The NFL has sent a memo to all 32 teams notifying them that replacement referees will be used at the beginning of the regular season, according to Mike Freeman of CBS Sports. The season begins on Sept. 5 when the Dallas Cowboys take on the defending champion New York Giants.
This presumably comes as some pretty unfortunate news for players and coaches around the league, as many have been outspoken in their belief that the replacement referees aren't equipped for the job. Considering that these complaints were made during meaningless preseason games, dissatisfaction could hit an entirely new degree with real wins on the line.
The NFL has been negotiating with the referee association for weeks, but there has been minimal progress in the completion of a new deal. Until then, it appears that the league is content to use replacement referees, even as people around the league display their discontent.