Shortly after the NFL told all 32 teams to be ready for replacement officials for Week One, reports emerged that one final negotiating session between the league and the locked out referees could result in a last-minute deal. But that deal is not going to get done.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports that an NFL officiating source said there were last-ditch talks between the NFL Referees Association and the league, but those talks failed. And no further talks are scheduled.
So the much-criticized replacement officials will, in fact, be on the field when the NFL’s regular season kicks off next week. And given the way negotiations have gone so far, replacement officials could be on the field for several weeks.
The replacement officials, whose experience is mostly at the small-college level, have at times appeared to be overwhelmed while working NFL preseason games. The NFL will just have to hope that they’re up to the task next weeks, because those officials will be making calls that count.