Replacement referee Jerry Hughes could be working into the regular season, as there appears to be no end in sight to a potential NFL official lockout. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
NFL executives expect the referee lockout to last into the regular season, ESPN.com's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reported Monday. The league officials told ESPN that the NFL is likely to continue using replacement referees, who have caused headaches already in the preseason.
ESPN reported that neither side is making a deal any closer. There are two reasons why:
For starters, the NFL wants to make a group of officials, who work only part time for the NFL, work full time. But more than 90 percent of those officials already have full-time jobs and they are unwilling to leave them and the revenue they provide.
The other issue is that the NFL wants to add three additional crews to give officials more rest and the league more officiating options, but the locked-out officials oppose this. In an ideal world, the NFL would like a bigger pool of officials to choose from, especially with some of the top officials aging. The league believes if it could bring in more officials now, it could groom more for the future.
ESPN reported that the replacement officials have assignments through Week 3 of the preseason, a sign that the league is prepared to go into the season with the referee lockout.
From the point the Saints and Cardinals openly mocked the refs after the Hall of Fame Game last week, the replacement officials haven't gone over smoothly. In early August on The Dan Patrick Show, former NFL vice president of officiating and current Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira said a referee lockout "strongly compromises the integrity of the game."
“You can not really know that the game is going to be officiated properly,” Pereira said.