ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 06: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (R) speaks with Head Referee Walk Anderson during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The last time the NFL used replacement officials was 2001 for one preseason game and the first weekend of the regular season.
The NFL made an announcement on Monday that will have an impact on the early part of the NFL season, at the least, as contract talks with the NFL Referees Association have stalled forcing the league to begin hiring and training replacement officials.
"Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of officiating for our teams, players and fans including proper enforcement of the playing rules and efficient management of our games," the league said in its statement.
The NFL’s no. 1 priority is making sure that the season is not interrupted in any way by not having properly prepared referees. They are looking to retired elite NCAA officials and officials from small colleges and arena football to fill in for the 121 on-field and 17 replay officials that the NFLRA represents.
"We have great respect for our officials and in keeping with that view have made a proposal that includes substantial increases in compensation for all game officials," the NFL said in its statement.
The training sessions for replacement officials will start next month.