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NFL and refs agree on backup officials, but pension issue remains

Tony Veteri AP

The good news is that there’s a tangible sign of progress between the NFL and the locked-out officials. The bad news is it’s progress on a lesser issue, while the major issue between the two sides is no closer to being resolved.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the NFL and the NFL Referees Association have come to an agreement on the use of backup officials going forward. The league wanted to add 21 officials — three more full crews of seven officials — and have all of those backups ready to go in case a regular official’s performance was so bad that the NFL wanted to fire him. The NFLRA, as unions typically do, opposed that effort to make it easier to fire one of their members.

The compromise is that there will be 21 added officials, but they will be part of a developmental training program, and not considered part of the regular group of NFL officials who could step in immediately if the NFL wanted to fire an official for bad performance.

But while that is a sign of real progress, the larger issue remains the pension plan. The officials want the NFL to contribute tens of thousands of dollars a year per official toward their pensions, and the owners are adamant that there’s no way they’re spending that kind of money on pensions for part-time workers. And as long as that issue remains, the lockout doesn’t appear likely to end any time soon.

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96 Responses to “NFL and refs agree on backup officials, but pension issue remains”
  1. benh999 says: Sep 26, 2012 9:54 AM

    “The NFLRA, as unions typically do, opposed that effort to make it easier to fire one of their members.”

    For any labor union, the only thing better than money is job security. I think most would take pay cuts rather than have accountability.

  2. apac6586 says: Sep 26, 2012 9:57 AM

    They shouldn’t receive pensions for part time job. Nobody should.

  3. jae121704 says: Sep 26, 2012 9:57 AM

    This needs to end, and now. I don’t 100% agree with the pension thing either for a part time employee, but why can’t they find a common ground? A matching pension, or a pension where the NFL contributes some, the owners contribute some, and the refs themselves contribute some.

    The officiating is getting out of hand, and to be honest, I would rather see them make $300,000 a year than continue to cost teams games…

    Come on NFL, let’s get this done, ASAP!

  4. jasons81 says: Sep 26, 2012 9:59 AM

    So kind of like a practice squad for refs?

  5. bucrightoff says: Sep 26, 2012 10:03 AM

    Hopefully the NFLRA drops the pension nonsense. These guys all work other jobs, most of them in pretty good paying careers, on top of the good salary they make as part-time workers in the NFL. I get people will view the owners as cheap, but in any business when expenses go up, they almost always get passed on to the consumer. So consider that.

    Of course maybe the NFL should just consider going with full-time referees so we get better quality refereeing?

  6. jdbk04 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:03 AM

    Unreal! People are pointing a finger at Goodell and the NFL but why should these guys get paid AND pensions as if they are FT employees. Would be nice to work a few months a year, make 6 figures AND have a pension. While these replacement refs are AWFUL and they need to come to an agreement, these refs need to join the real world!

  7. skippynj says: Sep 26, 2012 10:03 AM

    11 billion in revenue this year and they’re quibbling over nickels and dimes. These owners are bullies and they know it’s a good time to try and bust unions. And please don’t tell me it’s “the principle”-it’s greed and power, just like it always is, purely and simply.

  8. mnsportswiz says: Sep 26, 2012 10:04 AM

    Pension solution…Give the Ref’s $100,000 per year of service in their pension, so if a ref is in place for 20 years then it would be 2 million payout at retirement.

    If they get fired for poor performance then their pension would be cut in half and paid out immediatly upon termination.

  9. drewj7 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:04 AM

    As much as I want to see this resolved – They shouldn’t have agreed to that.

    It basically eliminates any leverage the real refs will have in the future.

  10. whyamiacowboysfanagain says: Sep 26, 2012 10:06 AM

    Jerry Jones had made Goodell his own personal hand puppet. I wonder if Goodell will replace Jones’ son in-law as his new eyeglass cleaner?

  11. eagleswin says: Sep 26, 2012 10:07 AM

    I have to say, hiring the extra officials makes no sense unless you are able to use them if needed.

    Also, if the issue of the having the old referees is as dear to the NFLPA as DeSmith makes it sound, it’s his chance to back up the rhetoric he’s been spewing by offering to fund the NFLPA’s pensions from the NFLPA’s funds. Union supporting union, right? Win/Win? Solidarity? He’s been saying the pensions are a pittance all along.

