NFL supervisor of officials to speak
AUBURN, Ala. -- Officiating was always a financial supplement for Ronald Baynes. He was, and still is, called coach by his peers, even as the NFL's supervisor of officials.
A supervisor is like becoming a coach, the 66-year-old Baynes said. I went from being a coach of kids to a coach of officials. Baynes, who is charge of the training, evaluation and correction of the NFL's officials, will speak tonight for the Columbus/Phenix City Auburn Club at Chattahoochee River Club at 6:30.
A former football player for Ralph Shug Jordan from 1961-65 whose six children attended Auburn, Baynes has been involved with the NFL since 1987. He was as an on-field official until 2001, when he took the full-time position as the supervisor of officials, a high-profile gig that gets its fair share of criticism.
Columbus/Phenix City Auburn Club Officiating is a family business for Ron Baynes, second from left, and his three sons: Allen is in the NFL, Rusty is in the Big 12 and Mark is in Conference USA.
It has its moments, he said with a laugh. Our accuracy rates are pretty good, 99, 98.5 percent accuracy during the year. But those one or two mistakes that you do make and you're going to make mistakes they bring with it certainly a little bit of heat that you have to take with it. It's just part of the job.
Baynes started officiating as a way of making extra money during his spare time. He was a coach and teacher at high schools and junior colleges for 35 years so respected that he was inducted into the Alabama High School Coaches Hall of Fame.
He spent 18 years at Tallahassee High. During the football season, he would help Auburn coach Pat Dye, visiting the Tigers practices on contact days during the middle of the week and calling penalties for infractions.
It was one of the ways coach Dye was way ahead of the game, Baynes said.
He was an SEC official for 13 years before going to the NFL in 1987. He officiated two Super Bowls and four AFC and NFC championship games.
It runs in the family. Three of his sons Allen (NFL), Rusty (Big 12) and Mark (Conference USA) are active football officials.
The game has changed since Baynes started officiating. The number of officials on the field during games has doubled, and countless high-definition cameras catch every play from every conceivable angle, increasing the chances a call might get overturned.
But Baynes doesn't see video replay as an official's enemy.
The camera can sometimes see things that the human being is not in position to see or is just physically impossible to see, he said. So the instrument we have in replay is a helpful item, but I think, as most people would feel, the replay shows how often an official is correct.
So it kind of serves a dual purpose in that it helps us correct mistakes, but it also shows that we're doing a pretty good job most of the time.