams Captain Matthew Slater:
Any sense of relief that a deal is done?
"It's obviously encouraging that they got that whole situation resolved, it was really a tough situatin for all parties involved. I don't think you can point the finger at anyone, but fortunately they got it worked out. But we can't spend too much time thinking about who's calling the game, we've just got to continue to prepare and do our jobs and I'm sure at some point we're going to get mad or upset at a call these guys make, that's just the reality of it. We've just got to move on, but I'm happy it got resolved."
Is the biggest thing that there is a certain quality that you expect out of refs that the regular refs bring?
"I think that's big for us, to know that we're out there with guys that are going to do their best to keep us safe by making the right calls, and it really comes down to player safety. We want to be safe out there on that field, we want to make sure that the rules are being abided by, and that we are taken care of and that the game is fair for everybody involved."
Does it feel weird to see everybody so excited about the refs?
"It does, definitely. Those guys have a tough job to do. There were a lot of situations that came up with the guys that were in there for them, but they were put in a tough spot. They did the best that they could. It's good to have these guys back, who have had some experience calling big games and have been in tough situations. Now we're all moving forward."
Defensive End Trevor Scott:
Glad to see the officials issue settled?
"Yeah I saw that, and it'll be good to have them back. We've just got to worry about ourselves though."
Do you agree it will be a safer workplace?
"Yeah, I agree with that."
How much will the refs coming back affect the play on the field?
"That'd be tough for anybody to come in like that, especially when you're a replacement ref like that. Like I said, it's good to have them back this week."
Offensive Tackle Nate Solder:
How happy are you that the real refs are back?
"I don't know, we'll see."
Are you relieved that experienced refs are back?
"I'm not going to say much about that, I don't know exactly what's going to happen with that."
Defensive End Rob Ninkovich:
What are your thoughts on the agreement between the league and the officials?
"After three weeks, they were a bigger deal than people thought [it would be]. [Now] everyone can just stop worrying about that and play football. ... The whole official thing was something that was out of our control to begin with. You're really not going into a game thinking about if there is going to be a flag thrown here; you're really just focusing in on playing football and now that they're back, everything can cool down with the media. The new refs are back, so everyone is still going to yell when a flag is thrown, no matter who is out there throwing them."
Linebacker Jerod Mayo:
There won't be any more questionable penalty calls, right?
"I wish [laughing]. No matter who's out there making the calls, there's going to be some issues."