New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees voiced his concerns about the replacement officials, and several other notable NFL players have followed suit.
Most notablly NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith came down hard on the NFL for installing replacement while the real officials sit out in hopes of a new contract.
Smith stated that the NFL’s players could strike because of safety concerson, but that hardly seems to have aided the stale mate in negotiations between the NFL and NFLRA.
Today the NFL communicated with all 32 teams that they should expect the replacment officials to be in place for the start of the regular season.
Apparently no headway has been made between the two parties. Below is an excerpt from the leagues memo they sent out today. View the complete memo here.
Regular Season Planning – In light of the current state of negotiations, we will have replacement crews on the field when the regular season begins. The replacements have undergone extensive training and evaluation, and have shown steady improvement during the preseason. We will continue the training with each crew and they will work as much of the regular season as necessary. The replacement officials are dedicated and enthusiastic, have worked very hard to improve, and have persevered despite the attacks on their qualifications and performance. We are all grateful for their service to the NFL.
As part of our effort to support the replacement officials, we will employ procedures similar to those in effect in the postseason. We will have an officiating supervisor from our staff in the replay booth at each game whose job will be to help ensure correct penalty enforcement, administration of rules not involving fouls, operation of the game and play clocks, and game administration. The supervisor will be able to communicate directly with the alternate official on the sidelines. The supervisor will not be involved in either the instant replay system or any judgment made by the officials on the field. As in all games, the final decision will be made by the referee on the field and no decision will be revisited or changed once the ball has been snapped for the next play.