The good news is that the replacement officials could soon be getting fired. The bad news is that the locked-out officials may stay locked out.
The in-between news is that the NFL may use only one official on the field to spot the ball and walk off penalties, with the rest of the officiating being performed in the booth by league employees watching TV monitors.
That’s the current rumor making the rounds on the league’s grapevine.
It’s just a rumor. But don’t expect anyone from the league to admit that there may be any truth to it. After all, the league office has been telling owners and coaches what they can and can’t say about the situation. Surely, no one will say that the NFL is considering such drastic action until the NFL decides to do it.
Given the performance of the replacement officials, it makes plenty of sense to consider drastic action.
From our perspective, we’ve got no problem with it. Technology has advanced to the point where the game can be called from a place other than the field.
Heck, if it works I’d be in favor of firing all officials and using the eye-in-the-sky system permanently.
See, I really don’t care who “wins” or “loses” this labor battle between the NFL and highly-paid part-time employees. I care, however, about the game. And the current situation compromises the game.
If the solution to the current situation can help the league get every call right, then maybe it’s time to get rid of every official except the guy who’d be acting like a glorified ball boy.
UPDATE 2:57 p.m. ET: The NFL says that the possibility of one-man crews has not been discussed or considered.