The NFL has an ongoing dispute with the NFL Referee’s Association over a new labor contract and it’s a classic talent management dilemma. On the one hand, the NFL is taking a posture that will give it leverage over the Referee’s Association and subsequently, the Player’s Association. However, pursuing a labor strategy is never that simple and any strategy has direct and indirect consequences, which also must be evaluated.
Here, the direct consequences are the lockout and the resulting use of temporary referees that lack experience. You could also say that a direct consequence was the crazy result in Monday night’s Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers game where Green Bay intercepted the pass but the temporary referee gave the touchdown to the Seahawks. In any event, the indirect consequences include negative publicity and loss of business reputation for the NFL and perhaps a safety violation claim from the Players Association since they are now voicing their concern about their safety with the temporary referees officiating the game.
Given the chaos, it seems that the NFL did not quite think through their talent management strategy