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Rumors fly of Friday negotiating session between NFL, officials

New York Jets v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

As we get closer and closer to the start of the regular season, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association could be getting closer to closing a fairly close gap.

A league source tells PFT that there’s talk of a high-level negotiating session occurring Friday between the league and the locked-out officials.  We don’t have names (yet) of the folks participating on behalf of the NFL.

We also don’t have confirmation that a session is occurring.

If the rumor is true, the move is encouraging, and it’s not really a surprise given the comments made Thursday by Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Per Albert Breer of NFL Network, Goodell twice refused to rule out a return by the regular officials for Week One — even though the league already had said the replacements will be used for the first slate of games that count.  NFLRA negotiator Mike Arnold suggested a deal could be done quickly, given that the gap between the two sides isn’t huge, about $6,000 per team per game.

The NFL’s willingness to talk (and perhaps to move off its position) means the league realizes that a shebacle is looming.  The officials’ willingness to talk (and perhaps to move off their position) means that the men in stripes realize that they have one heck of a hobby, and that they don’t want to see anyone else doing that which they love to do.  Especially when the replacements leave much to be desired.

So let’s hope they get it done, if for no reason other the good of the game.

UPDATE 11:37 a.m. ET:  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has declined to comment on the topic.  And all that that implies.

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24 Responses to “Rumors fly of Friday negotiating session between NFL, officials”
  1. daysend564 says: Aug 31, 2012 11:37 AM

    Refs finally realizing their meal ticket is going to get punched by someone else.

    Regular refs are terrible in preseason games too. They are going to look as bad or worse during the first 4-5 regular season games as the replacements.

  2. popdawg99 says: Aug 31, 2012 11:41 AM

    I was sort of looking forward to not having to listen to Ed Hochuli’s painful explaination of penalties/replays.

  3. nickseevers says: Aug 31, 2012 11:48 AM

    How much do refs make a game? $6k per team/per game is the gap, what’s the total then?

  4. wamaha says: Aug 31, 2012 11:48 AM

    Deadlines spur action…….

  5. garza0080 says: Aug 31, 2012 11:49 AM

    This is a good rumor and I really hope there is some truth to it! I would hate to see a team lose a crucial game because of theses replacement refs, not to mention someone getting seriously injured because of these refs, get the deal done for the sake of the game. Be honest NFL,I pride myself on that and the NFL should as well. The truth is on film this preseason and you do not need a replay to see the bad officiating!

  6. insanelomein2 says: Aug 31, 2012 11:50 AM

    So I wont get the ability to laugh when another replacement ref calls a holding penalty on a punt returner?

  7. foreverlsu says: Aug 31, 2012 11:51 AM

    Hard to side with referees complaining about being lowest paid of major sports. Uhh, you only work about 18 games. Then again, if all we’re talking about is $6,000 per team… Really?!

  8. ckualii says: Aug 31, 2012 11:56 AM

    popdawg99 says: Aug 31, 2012 11:41 AM

    I was sort of looking forward to not having to listen to Ed Hochuli’s painful explaination of penalties/replays.
    ———————————

    That makes total sense, because the replacement refs have explained their calls beautifully.

  9. Ghost Rat says: Aug 31, 2012 11:57 AM

    Get it done, Roger.

  10. onepointtwentyonejiggawatts says: Aug 31, 2012 12:02 PM

    Advantage Refs. These guys have leverage, because of the total ineptitude of the NFL’s replacements. Seasoned officials who have been in and around the pro game for decades understand the nuances of holding calls, illegal procedure and various other subtle technicalities that the replacements have no hope of understanding in the time allotted. Does it boil down to greed or injustice? Either way you look at it, the quality of the games will suffer unless this is rapidly resolved.

  11. johninthewest says: Aug 31, 2012 12:10 PM

    Great you all regulars missed preseason. That’s 1/4 pay cut for 2012!!

  12. cappa662 says: Aug 31, 2012 12:18 PM

    Most of the refs are lawyers and principles with very lucrative jobs. Not sure why they would budge.

