Replacement referee Jerry Hughes catches a football as the New York Giants play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a pre-season football game August 10, 2011 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
(NBC Sports) -- If you're hoping to see Ed Hochuli, Mike Carey and the rest of the regular referees on the field when the regular season starts, the NFL's executive vice president for football operations has some bad news for you.
Ray Anderson, the executive whose responsibilities include overseeing the league's officials, told Bob Glauber of Newsday that the use of replacement officials is likely to extend beyond the preseason.
"I would anticipate that it would go into the regular season, unless the parties get back to the table in a hurry," Anderson said. "And frankly, I don't see either of us stepping forward and making that move. We feel we have been aggressively fair in our offer on the economic and non-economic issues, and they don't. Until that bridge is narrowed or shortened some, and I don't know when that time might come, I'm focused on getting the current officials ready for Week 3 and Week 4."
The league thinks - or at least wants the officials to think - that replacements can be used for a long time if the regular officials aren't willing to agree to the league's demands.
"Are we prepared to stay the course if there is no desire on their part to narrowing the gap?" Anderson said. "The answer to that question is yes."
Which means the replacement officials - whom the league has acknowledged aren't as good as the regular officials - may continue calling the games when the games actually count.