The NFL has still locked out the game’s officials in an ongoing process that does not appear to be resolved any time soon. In the meantime, the NFL has employed replacement referees for the preseason with the possibility of them continuing their work once the regular season starts in roughly four weeks if the two sides are unable to come to an agreement.
Every contracted referee was locked out on June 3 after a new agreement was unable to get done. Fans saw this similar situation last year in which the NFL had locked out the players as negotiations failed for months to write a new collective bargaining agreement. As of right now, the negotiations are at a standstill which means the likelihood of replacement referees calling regular season games and beyond is becoming more and more likely as each day passes.
With that in mind, it is not all bad news as Shannon Eastin will be the first female to officiate a football game in the history of the league. Eastin has experience referring at the college level as she has spent time calling games in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. It will be interesting to see how she does, as I am sure she is excited for the great opportunity while also being a huge part of history.
It should be noted Eastin’s road to this point has been a bit bumpy as several officials did not like idea of a female taking their place on the gridiron. Reportedly, nine officials turned down the opportunity to train her to take their place, which forced the NFL to step in and take their company-issued laptops back. The referees wanted to make it clear it did not have to do so much with Eastin being a woman but more the fact that they did not want to train someone to take their job.
So far, the replacement referees have fared well as many Packers fans may have noticed during the Family Night scrimmage Saturday night. Also, the officials in Sunday night’s Hall of Fame game apparently held their own with no major problems.