  13. jonsilver1947 says: Aug 31, 2012 12:20 PM

    32 teams times $6k times 16 games/team=$3.072 mil
    PLUS
    11 playoff games times 2 teams times $6k=$132 k

    Total: $3.2 mil

    (Don’t know if that $6k/team/game figure included future preseason games)

  14. whodeytn says: Aug 31, 2012 12:20 PM

    The gap is that small and the NFL hasn’t budged yet? Ridiculous.

  15. thehuckster404 says: Aug 31, 2012 12:26 PM

    I think the biggest issue with replacement refs is the time they need to decide on the correct calls and ball spotting. I agree that established refs also make bad calls, but they definitely keep the game moving efficiently.

    Nothing to kill a huge momentum swing like a 3 minute discussion on offsetting penalties.

  16. abengalfan says: Aug 31, 2012 12:29 PM

    nickseevers says:
    Aug 31, 2012 11:48 AM
    How much do refs make a game? $6k per team/per game is the gap, what’s the total then?

    From what I have heard this week a typical NFL ref makes 10k per game. Some as high as 20k a game. Nice pay for a side job, w/ a full pension.
    Hard to feel sorry for someone scraping by on that kind of money, wish I could feel some of that “pain”

  17. thelastpieceofcheese says: Aug 31, 2012 12:51 PM

    Regular refs are as greedy as they are inept.

  18. jvkaimak says: Aug 31, 2012 1:13 PM

    Tim Hightower cut by redskins. Go get Alfred Morris in your fantasy league

  19. njsteelersfan says: Aug 31, 2012 1:34 PM

    ckualii says:Aug 31, 2012 11:56 AM

    popdawg99 says: Aug 31, 2012 11:41 AM

    I was sort of looking forward to not having to listen to Ed Hochuli’s painful explaination of penalties/replays.
    ———————————

    That makes total sense, because the replacement refs have explained their calls beautifully.
    ———————————————-
    The reg refs been together how many years and its a shame they blow plays big time !!! The replacements been togetther what 4 weeks now the only diff is the time it take’s to explained their calls

  20. mjkelly77 says: Aug 31, 2012 1:54 PM

    cappa662 says:Aug 31, 2012 12:18 PM

    Most of the refs are lawyers and principles with very lucrative jobs. Not sure why they would budge.
    _____________

    The greedy part-timers will budge because $150,000 per year, medical benefits and a six figure lifetime pension will make them budge. Not to mention that they need fresh NFL stories to spin around the country club.

  21. mjkelly77 says: Aug 31, 2012 2:00 PM

    … given that the gap between the two sides isn’t huge, about $6,000 per team per game.
    ________________

    Fully fringed? I don’t think that’s remotely close to the gap. The NFL offered a 401(k) vs. the lifetime pension the greedy part-timers have. That cost variance alone would be astronomical. Bring on the actuaries and cost analysts. I’m sure they’d strongly disagree with the $6,000 figure.

  22. stevecmh says: Aug 31, 2012 2:02 PM

    It’s scary that the season starts in less than a week and the NFL says they are ready to use the replacement refs in week one.

    Mark my words, at least one game’s outcome will be determined by a grievous error by the replacement refs.

    With record revenues, why is the league so willing to screw around with the quality of their product? It seems like a very short-sighted strategy to me.

    It’s too bad that Roger Goodell couldn’t take a break from his letter-writing to get this situation resolved now. Then, he would have something new to write about, instead of re-hashing bountygate.

  23. nathpz says: Aug 31, 2012 3:00 PM

    $6000 per team per game? Get it done! The replacement refs have been awful, and using them in the regular season will taint the games.

    Goodell continues to be more worried about flexing his muscle than about what’s best for the game.

  24. gadgetdawg says: Aug 31, 2012 3:24 PM

    I am torn. The replacement refs are doing a bad job so far but the regular refs aren’t perfect either.

    I am hoping for a last minute agreement where the regular refs get most of what they wanted but the NFL gets the regular refs as full time employees. I think regular game decisions would be greatly improved if the game’s refs spent most of the season studying and training.

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