You know, possibly the only "Lockout" that may be stupider than this is the NHL. Though the NHL wouldn't be drawing this kind of publicity.
According to reports all over the Interwebs, the NFL and the NFLRA are on the cusp of an agreement that would put the professional refs back out on the field with the professional players. The only question is when.
Depending on which expert you believe, they could be back by Sunday's games. That may not help Cleveland and Baltimore, but hey, somebody has to take one for the team...right?
Reports say there are still some disagreements about money and some resentment over the league's insistence that there be a Ref "Taxi Squad" available for use. And yeah, we get the premise that the staff guys don't want to change their potential replacements.
Though the NFL doesn't seem to care, they've been ABUSED in the court of public opinion. The mistakes, the coaches attacking the replacement refs and the complaints from the players have all made it look like the league is sacrificing the game for a couple of bucks. Bucks the multi-billion dollar league can easily afford.
Oh....and for what it's worth, the league fined Bill Belichick for his grabbing of the ref in last Sunday's game too. That fine...$50,000.