    When pigs fly will DeSmith back up his rhetoric with the player’s money.

  12. ravenator says: Sep 26, 2012 10:07 AM

    Get er done

  13. eventhorizon04 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:08 AM

    “Tens of thousands of dollars a year per official toward their pensions.”

    There are about 120 NFL officials.

    Let’s say “Tens of thousands of dollars per year” is $70,000 per year (and it’s probably lower than that).

    That’s 120 x $70,000 = $840,000 a year.

    The NFL just increased their projected revenue this year by $1 billion due to more Thursday night football games, and they’re arguing over $1 million a year.

  14. Stiller43 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:09 AM

    Yeah god forbid someone get fired for bad performance…ya know, like the rest of the world. That shouldnt have even been an issue.

  15. japmen says: Sep 26, 2012 10:12 AM

    Good start at least. Time to ramp this up and get us some quality game calling

  16. jaydm84 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:12 AM

    Here’s a thought, why don’t full time officials get a full pension and the part time officials get a smaller percentage?

  17. cliffcla says: Sep 26, 2012 10:13 AM

    But as we have discovered with the replacement officials this is a skilled position. One that just any nincompoop cannot do. I understand as much as the next person that you want to control your costs as much as the next person. But how much is the integrity of your product worth? How long before Vagas gets involved when the point spread is skewed because of bad calls. Last weekend alone had to cost millions.

  18. waytogojohn says: Sep 26, 2012 10:13 AM

    Wait, the NFL wants to fire a ref for bad officiating. What has the last three weeks been.

  19. 6packsteelers says: Sep 26, 2012 10:13 AM

    And this is news because of????

  20. ocgunslinger says: Sep 26, 2012 10:15 AM

    I have decided to not watch any more of the 2012 NFL regular season. It is not just that last call in the Packers/Seahawk game but the other bad calls on the same drive that enabled that last play along with the same situation in far to many other games the first three weeks. With all the money being made by the league they need to resolve this with a little more cash to those in charge of the game on the field. The quality of the game now sucks and it is fixable.

  21. bhart613 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:15 AM

    Part time workers do not deserve pentions. That’s just ridiculous.

  22. rootintootinnootin says: Sep 26, 2012 10:16 AM

    This site has become so consumed with the referee lockout that I’m having to go to ESPN rumors and rotoworld to find out about player news.

    Can you create a separate page specifically for the lockout news so that we can get back to more entertaining articles? The lockout is just getting really old and tired.

  23. lightcleric says: Sep 26, 2012 10:17 AM

    Maybe we really should just stop watching and tank the ratings for a few weeks.

    If this is really ruining the game for us as much as we all say it is, it won’t be that hard for us to quit watching for a while.

  24. ace8842 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:17 AM

    Unions asking for too much again. I’d like to know what type of pensions these guys expect for working a few hours every weekend.

  25. tabdanger says: Sep 26, 2012 10:18 AM

    So are these developmental officials going to be considered union? Or can they also be brought in just in case there is another strike/lockout.

  26. sdisme says: Sep 26, 2012 10:18 AM

    I think the replacement refs are horrible, but the owners shouldn’t cave to pensions.

    Pensions are a thing of the past. If the NFLRA doesn’t agree to drop pensions, it’s time to move on and start hiring new NFL officials.

  27. chc4 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:18 AM

    This will get done soon.

  28. eaglesfanintx says: Sep 26, 2012 10:19 AM

    Screw the officials and their pension demands. Set them up with a 401k like the rest of us.

  29. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Sep 26, 2012 10:19 AM

    the owners could make a bet in vegas, have their replacement refs make a couple calls, and pay for these guys’ pensions into the next millenium.

  30. olsonmr says: Sep 26, 2012 10:19 AM

    I know people are upset saying Goodell for not caring about integrity of the game, but having extra crews to replace ones doing bad is doing exactly the opposite of not caring about product that is put on the field.

  31. bangitfootball says: Sep 26, 2012 10:20 AM

    These guys work one day a week for 20 weeks. There part timer workers who almost all have other full time jobs. They dont deserve a pension. Or contributuons from the NFL. They make $175,000 a year for this part time job plus hotel, food and air and spending money every week they work. Give me a break. Greed is everywhere you turn in the NFL.

