AP source: NFL has 5-week schedule for replacement officials
Cornerback Richard Sherman (25) of the Seattle Seahawks reacts to pass interference call to back judge Larry Babcock during the season opener against he Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 20-16. / Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - The NFL has devised a temporary five-week schedule for using replacement officials.
A person familiar with the schedule told The Associated Press on Monday that the setup is done through Week 5 of the regular season. The regular officials are locked out and replacements worked the preseason and the first week of the regular season.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not made public officiating schedules.
In early June, the league locked out the officials, who are part-time NFL employees, after their collective bargaining agreement expired. The NFL Referees Association and the league met for three days at the beginning of September before talks collapsed.
The NFL and the union, which covers more than 120 on-field officials, are at odds over salary, retirement benefits and operational issues. The NFL has said its offer includes annual pay increases that could earn an experienced official more than $200,000 annually by 2018. The NFLRA has disputed the value of the proposal, insisting it would ultimately reduce their compensation.
NFL: Week 1
Replacements were used in 2001, but only for one week of the regular season before a deal was reached.
This year's replacements have had some errors, particularly late in Arizona's 20-16 victory over Seattle when the Seahawks were awarded an extra timeout. The officiating crew admitted its mistake after the game.
Last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said using replacement referees for regular-season games is worthwhile to ensure long-term improvements to officiating.
"These officials have been trained," Goodell said of the replacement refs. "We've been working with them. We think they'll do a very credible job."
However, as CBSSports.com noted, players did not hide the fact that they were unimpressed with the replacements in the preseason. ("We were all laughing on the sidelines at how clueless they were," said one player.)
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