We just got this lovely little missive sent to us courtesy of the NFL:
The NFL and the NFL Referees Association agreed tonight to the terms of a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement that will return the game officials to the field for this weekend’s games, beginning with Thursday night’s Cleveland at Baltimore game.
The email also states that Commissioner Roger Goodell has temporarily lifted the lockout so that the officials can work Thursday night’s Cleveland at Baltimore game prior to their ratification vote by the referee union, which is scheduled for Saturday in Dallas.
Personally, I think it would have been HILARIOUS to make scab refs work the NFL Network game this evening, but I might be alone in my villainy there.
So, how did the deal turn out? Several think the owners caved, in particular the hardline owners who often remain nameless. We will call them "Jerry Jones." The reason for the concessions by the owners likely has to do with the disaster that happened Monday night. That was on ESPN. Thursday night's game is on the network built by the NFL owners. They don't want to see a repeat of Green Bay v. Seattle.
Thus, we have the union refs keeping their pension plans until six years from now.
What the owners get is, at the beginning of the 2013 season, they will have the option of hiring a number of officials on a full-time basis to work year-round, including on the field. However, another potential owner concession there is the league will pay for these crews, not the union.
Prior to this email from the NFL spelling out the details, the NFL and NFLRA issued this joint statement:
"Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night," Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We appreciate the commitment of the NFLRA in working through the issues to reach this important agreement. Our Board of Directors has unanimously approved taking this proposed CBA to the membership for a ratification vote," said Scott Green, president of the NFLRA. "We are glad to be getting back on the field for this week’s games."
The only thing missing from this wasteful and seemingly useless lockout is Ed Hochuli hugging it out with Patriots owner Bob Kraft in front of all the TV cameras.
And with that, we bid the scab refs adieu (unless they get hired in 2013 as part of the new crews) and we welcome back Mr. Hochuli and his merry men, who will (most likely) blow a critical call of three this Sunday. Hey, mistakes a human. The degree of the mistake is the difference between a union professional and a scab.
Welcome back, refs. Oh, and if you blow a call against the Colts, I WILL FIND YOU AND SPIT ON YOUR FACE WHILE YOU SLEEP!