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Don Corleone

NFL fires down judge Hugo Cruz, effective immediately

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The NFL has taken the highly unusual step of firing down judge Hugo Cruz for performance reasons, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

Cruz last worked in Week 6 and is no longer an NFL employee.

Cruz, who joined the NFL in 2015, was responsible for one high-profile mistake this season. He missed an obvious false start by Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Russell Okung on a scoring play in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He did not work in Week 7.

Otherwise, the details of the league's decision -- including other mistakes Cruz is presumed to have made -- are unknown. An NFL spokesman declined to comment and representatives of the NFL Referees Association did not respond to a request for comment.

The news was first reported by FootballZebras.com, which tracks college and pro football officiating trends. According to the website, the NFL has never fired an official in-season during the Super Bowl era because of performance.

Sources reached by ESPN insisted there was no indication that Cruz committed an off-field mistake or that his firing was in any way disciplinary.

The NFL grades officials on their performance on every play of every game. The league has occasionally suspended or re-assigned officials for mistakes of game administration, but it evaluates their careers on a yearly basis by placing each in one of three tiers.

Tier I is for the top performers, Tier II is for mid-level grades and Tier III is for the worst-performing officials in a given year. Historically, two consecutive seasons in the third tier makes an official vulnerable to termination.

That system is designed to prevent instant evaluations based on a single mistake or a series of closely-timed mistakes.

The NFL's quick decision on Cruz will send shock waves through the officiating ranks. Officials who once could be assured that their season would be evaluated through a larger lens will now be left to wonder if they could receive a career-ending phone call after one bad game.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25082276/nfl-fires-judge-hugo-cruz-effective-immediately

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The NFL's quick decision on Cruz will send shock waves through the officiating ranks. Officials who once could be assured that their season would be evaluated through a larger lens will now be left to wonder if they could receive a career-ending phone call after one bad game.

 

I say good. Some of the calls have been nightmarishly bad this season. These guys have a tough job, no question, but some of the no-calls and ticky tack calls, especially the RTQB calls have gotten ridiculous.

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1 hour ago, madriver said:

The NFL's quick decision on Cruz will send shock waves through the officiating ranks. Officials who once could be assured that their season would be evaluated through a larger lens will now be left to wonder if they could receive a career-ending phone call after one bad game.

 

I say good. Some of the calls have been nightmarishly bad this season. These guys have a tough job, no question, but some of the no-calls and ticky tack calls, especially the RTQB calls have gotten ridiculous.

I agree many of those have been ridiculous, but I would put it more towards the rule itself, or the lack of clarity of how exactly it is supposed to be called.

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They can fire tonight's crew as well

The overturn on the fumble was crap

  • Any reversal requires certainty of Brock's intent (pass vs pull it back)
  • Replay is not about making a new call. Its about correcting obvious bad calls

Forcing them back on the field for the illegal formation was criminally asinine.

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From one extreme to the other. 

From zero accountability to termination.

Why is this so complicated for professional sports? When an official f's up, especially when it drastically affects the outcome of a game/match fine/suspend/etc like everybody else. 

We're all beyond sick and tired of officials across all sports, butchering calls, and scoffing at anyone who questions them and then the leagues sending out apologies on their behalf. We don't want apologies from the league. That's the equivalent of having somebody run a stop sign, hit your car, claim it was your fault, then having their insurance company send you a letter saying it was their fault and apologizing about it but saying tough ish.

We just want some accountability. That's it. We know people make mistakes including officials but everyone should be held accountable for their mistakes intentional or not.

 

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On 10/26/2018 at 4:10 AM, vincent_NJG said:

From one extreme to the other. 

From zero accountability to termination.

Why is this so complicated for professional sports? When an official f's up, especially when it drastically affects the outcome of a game/match fine/suspend/etc like everybody else. 

We're all beyond sick and tired of officials across all sports, butchering calls, and scoffing at anyone who questions them and then the leagues sending out apologies on their behalf. We don't want apologies from the league. That's the equivalent of having somebody run a stop sign, hit your car, claim it was your fault, then having their insurance company send you a letter saying it was their fault and apologizing about it but saying tough ish.

We just want some accountability. That's it. We know people make mistakes including officials but everyone should be held accountable for their mistakes intentional or not.

 

Agreed. Fines. Marks against with escalating discipline. Like most jobs have.

 

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There are two sides to this. The Ref's wanted to be full time employees of the NFL. They got what they wanted. We all know that the NFL front office is extremely controlling, particularly under Goodell. It should surprise no one that the NFL would exercise their desired level of control as the employer by breaking from tradition and firing this guy. Getting a job as a full time Ref in the NFL was going to be highly competitive and we should concede that there would be nepotism at play as well. When that happens, substandard people get some of those jobs. Weeding them out will require terminations for poor performance and the NFL needs the ability to accomplish that through some reasonable disciplinary process. 

The only thing that bothers me is that if the NFL front office has full and unfettered control over the Ref's, then they stand to fall victim to the temptation of influencing outcomes of games based on profitability analysis of market research, by holding the hammer of termination over the heads of their newly minted full time employees.

The Ref's need a CBA with the league to ensure a fair and even handed disciplinary process is in place and adhered to. The NFL needs to be able to get rid of bad employees, but employees need reasonable protection against malice on the part of the employer. They have to find balance, and I suspect over time, they will. The alternative is becoming the National Fixedball League, and that's bad for everyone.

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