NFL Schedules Replacement Officials Through Week 5, ESPN Reports

The National Football League has made up a schedule for replacement officials to work games through the first five weeks of the season, ESPN reported, citing an unidentified league official.

The NFL and the NFL Referees Association have been unable to agree on a new labor contract, with differences on pay, pensions and operational issues. The league locked out the officials in June and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the two sides are probably $50 million to $70 million apart on terms of a new five- to seven-year contract.

The NFL started the season with replacement officials from the lower college football levels working the opening week of the season. Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams was among the players who complained about the Week 1 officiating, saying penalties committed against him weren’t called in a 48-28 loss to the New York Jets.

“Some of the officials on the field don’t understand what constitutes an offsetting penalty,” Williams said. “Also, pass blocking doesn’t include hands to the face. When someone tells the officials that, and they just walk away, or they don’t call it, that is disheartening.”

In the Arizona Cardinals 20-16 win over Seattle, officials mistakenly awarding the Seahawks an extra timeout in the closing seconds. Referee Bruce Hermansen acknowledged the error in a statement after the game.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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