in 2001 the NFL used replacement referees for just week one, however a deal was done before week 2. I'm not very confident that the same will happen this season:
"We are disappointed because it means that our members will not be back on the field for Week 1 of the regular season due to the NFL's continuing lockout," Mike Arnold, the lead negotiator for the referees, said in a statement. "We remain willing to negotiate with the NFL in order to reach a fair agreement.
"However, no additional meetings are scheduled at this time."
At the moment the NFL crews are made up of part time officials who have secondary jobs. The NFL wants to create seven full time officials, something the NFLRA are happy to go along with as long as they are compensated as such.
League executive Ray Anderson has specified that the two parties are 'considerably' apart in terms of economics, retirement benefits and operational activities. To sum that up, they are apart on every single matter that counts. From what I have been hearing from NFL commentators, they are so far apart it really is hard to imagine them meeting in the middle ground any time soon.
The replacement officials have been extremely poor in my books, I haven't watched a single NFL pre-season game without seeing either missed calls, incorrect calls or just plain baffling decisions. Pre-season games are played at half the speed of regular season games, I personally think this is going to be a car wreck that we are going to have to just grit our teeth and watch.