Former NFL official: League's integrity 'tarnished'

Cedar Rapids' Quinby says replacement officials over their head

CEDAR RAPIDS - He didn’t see it live, but when former NFL official and Cedar Rapids native Bill Quinby woke up Tuesday – like every other American -- it was the first thing he heard.

“I go to bed early, but (Tuesday) morning when I had coffee at seven, I probably had three to four people come up and say ‘Did you see that play,’” Quinby said. “And one lady, a Packer-backer, came and said, ‘They should have you back there.’”

At 80 years old, Quinby laughed at the suggestion, but wasn’t so jovial about the final play she was referring to. In the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks’ Monday night matchup, Seattle heaved a Hail Mary as time expired that officials ruled a simultaneous catch. They then ruled the Seahawks’ Golden Tate wrestled away for the game-winning touchdown.

In an era of Twitter and Facebook, it’s rare to get a nation to agree. Monday night and Tuesday morning it happened. Nearly every fan, analyst and player agreed the replacement officials got the call wrong. After seeing the play himself, Quinby co-signed with America’s opinion.

“I personally feel that there was a pass interference, on the push in the back,” Quinby said. “…Basically the deep man on the end line who had been looking in and called the touchdown, should have called that. OK so that would have solved everything.”

Strike one.

“My opinion, that was a defensive interception,” Quinby said.

Strike two.

The final swing and miss comes from the NFL and the locked out referees in the fact they are still at the negotiating table, with no signs of leaving it.

“I feel the integrity of the league is really getting tarnished, until they get this over,” Quinby said. “We’ve had four weeks of this, and each week seems to get more controversial.”

Through the first four weeks replacement officials mishandled simple calls such as the amount of timeouts a team used, available challenges, and the spot of the ball.

Week four the issues became paramount with miscalls cluttering two nationally televised games on Sunday in Baltimore and culminating in Seattle on Monday.

“I won’t say the worst because I’m not that smart or an historian, but it’s probably the most controversial call, play at the end of a game that the NFL’s had in a long, long time,” Quinby said.

The replacement officials hail from football levels as high as Division II to as low as junior college and high school. They have obscure lines on their resumes such as XFL official. And some weren’t even successful in lower level leagues. The Lingerie League, a women’s professional league who’s players wear the equivalent to a bikini and shoulder pads, announced Monday it fired officials, who are now working in the NFL, due to incompetence.

“Most of them are probably good officials in their area. They are probably community leaders. Some might be lawyers, some might be teachers. They are good people,” Quinby said. “But they are in over their heads and it’s getting worse each week.”

Quinby on the other hand worked five years in the Iowa conference in Division III, 13 years in the Big Ten. And he needed very second of it before he his 17 years in the NFL including an appearance in Super Bowl XIX.

“The Big Ten is fast, but the NFL is much faster and much better athletes. I mean the way they can jump. The way they can cut. The way they handle themselves,” Quinby said.

Quinby also pointed out when the league hires new officials, it usually brings in three to four new faces a season. This year there are 140 replacement referees making their debut.

There are no signs of a resolution between the league and the locked out officials this week. The two sides met Sunday and left with just as much disagreement as they started.

The main issue going forward is over future pensions for officials, something the NFL has been reluctant to submit to.

Quinby, who said he has been treated very well by the NFL and the pension he received didn’t have any inclination when the full-time officials might return. But he did have a wishful timeline and a sentiment a lot of NFL fans would agree with.

Said, Quinby, “Well I think it should be solved soon.”


Like what you're reading?

We make it easy to stay connected:

to our email newsletters
Download our free apps

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.
Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.