Ex-Replacement Ref Cherishes Memories Working for NFL
New York, NY
Now that regular referees are back calling the shots in the NFL, replacement officials will now sink into oblivion, bringing with them the bad memories of controversial calls that put the league in a bad light.
But for Jeff Sadorus, a former college official who worked as a field judge during the first three weeks of the season, he will cherish the memory of working for the NFL for the rest of his life, despite the bashing they received from coaches, players, fans, broadcasters and television hosts who made them a punch line.
"My daughter found the 'Call Me Maybe' video they did of us and showed it to me, and I had to laugh," Sadorus told the New York Times. "Honestly, sometimes during this whole thing it felt like the national pastime in this country had changed from football to bashing replacement officials," he added.
"Everyone wanted perfection, but come on: the last guy who was perfect they nailed to a cross. And he wasn't even an official," added Sadorus, who will now return to his old job at a food services company near Seattle.
At first, Sadorus thought that calling the shots in an NFL game was "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" but it came with many difficulties.
"Working these games was something I'd wanted to do forever," Sadorus said, "and there were some incredible moments. But there were also parts of this that I don't think anyone could have expected."
During the lockout, the replacement officials attended clinics, camps, exhibitions and games and piled up 25,000 miles of travel, not to mention that all of their calls are under "unprecedented scrutiny" by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Sadorus earned a generous $3,000 per game but it came with unending barrage of criticisms that dominated the news media. "It was the only thing on TV. It was everywhere," he said.
Sadorus also had a huge chunk of criticism thrown at him. He was the official who ruled that a Baltimore Ravens field goal that went over the top of an upright was good, giving Baltimore a victory over the New England Patriots.
Sadorus' call was later adjudged to be correct but he had already received criticism from the Patriots, including Coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick also grabbed one of Sadorus's crew mates as the official ran off the field. He was fined $50,000 by the league.
"We worked very, very hard. As demonized as we were, I hope people remember that we are people, too," Sadorus said.
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