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Former NFL Referee Red Cashion: “You Have a Bunch of People Working These Games that is Beyond Them”

Mason “Red” Cashion has a ton of experience as an official. He started officiating all the way back in 1952 and spent 25 years in the NFL, where he reffed two Super Bowls. Cashion still works for the NFL and is responsible for training NFL referees. He has to be shaking his head during every NFL game with these replacement officials making mistake after mistake after mistake. It has gone too far and things have to change soon before another team loses a game on a botched call like the Packers did Monday night.

Former NFL Official Mason “Red” Cashion joined 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston with Felger and Mazz to talk about what happened at the end of the Monday Night Football game, if he thinks the demands of the officials are that big of a deal, why he refused to train the replacement officials, if he had a bigger problem with how the officials handled the end of the game or the call itself and whether Bill Belichick should be suspended or fined for grabbing an official.

What happened at the end of the Monday Night Football game?:

“Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. I don’t really know what happened. The problem that you have is you have a bunch of people working these games that is beyond them. Let me give you a parallel, if (Tom) Brady went down and they announced the afternoon of a Thursday night game that they brought in a replacement from a school you never heard of and you would assume that he could throw the ball but what would be your expectations about what kind of game he would have if you were playing Pittsburgh that night? The guys have not had time to learn the rules, they have never seen the skill of these players and they don’t know how the thing works, including the rule having to do with the simultaneous catch and it’s just a shame that the officials and the NFL can’t get together because the game is not going to be the same until the regular refs get back.”

Whether he thinks the demands of the officials are that big of a deal to continue this lockout:

“I don’t know the answer and that has been the biggest mystery to me. I don’t think it’s that big of an issue but I’m not involved in the negotiations and the owners sure haven’t asked me any questions or given me any answers, so I don’t really know, but one of the things that I have always enjoyed in my 40 years with the NFL is that it is absolutely a first-class organization and everything they have done is to be the best there is. (Host: I think that is changing Red.) I don’t know how to comment on that. I would hope that providing the best product they can to the fan is still their number one goal.”

Why he refused to train replacement officials:

“We work very closely in training with the regular officials. We don’t file reports with the league office; we don’t have anything to do with the grading as trainers are concerned. So our concern, we thought for the best of the league, when the regular officials get back, that the trainers were concerned about what the reception would be and how effective we would be if in fact we would have helped the temporary officials. So on that basis, all nine of us agreed we would not work to train the temporary officials because we felt it would be detrimental, later, to our job of trying to train and work with the regular officials.”

If he had a bigger problem with the call at the end or the way things were handled at the end:

“More so the way it was handled, I have to tell you, and I understand that the league has stated today that they have confirmed the call. I’m looking at it from one angle and that is the angle the TV presented. They have many angles of TV, plus all of NFL Films and I acknowledge that it’s possible that they saw something in one of those shots that I didn’t see and on the basis of that, they want to stick with the call and that’s entirely possible. And quite frankly, quite often when you get all the multiple angles that TV furnishes along with the coaches’ tapes and NFL Films, you do find something that you didn’t see even in high definition TV. But that doesn’t explain why, when two officials disagree, that the referee didn’t go and talk to the two officials and try to decide which call to go with.”

What the punishment should be for Bill Belichick grabbing an official:

“I think Bill should probably get some kind of fine as far as that is concerned. I do think that we try as officials to communicate with coaches both in good times and bad and that means for both of us. I think the official owes him the respect of, Bill said he was wanting to talk and I think he is owed that courtesy. I don’t think you run away from any coach. That’s not the way we operate and that’s not the relationship the officials want with the coaches. I have sympathy for both sides. I dont think that Bill had any business putting his hands on him but on the other hand, he wanted to stop him and I think the official should stop and talk.”

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