Late last night the NFL and NFLRA struck a tentative deal that is pending ratification.
And lo, there was much rejoicing.
After a public relations nightmare of a game on Monday night, the NFL and the NFL Referee Association were able to get back to the table and hammer home a tentative agreement that will put actual, live NFL referees with actual, NFL referee experience on the field for tonight's Browns/Ravens game.
The official's deal is not officially official, pending a ratification vote by the union's 121 members. This vote will take place Friday and Saturday, and hinges on acceptance by 51% of the union. This is largely expected to be a formality.
Per NFL.com, these are some of the terms of the agreement:
- 8-year deal
- Current defined pension plan will remain in place for current official through 2016, or until 20 years service. It will be then frozen.
- Defined contribution plan for all new hires and then for all official in 2017.
- Increase from $149,000/yr average in 2011 to nearly $205,000 average by 2019
- Beginning next year, NFL will have option of hiring a number of full-time officials
- NFL will have option to retain additional officials for training and development, and can assign them to work games.
All in all, it's a pretty big win for both sides. The NFL can have the integrity of it's game back, and the officials get back to work with a pretty decent compensation package.
Most importantly, it's a win for fans, because they'll get back to seeing what they've always seen, and not the absolute clusterbumble of calls that have occurred over the first three weeks.