It isn't nearly as high profile as a year ago with the negotiations between the NFL and players that led to the NFL lockout, but there are other negotiations this offseason for the NFL that have not gone well. Unfortunately, these negotiations will affect the quality of NFL games as much as the players. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the talks between the league and the league's officials, talks have broken off at that the NFL is getting ready to hire replacement officials for the upcoming season.
He tweeted these:
Talks between NFL and officials for new deal have broken off. NFL has advised all teams it is now working to hire replacement officials.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 4, 2012
NFL looking to hire officials from anywhere but BCS: Elite retired college officials, ones from small college conferences, even Arena ball.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 4, 2012
At the surface, you would think that it is no big deal, but it could affect games played. Naturally, NFL referees were not and are not perfect, and there have been many blown calls. However, they are the best at what they do.
Bringing in replacement officials could and probably would lead to more mistakes. Replay will help mitigate that, and perhaps that is what the league is counting on, but as fans we should be prepared for more errors than there have been in the past.
Of course, there is the small possibility that these guys turn out to be better than the union-protected officials.
The other downside to this? Who is going to replace Ed Hochuli in the category of guys that might be stronger than some of the players on the field?