If you're not aware of the ongoing labor dispute between the league and the NFL Referees Association, you will certainly hear about it Thursday night. Replacement officials will be calling the shots in the Falcons first preseason game, a thought that surely seems daunting to some.
The NFL locked out its referees back on June 3. As an agreement has yet to be reached between the two sides, replacement officials have to continued to be trained in the expectation that they will be able to officiate regular season games if it comes down to that.
However, the "scab" officials, as they have been so called, haven't been well received after just one preseason game. The Saints and Cardinals opened up the year at the Hall of Fame Game, and according to Mike Freeman of CBS, the refs were clueless.
There was a lengthy list of missed/incorrect calls after that first game. Sure, we can find something to complain about after every contest. Officials mess up regardless of how long they've been working. Unfortunately though, any mistakes the replacement officials make will be amplified on such a larger scale.
I will be there tonight watching the game from the stands, and I'm interested to see how much of an effect, if any, these new refs have. Read DOL's article (linked in the first paragraph) and review the individual quotes from Falcons players. They've already seen some bad calls with replacements in their Friday Night Lights game. A few guys aren't looking forward to dealing with these new guys again, while some understand they'll just have to endure.
What's your take on this situation? Can we survive a season without the likes of Ed Hochuli flexing during every call? Do you think the replacement refs will make a huge difference, or is everyone making too big of a deal out of this? Am I asking too many questions? Go ahead and discuss.