NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says possibly using replacement referees for regular-season games is worthwhile to ensure long-term improvements to officiating.
The league and the NFL Referees Association have yet to reach an agreement, and Goodell acknowledged Thursday that time was running out to make the regular officials available for the openers.
“We’re anxious to get a deal done, but it has to get done, (and using replacement referees is) going to help us for the long term,” Goodell said at a fantasy football event in Times Square. “It’s not a short-term issue.”
Officials probably need a week to 10 days to prepare for the season, Goodell said, and the first game is Sept. 5, 13 days away.
The first full Sunday of regular-season games is Sept. 9.
“These officials have been trained,” Goodell said of the replacement refs who have been calling preseason games. “We’ve been working with them. We think they’ll do a very credible job.”