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Replay officials sign CBA, worked under deal that expired prior to season




The replay officials are now under collective bargaining agreement through 2020, having worked the first four weeks of the season on an expired deal. Replay officials are on a separate collective bargaining agreement from the on-field officials. Last year, the on-field officials were locked out by the league, until an agreement was reached in Week 4.

A league spokesman would only confirm that the agreement took place, “We have reached an agreement with the NFL Referees Association on an eight-year collective bargaining agreement with the 17 NFL replay officials. The agreement has been ratified by 17 replay officials and is in effect.”

The terms were not disclosed. The union did not respond to a request for comment.

There was no apparent urgency in reaching a deal after it expired in the offseason. The negotiations were ongoing, but neither the league nor the union wanted to discuss, unlike last year. A strike by the replay officials was apparently not seriously considered, and the league did not indicate it was going to lock out the replay officials. One person with knowledge of past deals acknowledged to Football Zebras that the replay officials lacked leverage in these negotiations the way the on-field officials did.

The timing of the deal comes as former vice-president of officiating Mike Pereira says the current system needs to go. In his weekly feature for Fox Sports, he said that a likely incorrect call by Walt Coleman on a review has Pereira thinking that the replay operation should be run out of league headquarters.

It does make me think that the NFL should copy the NHL — and the soon-to-be expanded replay rule in Major League Baseball — and use a central location to review all challenges and reviews with the decision made by a select group of supervisors who look at the play together. There’s a better chance for decisions to be much more consistent.

This would mean that most, if not all, of the 17 replay officials and 17 video assistants would be let go under Pereira’s proposed solution.

Until such proposal gets serious consideration, the replay officials are under a CBA until the year following the expiration of the uniformed officials’ CBA.

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Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)