The National Football League (NFL) has finally reached an agreement that ends a labor dispute with NFL officials, reports The Chicago Tribune. The deal with the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) will allow locked-out officials to return to the field for the rest of this week’s games. Here are the top 10 facts you need to know about the agreement.
1. The NFL and the NFL Referees Association Reached the Agreement Late Wednesday Night
The agreement has been made after plenty of frustration from fans and football players alike. Questionable calls made by replacement referee’s continued to cause anger for three weeks.
2. The Agreement Came 48 Hours After the Controversial Ruling that Decided Monday’s Game
Replacement referee’s have been put on the field to desperately make up for the lockout. On Monday night, the replacements made a bad call when they gave the Seattle Seahawks a win over the Greenbay Packers when they called a clear interception a touchdown. The error most likely sped up the process.
3. Officials will Vote on the Agreement Friday and Saturday
The agreement is subject to ratification by the NFLRA. Officials will hold a vote on the agreement Friday and Saturday. It must be agreed upon by at least 51 percent of the union’s 121 members.
4. The New Agreement is the Longest in NFL History
“The long-term future of our game requires that we seek improvement in every area, including officiating,” NFL Commissioner Roger 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.”
5. It is an Eight-Year Term Covering the 2012-2019 Seasons
The Chicago Tribune ever so neatly outlines the following new agreement:
6. The Current Benefit Pension Plan will Remain in Place for Current Officials through the 2016 Season
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.
7. Retirement Benefits will be Provided for New Hires and for All Officials Beginning in 2017
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.
8. Game Officials’ Compensation will Increase from an Average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 to $205,000 by 2019
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.
9. NFL will have the Option of Hiring a Number of Officials on a Full-Time Basis to Work Year-Round
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.
10. The NFL will have the Option to Retain Additional Officials for Training and Development
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.