NFL to Use Replacement Officials for Week 1
NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL will open the regular season with replacement officials. Replacement refs will be on the field beginning next Wednesday night when the Cowboys visit the Giants to open the season. League executive Ray Anderson informed the 32 teams that negotiations are at a standstill between the NFL and the officials' union.
The NFL Referees Association was locked out in early June and talks on a new collective bargaining agreement haven't produced anything substantial. Replacements have been used throughout the preseason, with mixed results.
In 2001, the NFL used replacements for the first week of the regular season before a contract was finalized.
Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, told the clubs in a memo that the replacements will work "as much of the regular season as necessary," adding that training with each crew will continue.
A request for comment from the NFLRA was not immediately answered.
Anderson said the sides remain apart on economic issues and other matters and called the gap considerable.