The coaches, players and to some extent, the voices of the fans were heard by the NFL. After another awful week of officiating, the league came to an agreement with the regular crews, who are set to work tonight’s Cleveland-Baltimore game. I can only speculate, but had the Monday night game not ended the way it did, or if the replacements actually got the call right, I bet the league would still be dragging their feet on getting an agreement. However, after the NFL offices received over 70,000 calls following the Seattle-Green Bay game, along with players becoming more vocal about their disapproval, the owners acted fast to get a new deal.
It took two days of marathon negotiations, but it appears a new eight-year deal is set to be ratified this Friday by the union. The 121 members will finalize their vote over the weekend.
Basically the deal wavered on salary, pension and retirement benefits for the officials, who are part-time employees. The new agreement will increase salaries from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, up to $205,000 by 2019.
Under the proposal, the current benefit pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season or until the official earns 20 years of service. The plan will then be frozen.