Progress is being made in the talks between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association. Since the news is moving fairly swiftly, we are going to update this post with with the latest status of the negotiations.
The union referees have been locked out since June 3 by the league. The entire preseason and the first three weeks of the regular season have been officiated by replacement referees.
Ray Anderson, executive vice-president of football operations, and Jeff Pash, the league’s attorney, are leading the negotiation for the NFL. The union has referee Scott Green, attorney Michael Arnold, and referee Jeff Triplette at the negotiating table.
It is official. There is a tentative agreement.
Jason LaCanfora tweets that regular officials will be working Thursday Night Football.
It appears from all fronts at the least there is an agreement in principle or at most the agreement is signed.
Bottom line — from what all we hear and read, the regular officials will be working on the field in Week 4.
Albert Breer of NFL.com is taking a more conservative reporting approach to the story, but still reports the two sides are “closing in on a deal.”
Pro Football Talk has some more details regarding pension and the logistics for the regular officials working Week 4.
And just as I publish the PFT story, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that he received a text from someone “in the room” stating that reports of a signed deal are “categorically untrue.”
Reporting breaking news in the digital age can be messy at timesâ€¦â€¦â€¦..
Pro Football Talk is reporting there is a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association.
Jason La Canfora tweet:
Deal between NFL and locked out officials is imminent and would include language to allow regular refs to work Thursday night game.
Looks like, barring a last minute collapse in talks, the lockout is over.
No news to report at this hour, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeted that the negotiations are continuing.
From what I’ve been reading, it appears that the NFL has made a major concession regarding the 21 “bench” officials. They will be mentored, not be members of the NFLRA, and won’t work on the field. Not quite sure what these officials will be doingâ€¦â€¦.
Ben’s entry about officials concerned about passing a medical physical is curious at best and troubling at worst. Did the 20 concerned officials just not get around to scheduling their physical exam with a doctor and they are now behind the proverbial eight-ball? Or are there new, stringent physical fitness requirements that would essentially weed out the older, veteran officials? I guess we’ll know after the ink is dry on the new agreement.
To correct an earlier entry based on Albert Breer’s latest column:
The developmental officials will not be NFLRA members, will not work games and will not be eligible to be subbed in initially.
But, the development officials will work with a crew during the week.
NFL has not ruled out using regulars for tomorrow night’s game between the Browns and Ravens.
Realistically, I don’t see how they can pull that off, but optimism abounds.
The officials can be ready for tomorrow night’s game. One locked-out official told me “when this ends, I will be ready at a moment’s notice.” However, in all likelihood, they will have to wait until Week 5 because of a variety of logistical factors.
Jim Daopoulos, former NFL officiating supervisor and current NBC Sports rules analyst, says that upwards of 20 union officials may be concerned about passing a physical before returning to work.
Jason La Canfora tweets:
There will be debate and back and forth about how close the NFL is to a deal w/refs. And until its over it aint over. But, bottom line: things would have to totally fall apart for replacement refs to work beyond Week 4, if in fact they’re even on the job come Sunday.
Story by Peter King saying the NFL and NFLRA have made progress in negotiations,but no deal yet.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated via Twitter:
I’m hearing NFLRA negotiator Scott Green has notified officials that a deal is not imminent. Stay tuned, obviously.
Albert Breer of NFL Network is reporting that the league and the union have agreed on the proposal for three full crews’ worth of officials to be hired (21 in total). The new officials would have an apprenticeship role, being mentored by the current referees, presumably by rotating them into existing crews to gain field experience
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports an agreement is very close.
According to Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, the NFL and NFL Referees Association appear to be making progress in negotiations to end the lockout of the game’s regular officials.
Freeman reports that the two sides have agreed to a mentoring program, in response to the NFL’s proposal to create a “bench system” that would pull under-performing officials off the field and have them replaced with others. According to the report, that issue is settled.
Unfortunately, the big issue of pensions is still unresolved. Freeman says the NFLRA offered concessions on the pension issue but commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners are holding firm.
As of this writing, it looks like the NFL have replacement officials for Week 4, but there appears to be some hope of labor peace on the horizon.