The lockout of the NFL Referees Association has officially come to an end. The league and the referees reached an agreement during negotiations tonight and are finalizing the paperwork now that will make the new collective bargaining agreement official.
This comes after a controversial Monday Night Football game that sparked uproar from fans and players alike, calling for the lockout to end and the real game officials to be brought back. Over 31 hours of negotiations since that game, the two sides finally struck an agreement. There were a number of issues that still stood between the two sides yesterday, but it seems that both the league and the refs made concessions.
One of the major sticking points in the negotiations was the current pension plans that all officials have. The NFL wanted to switch to 401k retirement plans, but the sides agreed to extend the pensions for five years before placing them with the 401k plans following that.
The second point of contention was the NFL’s insistence that 21 officials be added that will replace the current officials if any crews are deemed to be underachieving. Instead, there will be a new referee developmental program to make sure all of the officials are fully capable of doing their job.
As more information about the specifics of the agreement comes out, we will continue to keep you updated. It seems that the real referees are ready to go for this week’s Thursday Night Football game and are fully briefed on the new rules that are in place this season that were not in place last year.
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