NFL agrees to new deal with refrees, will be back by this weekendRegional Sports
-- The regular referees are returning to the NFL. On Wednesday night, the NFL and the NFLRA announced that they have agreed to a new eight-year labor deal.
The regular referees are returning to the NFL. On Wednesday night, the NFL and the NFLRA announced that they have agreed to a new eight-year labor deal.
The new collective bargaining agreement is still subject to ratification by the NFLRA. In a joint statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the regular officials will be on the field for Thursday night's game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.
The new labor deal comes after weeks of outcry over the replacement officials' ability to correctly enforce the rules. Numerous blown and missed calls have plagued the league this season, culminating in a controversial last-second interception ruled touchdown catch that resulted in Seattle beating Green Bay on "Monday Night Football." Other mistakes have come regarding challenges, timeouts and penalty yardage.
The Green Bay Packers certainly won’t have to worry about high school and college officials deciding their games anymore. The agreement came about 48 hours after replacement officials decided the outcome of Monday night’s Packer loss at Seattle. They gave the Seahawks a touchdown on what appeared to be a Packer interception on a Hail Mary pass play. The result was a 14-12 loss for Green Bay, which might knock the Packers out of the playoffs if they lose a key NFC tiebreaker at the end of the season.
Under the new agreement, officials will keep their current pension plans through 2016, or until they have 20 years of service, whichever comes first. A 401-K plan will then kick in for newly-hired officials in 2016, and all others the following year. The NFL will scrap its plan to hire 21 new officials to replace veterans on a week-to-week basis if they don’t make the grade. An undetermined number of officials will be hired for training and development purposes, and full-time year-round officials can be named starting in 2013.
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says he is pleased that the NFL will have its regular officials back on the field for games beginning this weekend. Kluwe says situations officiating mistakes will occur less frequently with the regular referees back on the field. Minnesota receiver Devin Aromashodu admits that he wasn't upset that a call went against division rival Green Bay since the Packer loss helps the Vikings in relation to the division standings. But, Aromashodu says he is happy the regular refs will be back, too. Former Viking and Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton says he isn't surprised a deal was struck within a few days of the bad call on Monday night.