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NFL Replacement Refs During the Regular Season?

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images Sport

Players are being openly critical.

Coaches are quietly grumbling.

The subject is the replacement referees that have worked the first full week of the preseason, and it appears they may be working at least at the beginning of the regular season as well.

The National Football League and its Referees Association are still far apart in negotiations over the lockout and it looks as though no agreement is in sight.

The issues are, of course, money.  But in addition, the NFL wants their referees to be full-time employees.  However, 90% of those referees have full-time jobs already and aren’t willing to part with that kind of income.  And, the NFL wants to hire more referees and give the officials more time off during the regular season.  The referees are opposed to that, as well.

In the meantime, the replacements continue to work and continue to be criticized.  The league is saying “hey, it was just the first week, they’ll get better,” while others are pointing out the speed of the game is only going to increase once the regular season begins.

The fans haven’t suffered yet.  But most people who aren’t in the league office think those days are right around the corner.  Some are speculating it could be three or four weeks into the regular season before all of this gets resolved.

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