The NFL’s replacement officials aren’t going away any time soon.
The league confirmed today in a memo sent to all 32 teams that the regular season will open with replacement officials, as the lockout of the NFL Referees Association continues.
The NFL says it’s ready to negotiate with the locked-out officials, but they’re not close enough to reaching an agreement that it’s realistic to think the regular officials could be on the field when the season starts, one week from tonight.
This year’s preseason games have seen plenty of bad calls, and several players have questioned whether the officials are in over their heads. A bad call that costs a team a regular-season game would surely amplify the cries for the league to get a deal done with its officials, but the NFL has insisted that the replacements are capable of doing the job. We’re about to get at least 16 regular-season games for the replacements to show that the league office is right — or to show that the NFL is jeopardizing the integrity of the game by refusing to finalize a deal.