Replacement Refs to Open NFL Season League, union still at odds over contract By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Aug 29, 2012 5:54 PM CDT 12 comments Comments San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaug argues with an official during the second quarter of a game last Sunday. (Joe Mahoney) (Newser) – The NFL will open the regular season with replacement officials. With negotiations at a standstill between the NFL and the regular officials' union, the replacements will be on the field Wednesday night when the Cowboys visit the Giants to open the season, says league executive Ray Anderson. The NFL Referees Association has been locked out since June, and talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have gone nowhere. Replacements have worked the preseason games, but some critics don't think they're up to it. See Bleacher Report for more on that.