As the NFL prepares for the first full Sunday of regular-season action with replacement officials, the final preparations included a two-day visit to New York.
Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN report that the league brought each of the 17 referees to the league office on Thursday for a final day of preseason training. All of the referees other than Jim Core, who worked the game at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday night, watched Cowboys-Giants with V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson.
The hope is that the replacement officials will continue to perform as well as they did in the season opener. “The few mistakes they made could easily have been made by the regular referees,” one source told ESPN.
But here’s the thing to keep in mind. With the best officials being used for the highest-profile games, the least of the games necessarily will have the least of the officials. So the lesser games will be the games that could end up with a potential debacle.
And here’s the other thing to keep in mind. The NFL is using postseason procedures until the lockout ends, which means that an eighth official will be on the sideline and in communication with league supervisor(s) in the booth. If there’s a mistake, the eighth official will immediately alert the seven officials on the field.
The goal will be to get it right, even if it takes a little while to do so. Here’s hoping that, in the end, that’s what happens.