from Mark Strotman of CSNChicago.com:
The NFL and the NFL Referees Association have been in a contract dispute since June 3, and it now has referees locked out just two days before the season kicks off in Canton, Ohio.
It was assumed that a resolution would come about before any games were played, pre-season or regular season, but a source told ESPN.com's Adam Schefter that replacement officials are preparing to officiate the Hall of Fame game between the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints to kick off the 2012 NFL season.
Names of the officials are being withheld, and it's widely assumed the contract dispute will end before the regular season begins, but early returns are that the replacement officials have struggled calling the NFL game.
The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs wrote a story on the replacements yesterday, and center Roberto Garza said he thought players will be able to get away with more with the officials.
“These guys do that for a living so they know what they are doing,” Garza told Biggs. “I don’t know that they can affect the game that much. It’s up to us to go out and play anyway. Obviously, you want the guys that have been around the game to go out there and officiate our game.”
A veteran scout told Biggs that replacements were calling "only what is obvious."