Un-locked: Local NFL ref returns to the field

Former Albemarle supervisor David Wyant says he got the email at 3:30am Thursday morning. He was going back to work. Wyant, an NFL referee for 22 years (there are only seven other guys in the League who've been at it longer), says he's already been assigned to the Dallas/Bears game on Monday Night Football and leaves for three days of clinics on Friday.

"We thought we could just go ahead and renew the old contract, but the League had other ideas," he says about the new contract, which was hammered out in a marathon session over the last two days, following a disastrous call at the end of the Packers/Seahawks game last Monday that gave the Seahawks the win. Football fans across the nation, especially Packers fans, were outraged. "But that's okay. It's just big business. We got all the basic stuff."

"They did as well as they could," says Wyant, 65, about the replacement referees, "but it's a whole different ball game at that level. It's the toughest job I've ever had."

This from a man who worked as a VDOT engineer for 30 years, and navigated the local political landscape as a County Supervisor.

"It's nice they got a chance to be on an NFL field," says Wyant. "It was a dream to many of those young guys, but they were under tremendous pressure."

The replacement refs were from the college arena, and Wyant says it's completely new territory at the NFL level. For instance, college refs typically have a 10-game schedule, whereas in the NFL you have a 20-game schedule.

"It's about endurance and game concentration at the NFL level," says Wyant. "You have to completely concentrate the whole three hours, every game. It can take its toll throughout the season."

Wyant says he's excited to be back doing something he loves.

"It's a fascinating job, and I've been lucky to be doing it for so long," he says. "I'm close with a lot of coaches, and the thing is, they are all great people. I like some better than others, but they are nice people. That's what I'll miss most when I retire."

This time, considering how much the fans have disliked the replacement refs, official refs like Wyant could get a little fan love when they hit the field.

"That will be short-lived," Wyant laughs. "After the first couple of bad calls they'll probably be screaming to have the replacement refs back."

Read more on: David Wyant


"That will be short-lived," Wyant laughs. "After the first couple of bad calls they'll probably be screaming to have the replacement refs back."

Truer words were never spoke.

What exactly got my previous comment eaten?

1. David Wyant was elected as a Republican.
2. Virginia is a right-to-work state.
3. David Wyant is going back to work as an NFL referee due to the fact that he belongs to a union.

Nothing insulting, disparaging, unverifiable, libelous, or even off-topic.

@ Da Troof: You've got it exactly correct. David Wyant is a very nice man. But he's also a conservative Republican who spent his years on the county Board of Supervisors siding with fellow conservative Ken Boyd. Presumably Wyant will vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and their goofy "budget" plan that would gut Medicare and Medicaid, cut taxes on corporations and the rich, and pass the bill along to everybody else.

According to Reuters, the NFL and the referees "settled on a new deal that gives officials higher salaries and improved retirement benefits." These are the things that Republicans have been trying to undermine for regular workers for quite some time elsewhere in the country (does Wisconsin ring a bell?).

The NFL refs, however, are hardly regular workers. For most refs, the job is part-time. And it pays quite well. According to the Washington Post the deal struck between the NFL and Wyant's union "runs through the 2019 season and gives significant raises to the officials, who are part-time employees. The average NFL official earned $149,000 last year. Under the new deal, that is to increase to an average of $173,000 in 2013 and $205,000 in 2019." In the county, however, Wyant and Boyd and their conservative brethren supported an artificial "market" for teacher salaries that grouped Albemarle County with poorer and much poorer localities and that, in effect, not only purposefully reduced salaries but also retirement benefits.

Meanwhile, in the NFL, Wyant and his fellow the refs were on strike over salaries and retirement benefits The Post reported that the refs and the NFL "had been particularly at odds over pensions, which seemed to emerge as the major sticking point late in the negotiations. Referees wanted to retain their pension plan, which the league apparently considered too generous, particularly for part-time employees. The NFL wanted to switch the officials to 401(k) retirement plans. The compromise that was struck, according to an announcement by the league about the terms of the deal, would keep the pension plan in place for current officials for five years through the 2016 season."

So, Wyant was on strike from a job that paid an average of nearly $150,000 for part-time work, and that included a pension. Yet, he's a conservative Republican who has supported typical Republican fare on the county board, who's taken big contributions from builders and developers, and who contributed more than $4000 to his fellow conservative, Ken Boyd.

David Wyant is a nice man. Sure. But like most other conservatives, he's also a hypocrite.


While we understand that it is an election year, and folks are fired up about politics, this article is not about politics. It's a story about an NFL ref going back to work. Nowhere in the piece are the words republican, democrat, right-to-work, union, conservative, or liberal used in the story. Its about NFL football and being an NFL ref. It's a light-hearted sports story. What's more, Mr. Wyant is no longer involved in politics. I'm sorry, but dragging this particular story into a discussion about your own political beliefs (however intelligent and convincing), as opposed to Mr. Wyant's (which he did not get to address), is indeed off topic here.

So, what do you think of the officiating since the real refs came back?

Based on your criteria for dumping my first post, I think YOUR officiating is worse than the replacement refs.

The next time I come across one of your puff pieces, I promise to keep my comments suitably vapid.