Report: NFL season may start with replacement referees
(CBS News) As the NFL referee lockout drags on through the preseason, the replacement officials have come under great scrutiny from fans, players and coaches. It appears that scrutiny may last into the regular season.
According to ESPN: "At a time when players are openly criticizing replacement officials and coaches are privately grumbling about them, the NFL and NFL Referees Association are not making any progress towards a new deal, according to sources familiar with the talks."
ESPN reports there are two main sticking points: First, the league wants some referees to work full-time but most officials have other jobs and don't want to sacrifice that income. Second, there is a rift over adding officiating crews (the NFL wants this; the locked-out refs do not).
So far this preseason, there have been some bad calls (a bungled touchback call in the Redskins-Bills game drew a chorus of boos), but there have been no egregious errors.
When asked about an apparent referee miscue, Giants coach Tom Coughlin had this to say: "There are certainly mistakes made. There's nobody at this junction, having played one preseason game, coaches included, who haven't made errors. I'm not going to worry too much about that. I can't afford it. We have to get a team ready to play."
Still, as CBSSports.com notes, players haven't hidden the fact that they've been unimpressed with the replacements. ("We were all laughing on the sidelines at how clueless they were," said one player.)
The league sent a memo to all 32 teams instructing them to avoid criticizing the officials. According to ESPN, the league has also sent out officiating assignments for the replacement referees for the next two weeks.
The NFL season kicks off September 5. Stay tuned.
Popular in Sports
- Sergio Garcia apologizes to Tiger Woods for "fried chicken" remark
- Study: College athletes denied $6.2B over four years
- "Egyptian Popeye" says 31-inch arms all-natural
- NFL's Top 100 Players of All-Time: Debate
- Beaten S.F. Giants fan attends World Series
- Lance Armstrong admits doping to Oprah
- Watch: 7-foot-5 teen basketball player dominates
- New bikini rules for Olympic beach volleyball