Reports began surfacing last week that the NFL was preparing for a possibility in which they'll be using replacement referees if the NFL and the NFL Referees Association were unable to come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement. The former agreement expired at the end of May. Last week the NFL:
...instructed its scouting department for officials to begin preparing for the possibility that replacement officials could be used during the upcoming season if a deal is not struck.
Possible replacement officials include those from semi-professional leagues as well as those already in retirement.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, talks between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association have broken off.
Talks between NFL and officials for new deal have broken off. NFL has advised all teams it is now working to hire replacement officials.