You should probably get comfortable with the NFL replacement referees.
The "real" refs and the NFL met with a mediator on Sunday, but according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, the sides are still very far apart from ending the current strike:
Ref1: NFL and the regular officials met all day with a federal mediator in NYC. Talks broke off tonight. Still far apart on several issues.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) September 24, 2012
Let's take a closer look at this newest development.
What It Means
It means a big sad face for those of us who enjoy fairly refereed football games.
OK, the replacement refs have actually, for the most part, been better than I think most of us were expecting, but their moments of atrocity are hard to overlook.
When will the real referees be back?
Extra timeouts, extra challenges, horrendous penalty calls and more odd—to say the least—decisions have affected multiple games through the first three weeks of the NFL season, and the longer the replacement refs are out there, the more teams will be unfairly affected.
And thus the season will continue to lose merit.
We continue to wait for the referees to strike a new deal and bring their big muscles and veteran experience back to the playing field, but it sounds like we'll be waiting for a long time.
King gives us two more discouraging tweets:
Ref 2: This is not good. No further talks scheduled, which tells me we'll almost certainly see replacement officials again in week 4.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) September 24, 2012
Ref3: Still at least two major issues with a wide gulf. Likely one is still pension, with $3m per year separating the 2 sides.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) September 24, 2012
Don't expect to see Ed Hochuli on a football field anytime soon.