Not to knock the referees that filled-in during the lock-out of NFL officials as they did a pedestrian job, but the atrocious call on Monday Night Football between the Seahawks and the Packers was just about enough of the replacements. Today, the National Football League said that a new eight-year deal with the NFL Referees Association has been struck and the NFL zebras will be returning to the field for tonight’s game between Cleveland and Baltimore.
The agreement, which represents the longest with game officials in NFL history, still needs ratification from the referee membership, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has temporarily lifted the lockout until that happens.
The labor dispute revolved around several issues, including salary, pension and retirement benefits for the officials, who are part-time employees of the league. Amongst other things in the tentative agreement, refs’ salaries will increase from an average of $149,000 per year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013 to $205,000 by 2019.
“We are glad to be getting back on the field for this week’s games,” referees’ union president Scott Green said.
Now, let’s get back to scrutinizing the refs that get paid a whole lot more.