The Real Refs Are Back! NFL Agreement Reached
The NY Times reports that the union representing the 120 referees and the National Football League, after weeks of lockout and angst by players, owners, coaches and fans, have come to a tentative agreement.
Maybe it was the blatancy of NFL players taking to Twitter and creatively mixing expletives in ways that simply rang forth truth on a primal level. Perhaps it was the Packers - an entire team - rumored to have considered walking out for the rest of the season. Of course, we can't discount the super-nova heat of the fans' spreading fury.
The deal, purportedly to be be for the next eight years, created a compromise over the extra referees the NFL wanted to hire, in order to "bench" refs if they are deemed calling games poorly. Officials offered to retain their current pension benefits, with new hires settling for 401k accounts. The settlement will allow the current refs to retain their plans, but only for a few more years, when they, too, will see a conversion to the 401k-based system.
From what I read, it smells a lot like we'll be seeing the older, more respected NFL refs retiring soon. I pray this doesn't signal slowly worsening calls over the years...
National Football Post reports that referee Ed Hochuli, to his credit, conducted ongoing training, quizzes and communication between his compadres, in an attempt to keep them ready to take the field once again. We'll see soon enough how they do without their customary warm-up pre-season period.
The agreement has to be voted on, but it would appear it's finalized enough for refs to take the field again. Beginning with Thursday night's Raven - Browns game, the real NFL refs will be basking in the warm glow of fans once again warmly accusing them of every game-call stilting physical and mental affliction imaginable. I'm sure each and every one of the refs on that field will think one thing...
It's good to be back.