Pro Football Talk reported earlier today that a source had informed them that the NFL was considering using just one official on the field during games this year. If true, such a plan would be an absolute disaster.
In place of other officials on the field, league employees would perform the duties from inside a viewing booth by watching TV monitors. Essentially, the only duties of the one on-field official would be to keep time, spot the ball and announce any penalties, reviews, etc.
The league office has now denied that any such plan is under consideration, but PFT is standing by their original story that it has been discussed.
Given the performance of the current replacement referees, I'm not sure anyone would complain about them being ousted in favor of league employees running things in some capacity. But having just one official on the field would be a disaster for the NFL.
There is only so much that can be caught using TV monitors, and the purpose of having so many officials on the field is to see angles that others can't. In addition to that, the on-field official would almost certainly be overwhelmed by his duties.
Having just one guy on the field attempting to police the actions of roughly 100 players and coaches on an NFL field would be laughable. What if a brawl broke out? Is he supposed to single-handedly step in and try to stop it?
The solution to the NFL's officiating problem is not wholesale changes. Instead, the league needs to work out a labor deal with the NFL Referees Association, and soon.