The replacement officials have moved on, many of them back to the low college levels they came from where they will be able to work without the incredible scrutiny there was in the NFL.
Now, some of them are finally speaking out about the experience after being prevented from speaking with media as part of normal NFL rules regarding officials.
Sam Borden of the New York Times caught up with Jeff Sadours, who was singled out earlier for working a Seattle Seahawks game after he had been a paid official at practices for the club over the years, a conflict of interest.
“Honestly, sometimes during this whole thing it felt like the national pastime in this country had changed from football to bashing replacement officials,” Sadorus said. “Everyone wanted perfection, but come on: the last guy who was perfect they nailed to a cross. And he wasn’t even an official.”
The burden was tremendous as replacement officials moved from sports programs to news programs with the public outraged the NFL did not have the regular officials in place.
“Working these games was something I’d wanted to do forever,” Sadorus told Borden, “and there were some incredible moments. But there were also parts of this that I don’t think anyone could have expected.
“We weren’t there to take anyone’s job; we were there to provide a service,” Sadorus said. “The games were going to get done by someone. It’s the old saying: without officials, it’s just recess.
“We worked very, very hard. As demonized as we were, I hope people remember that we are people, too.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune