I don't know any football fan that wants to see replacement officials work another game, but I would be truly surprised if we see the old officials on the field any time soon. Even if the NFL wanted to end the lockout, why would the regular officials want to come back to work right now? After Monday night's call and its subsequent uproar, they hold the negotiating leverage right now. And the average football fan doesn't even know what the referees are asking for, and why the league won't just give it to them, even after last night.

As he often does, ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd looked through the chaos and saw the reality. He said the next 48 hours are key to see how the NFL handles the firestorm of public opinion. Whether fans want to admit it, the replacements are going to get better as they get used to the game and get schooling from the NFL. You can bet the league is counting on that.

The only way I see anything changing soon is if the players refuse to take the fields where replacements are in charge. They may be mad enough to do that, but would they seriously consider it? And what Pandora's box would that open?

I found a good article from that bastion of NFL knowledge, The Christian Science Monitor, with a pretty good insight into the four issues keeping football being refereed as normal. As you read them, keep in mind that Roger Goodell last week said the league and the officials are between fifty and seventy million dollars apart on reaching an agreement. That's why both sides need to soften their stances. And why neither side is likely to.


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