League Blows Whistle on Replacement Refs, Strikes Deal with Regular Officials
Thanks to the poor performance of their replacements, the NFL’s regular officiating crews have reached an agreement for a new deal in place with the League. While the deal will not be official until it is ratified by a vote of the officials’ union on Friday in Dallas, a regular crew will take the field for tonight’s game in Baltimore to the relief of players, coaches, and fans alike.
A series of blown calls, including the dramatic touchdown/interception fiasco at the end of Monday night’s Seahawks/Packers showdown sealed the replacement refs’ fate. In the face of increasing public pressure and growing incidents between players, coaches and the replacement refs, the NFL returned to the table to reach a deal with their regular officials.
Two federal mediators helped the League reach the eight year deal with the NFL Referees Association late Tuesday night. The new agreement focuses on pension and retirement issues and includes a salary increase. Additionally, the agreement will allow the League the option of hiring some officials on a full time basis to work year round. Currently, referees are all part-time employees of the NFL.