Aug 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; NFL replacement referee Tom Falcinelli (left) talks with Henry Zaborniak (right) before the preseason game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
The NFL will meet with their locked out referees today, in an effort to end a nearly three month stalemate, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The two sides are trying to develop a new collective bargaining agreement, but have not met in over a month. The league announced this week that they would continue the preseason use of replacement refs into the first week of the season, since no progress with the NFL Referees Association had been made.
Neither side has confirmed the meeting today.
The hold up between the two sides seems to be the NFL's desire to change NFL refs from "part time" employees to full time. The league also wants to add three full crews to the rotation, giving the league better flexibility in covering games, as well as having replacements for injuries or discipline. The NFLRA rejects both of those conditions, with the referees wanting the ability to have a job, and salary, outside of their refereeing responsibilities, and not wanting more refs in the system, fearing that the new crews would take jobs away from the established crews.
Throughout the preseason, the league has used replacement refs, to mixed success. The replacements have taken criticism for missing calls, or not knowing the rules as best they should. Of course, there is no excuse for things like calling a football downed on the 4 yard line a touchback, or spotting two balls, one at the 41 yard line and one at the 31 yard line, in a game (that second one in the Dolphins and Buccaneers game). But, there was also no excuse for regular referees to blow a Thanksgiving daycoin toss, either.