With their contract set to expire on May 31st, the NFL and the union for the league’s officials met for mediation in Washington D.C. in hopes of working out a new deal for the 2012 season and beyond.
It does not seem to have been a success. The old contract expried and Adam Schefter of ESPN reports Monday that the talks have broken off between the two sides. As a result, the NFL has advised all 32 teams that they will now start working to hire replacement officials.
The NFL will be looking everywhere but BCS conferences for these officials. Per Schefter, the close relationship between BCS and NFL officials is causing the league to look elsewhere in order to avoid putting BCS officials in a tough spot. Retired college officials, officials from smaller conferences and those working in arena football will all be considered for replacement jobs.
There was a similar need for replacement officials 11 years ago, but that was long before the league and players became so focused on issues related to on-field safety. That will make this effort more complicated, especially if the players union is inclined to make this part of their larger fight with the NFL.