NFL Season May Start With Replacement Refs
Author: Mack Rawden
published: 2012-06-04 17:44:53
If experienced, well-trained referees miss calls during every game, how much worse would it be with replacements? That’s what everyone in the NFL is asking themselves after talks between the league and the NFL Referees Association broke down again, convincing the powers that be to enact a plan to hire and train new whistleblowers in time for the upcoming season.
Unlike referees from the other major sports, a good percentage of NFL officials actually hold down other jobs. They’re bankers, lawyers and just about anything you can think of. They’re only around football on Sundays, and as such, they’re in a unique position not needing the sport to pay the bills.
The two sides reportedly met yesterday with mediators present, but the banter abruptly ended when lawyers for the league walked out of the meeting. The referees supposedly abandoned a few concessions already made, and the league was having none of it.
According to ESPN, the NFL’s current proposal is a seven-year deal that will increase salaries between five and eleven percent, pushing some over two hundred thousand dollars a year. Given the league’s incredible popularity, the officials want even better compensation. It remains to be seen whether they’ll get it.
As for the players, the Union has expressed solidarity with the refs, and it’s clear the rank-and-file really want the officials they already know and are comfortable with. If no agreement can be reached, the NFL will look to college football to pluck replacements and will offer training courses to get the new bodies up to speed.