Bernie Kukar spent 22 years as an NFL official, and is now working work Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier as a consultant. Kukar has a master understanding of the NFL rules, and knows first-hand what it's like to officiate a game.
He shared his take on the controversy with FOX 9 News.
Has having the replacement refs in changed the game significantly?
I think it has. I‘ve watched every single game so far, including preseason involving the Vikings. And it looks to me like the players are getting more aggressive, there doing things they think they can get away with a little bit more, and you can see it on the field. They are getting away with it. That's part of the problem.
Is there frustration among the Vikings coaching staff?
I think there is, and there should be. There's a lot of things that happen in a football. Just as an example, last week I took the Vikings tape and looked at the calls that were called. Of the 25 that I looked at, 12 of them were incorrect. There's going to be about a five year learning cycle before you know what's going on, on an NFL football field. So you're throwing them out there and I think the only training they got was – the league said they would train them for two months. I don't think so.
Do you feel bad for the replacement officials?
I do and I don't. This is a brotherhood. The officiating business is a brotherhood, and you don't do anything to damage that brotherhood and they are. So I don't feel sorry for them in that respect. If the league would have given the (regular) officials what they asked for, it would amount to like $6,000 a game, which amounts to like $100,000 per club for the year. They spend more on that in paper, for crying out loud. So I don't understand what the NFL is trying to do on this issue. It's a power play.