NFL fans can expect replacement referees to be officiating their favorites teams when the NFL regular season kicks off on Wednesday night. That’s because locked-out officials and NFL representatives were still not talking to one another just two days before the regular season is set to kick off.
NFL players and coaches have blown off questions about their concerns towards using less qualified replacement refs.
On Monday, Chargers safety Eric Weddle blatantly told Fox Sports:
“We’re going to play the games regardless. Everyone makes mistakes. I make mistakes. It’s just the way human nature is. You can’t get hard on guys that are trying to do the best they can. You’ve just got to deal with it.”
“Each week, each game, each practice, they’ll get better, so it’s not a concern of ours. Regardless, we’ve got to go out there and execute and take it out of their hands. Let’s go out and play good football, execute at a high level and then they won’t be in position to throw flags and make judgment calls.”
While Giants receiver Victor Cruz also took time to comment:
“You just have to play your game. You can’t even pay any attention to it now at this point. You just have to go out there and trust that they are spending time in the meeting rooms and those referee rooms, reading the plays and getting the calls down.”
The NFL lock-out for referees has been ongoing for three months, and, after three day of talks last week, both sides failed to reach any sort of compromise with one another. Both sides are bickering over salary, retirement benefits, and operational issues. According to the NFL, their generous package could push a referees salary to more than $200,000 annually by 2018 while the referees association says the deal reduces compensation “significantly.”
The issue has forced the NFL to use replacement referees during a home season opener for the first time since 2001. That game occurred just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Most replacement officials being utilized this year come from the Arena League and the NCAA Division II and III levels.
Do you think replacement officials have been making bad calls during pre-season games?