From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says possibly using replacement referees for regular-season games is worthwhile to ensure long-term improvements to officiating.The league and the NFL Referees Association have yet to reach an agreement, and Goodell acknowledged Thursday that time was running out to make the regular officials available for the openers."We're anxious to get a deal done, but it has to get done that it's going to help us for the long term," Goodell said at a fantasy football event in Times Square. "It's not a short-term issue."Of the replacement refs who have been calling preseason games, Goodell said: "We think they'll do a very credible job."Officials probably need a week to 10 days to prepare for the season, Goodell said, and the first game is Sept. 5, 13 days away. The first full Sunday of games is Sept. 9.NFLRA lead negotiator Mike Arnold said Thursday that officials have been training on their own during the lockout and would need less than a week to prep."We're ready to go," he said.While the NFL and officials disagree on some financial matters, Goodell also characterized the differences as "philosophical." The NFL's proposal includes making some refs full-time -- currently all game officials work part-time with outside jobs -- and adding more crews.Arnold said that the union was open to discussing such issues but any proposal to increase the number of officials while decreasing the pay for current refs was not viable.Increasing the pool of officials would allow the league to replace individual officials or entire crews that are not performing well, Goodell said."Then it's based on performance, which is what fans all want, players all want, coaches all want," he said.The replacement officials have been closely scrutinized during the preseason, with any error quickly pointed out by media and fans."It's not our job to judge the replacements, because their performance speaks for itself," Arnold said.Goodell said he wasn't concerned that teams and fans would question the credibility of results if that inevitable first disputed call of the season takes place while replacement officials are on the field."We have controversial calls. Officiating is an imperfect science," he said. "They're not going to be correct all the time, but we have systems in place to try to help. We have instant replay, as an example, to try to help correct those mistakes. ... It's like any game. We get calls every Monday from fans, from coaches, from teams upset about a particular call. That happens. And it will happen going forward regardless of who's on the field."
Melo Trimble is the straw that stirs the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins' drink, and during the team's most important week of the regular season, we saw just how important he is.
The junior guard scored a career-high 32 points in a pivotal road victory against a NCAA Tournament-bound Northwestern team, and followed it up with 27 points in a tough road loss against then No. 11 Wisconsin.
The two-game performance was enough for the Big Ten to award Trimble with Player of the Week honors, the fourth time he has received the award.
Trimble made 12 of his 17 field goal attempts against the Wildcats, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. He also contributed three assists and grabbed four rebounds. Against Wisconsin, he scored the bulk of his 27 points in the second half, but struggled from the free throw line, making just 5 of his 10 attempts.
Against the Wildcats, Trimble carried the load, putting the team on his back, and it was more than enough.
He attempted to do the same against the Badgers, but needed some extra help. That's where the Terps have struggled this season. Freshman Justin Jackson, Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan have the ability to do so, but they are still just freshman, meaning consistent output on the road late in the season is far from a guarantee.
But one thing is for sure, Melo Trimble continues to prove that he is the type of player that can single-handily carry a team to the NCAA Tournament's second weekend.
The Big Ten knows this, and it won't be long before the rest of the country does too.
The Maryland Terrapins finished their toughest week of Big Ten play with a 1-1 split, defeating the surprisingly strong Northwestern Wildcats 74-64, before falling to the No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers in Madison on Sunday, 71-60.
The loss was the Terps' third in five games since rising to as high as the No. 17 team in the AP Top 25 poll.
Junior guard Melo Trimble continues to stir the drink for the Terps, but the lack of scoring options hurt the Terps in the second half against a deep, talented Wisconsin team.
Trimble scored 27 points against the Badgers, which came on the heels of his career-high 32 points against the Wildcats. But Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter, the Terps' next three top scorers, combined for just 16 points against Wisconsin.
Up next for Maryland is a home game against a desperate Minnesota team looking for a quality win to boost their tournament resume.
After the Wednesday night home game against the Golden Gophers, the Terps will host Iowa, another potential bubble team, on Saturday night.
LATEST ASSOCIATE PRESS TOP 25 POLL
Rank. Team (1st Place Votes), Record. Previous Rank
1. Gonzaga (59), 28-0. 1
2. Villanova (5), 26-2. 2
3. Kansas (1), 24-3. 3
4. Arizona, 25-3. 5
5. UCLA, 24-3. 6
6. Oregon, 24-4. 7
7. Louisville, 22-5. 8
8. North Carolina, 23-5. 10
9. Baylor, 22-5. 4
10. Duke, 22-5. 12
11. Kentucky, 22-5. 13
12. West Virginia, 21-6. 9
13. Florida, 22-5. 15
14. Purdue, 22-5. 16
15. Cincinnati, 24-3. 18
16. Wisconsin, 22-5. 11
17. SMU, 24-4. 19
18. Virginia, 18-8. 14
19. Florida State, 21-6. 17
20. Saint Mary's, 24-3. 22
21. Notre Dame, 21-7. 25
22. Butler, 21-6. 24
23. Creighton, 22-5. 20
24. Maryland, 22-5. 23
25. Wichita State, 25-4. NR