The 2012 NFL season may begin with replacement referees as the NFL and NFL Referees Association have failed to come together during contract negotiations.
The NFL’s big hangup is that several part-time officials are not willing to go full-time. Many of those officials already work full-time jobs that they work for the added revenue they receive. According to the NFL Referees Association 90 percent of the part-time officials work a full-time job.
According to ESPN:
“The league also has discussed the option of rotating some of the proposed new officials into established crews if the league determines there is a substandard performance by an official that merits a change.”
The NFL implemented replacement referees during Monday night’s Cowboys-Raiders game and replacement refs have already been assigned for this upcoming weekend’s preseason games. Assignments for the third preseason weekend have also been delivered to potential replacement referees.
Replacement officials have been training for the last three months and NFL officials are believed to be putting more trust in those referees now that they have worked preseason games while continuing their training.
One source close to the NFL and NFL Referees Association estimate that both sides will continue talks until at least the third week of the regular season.
If we have learned one thing about league lockouts recently it’s that determining how long they will last is anyone’s guess. At least this time around the game will go on as player’s report to pre-season and regular season games.