Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

NFL, NFLRA Strike Deal To End Lockout

Real Officials Will Be On The Field Thursday Night In Baltimore

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8 Total Updates since September 25, 2012
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Terms Of Agreement: NFL, NFLRA Agree

The NFL and the NFL Referees Association agreed tonight to the terms of a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement that will return the game officials to the field for this weekend's games, beginning with Thursday night's Cleveland at Baltimore game.

The agreement, the longest with the game officials in NFL history, was reached in New York between the negotiating teams for the NFL and the NFLRA with the assistance of Scot Beckenbaugh and Peter Donatello of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The agreement must be ratified by the NFLRA membership. Under the commissioner's authority, Commissioner Goodell can enter into this agreement without a vote of the NFL clubs.

Commissioner Goodell temporarily lifted the lockout so that the officials can work Thursday night's Cleveland at Baltimore game prior to their ratification vote. The officials will meet Friday and Saturday to vote on the agreement. If it is approved, a clinic for the officials will be held following the vote.

"The long-term future of our game requires that we seek improvement in every area, including officiating," Commissioner Goodell said. "This agreement supports long-term reforms that will make officiating better. The teams, players and fans want and deserve both consistency and quality in officiating."

"We look forward to having the finest officials in sports back on the field, and I want to give a special thanks to NFL fans for their passion. Now it's time to put the focus back on the teams and players where it belongs."

The agreement includes the following key terms:

Eight-year term covering the 2012-2019 seasons.

  • The current defined benefit pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season (or until the official earns 20 years of service). The defined benefit plan will then be frozen.
  • Retirement benefits will be provided for new hires, and for all officials beginning in 2017, through a defined contribution arrangement, which will have two elements: an annual league contribution made on behalf of each game official that will begin with an average of more than $18,000 per official and increase to more than $23,000 per official in 2019, and a partial match on any additional contribution that an official makes to his 401(k) account.
  • Apart from their benefit package, the game officials' compensation will increase from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019.
  • Beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will have the option of hiring a number of officials on a full-time basis to work year-round, including on the field.
  • The NFL will have the option to retain additional officials for training and development purposes, and may assign those additional officials to work NFL games. The number of additional officials will be determined by the NFL.

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8-year deal confirmed.

The NFL Communications page, where the official words come forth from the league office, has proclaimed an end to the referee lockout due to the completion of an 8-year agreement effective immediately. They have also stated that ALL Week 4 games will be officiated by regular crews, including Thursday's game between the Browns and Ravens.

The agreement, the longest with the game officials in NFL history, was reached in New York between the negotiating teams for the NFL and the NFLRA with the assistance of Scot Beckenbaugh and Peter Donatello of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The agreement must be ratified by the NFLRA membership. Under the commissioner’s authority, Commissioner Goodell can enter into this agreement without a vote of the NFL clubs.

The complete release can be read in it's entirety here.

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Replacement Refs get replaced

Albert Breer from NFL.com reports that the league and the NFL Referees Association have come to an accord and the latest football fiasco has come to an end.

The supervisor of officials, Jim Daopoulos, told Pro Football Talk that an officiating crew is being assembled to work the Thursday Night matchup in Maryland between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens as well as complete coverage of all the games this weekend.

Details are sketchy, but it is believed to be a five-year deal and that the current pension will stand for the term of the deal before reverting to a 401(k) type defined contribution plan.

The important thing is that the REAL referees are back and things should return the the NFL game we all love.

Go Broncos!

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NFL, NFLRA Reach A Major Breakthrough

As we posted last night, the NFL and the leagues Referee Association negotiated late into Tuesday evening. Those talks last well into the night and into the early morning of Wednesday until around 2 AM.

According to NFL.com, there was one major breakthrough.

The referees have been asking to have 21 more full-time positions available for the officials. A compromise was reached as the two sides agreed to a developmental program.

The owners have shown no room to budge and it looked like things were looking ugly in getting this problem sorted out but we now have what looks like a major step in the right direction.

There will now be developmental officials and they will be mentored by existing crews and trained more during the week. However, these referees will not be part of the union and cannot be subbed in to work games. (The way I look at it is sort of like an internship and if you do well, they will bring you in to work).

Both sides still have work to do. The major issue still remains referee pension but an NFLRA source said the officials came a little off their position Tuesday.

In the end it is a game of who will budge first. Will the owners continue to see their teams suffer and have games possibly decided for them like the Packers or will the referees budge so they can get back to work?

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NFL 'Confirms' Horrible Call

In Monday's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone. Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.

While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.

Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.

Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.

Applicable rules to the play are as follows:

A player (or players) jumping in the air has not legally gained possession of the ball until he satisfies the elements of a catch listed here.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3 of the NFL Rule Book defines a catch:

A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:

(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and

(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and

(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).

When a player (or players) is going to the ground in the attempt to catch a pass, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 states:

Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 5 states:

Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.

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