The last-ditch effort to get real, honest-to-goodness NFL referees onto the field in time for the NFL's opening week came up short on Saturday when the two sides failed to reach an agreement.
The officials have been locked out since June and replacements worked during the preseason to poor reviews.
"We met with the NFL this morning and discussed various potential solutions to reach a new collective bargaining agreement," Michael Arnold, lead negotiator for the NFL Referees Association, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any agreement."
Though they may miss out on some dough, the real refs probably wouldn't mind seeing a week or two of replacement work in the regular season. The replacements' performance should only strengthen the union's bargaining position. And when the real zebras are back, fans, players, and coaches will be less likely to verbally abuse one of them for not seeing that a receiver's toe came down one eighth of an inch across the sideline. (OK, maybe just for one week.)