The big name stars that change teams garner most of the free agency headlines. But the real free agency that could have the biggest impact on the league is the flock of referees fleeing the field for the broadcast booth, writes Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Volin points out that a number of high profile referees such as Gene Steratore, Terry McAulay, Ed Hochuli, and Jeff Triplette all won’t be back next season, leaving a void in referee leadership.
Volin writes that it’s “another tough blow for NFL officiating”, and longtime NFL official Mike Pereira adds that he’s “never been involved in a season” where there was so much turnover. A total of nine officials are retiring, including the four crew chiefs mentioned above. Volin points out that it could create headaches for the league having so many new inexperienced officials for the upcoming season with several new rule changes. Another former longtime official told Volin the NFL hasn’t “done a good job of preparing for this turnover.”
Here’s more from the football universe:
- Retired wide receiver Percy Harvin struggled with migraines and mental health issues that ultimately shortened his career, and now he’s opening up about them. During an interview with Michael McKnight of SI.com. Harvin revealed he had “mental stresses that I can’t even put into words” during his playing days, saying he was often playing games having gotten no sleep in the days before.
- As the debate over what the Buccaneers should do with Jameis Winston rages on, FloridaFootballInsiders took a look at all of the Bucs’ potential options, including releasing Winston immediately. They think if the team does decide to cut Winston “it will come quickly” and that the “financial hit is not that significant” if they chose to do so.
- In case you missed it, the XFL will reportedly be much better funded this time around.