  32. all4patriots says: Sep 26, 2012 10:21 AM

    Tens of thousands of dollars per year per official, times the total number of officials, is still a pittance compared to league revenue.

    I read one estimate that the $$ difference amounts to less than 0.12% of the TV revenue alone.

    Get this done, please!

  33. stull60060 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:21 AM

    Very few if any companies today offer pension plans. They offer 401k’s and that’s only for full time employees. The refs need to live in reality land not fantasy land. The fans are the ones who actually pay for the ref’s salaries and benefits. Most fans don’t get a pension. They have 401k’s where they contribute to their own retirement savings. Why should they pay an employee of theirs a benefit that they themselves don’t receive? At most the league should grandfather the pension benefit. However,

  34. garyman1 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:22 AM

    I”m ok with this as long as they don’t get the backup officials from these guys officiating right now.

  35. srbumblebeeman says: Sep 26, 2012 10:35 AM

    So the NFL wants to fire an official for making a bad call. Yet they do not want to get rid of the replacement refs that made Monday’s terrible call bad enough to end the lockout. Hmmmm…

  36. fwippel says: Sep 26, 2012 10:38 AM

    I hate to say it, but the owners are right on this one. Pensions are becoming a thing of the past, like it or not.

    NFL refs don’t work nearly as many days as MLB umpires. It’s two different worlds. I want to see the real refs back as much as anyone, but the refs neeed to wake up and realize that pensions are gone, and they aren’t coming back. If they keep this up, the replacement refs are here to stay.

  37. gisellichek says: Sep 26, 2012 10:41 AM

    The owners should buy out the pension fund of each ref with one lump some payment and transfer everyone to the 401k …

    Cut a one time payment to each of the tenured refs and make them responsible for there own retirement… I figure it will cost 500K per ref.

    yea… it will be pricey… but they get the refs back and they can make up the $$ in the next TV deal. i mean … it is only money… they’ll make more … a lot more.

  38. endzonepete says: Sep 26, 2012 10:43 AM

    You guys can trash these refs all you want, but you need to acknowledge the fact that there are very few people in this world that can successfully do this job on the NFL level.

    If you consider the amount of scrutiny they are always under to consistently make accurate calls based on something that happened in a split second with millions of people watching that have the benefit of slow motion instant replay from several different camera angles, I think they do a remarkable job.

    If you’re going to be so against them getting a pension as part time employees, then you shouldn’t complain about the replacement refs because they are obviously worth every penny of what the NFL is saving right?

    Do you think the NFL is going to pass this savings on to you?

    Think about it…

  39. majorhavoc83 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:44 AM

    I’m in agreement with all those that say that there are nearly zero companies in the US that provide a pension, let alone a pension for part-time employees.

    To the NFLRA: to get a deal done, you’re going to need to make a concession. Here’s Larry David’s quote referring to Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, “A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied…” You’re going to have to get with reality and understand that pensions are “out”. What you should try to get is a matching 401(k) plan (e.g., dollar-for-dollar up to some IRS defined percentage).

  40. willyalistentothis says: Sep 26, 2012 10:45 AM

    The various debacles we have been made to endure over the last few weeks make us forget that the officiating by the regular crews has been less then stellar recently in some real big spots. Let’s remember what happened in last year’s Giants v. Packers game. Only the fact that the Giants won saved the NFL from a major black eye. I admire the NFL for confronting the issue. The fact that the NFLRA is resisiting the NFL’s effort to improve the quality of officiating is upsetting and should remind us that the NFL is not all to blame for this crap-show. The NFLRA needs to tell it’s members to man up. NOT FOR LONG (NFL) should extend to refs as it does to players and coaches.

  41. aetherealdirges says: Sep 26, 2012 10:45 AM

    “Accountability.”

    Wanting basic levels of job security isn’t about wanting to avoid accountability – what hogwash.

  42. mostlombardisintheleague says: Sep 26, 2012 10:47 AM

    Just because the NFL is a $9 billion indusry does not give the refs the immediate right to demand higher salaries and hold them over a barrel. My company is a multi billion dollar company and I don’t get to ask for and receive huge pay increases. What is the formula or algorithm that determines exactly what an NFL official is worth ? It won’t matter if the NFL did give in and give them everything they ask for, because in a few years they will ask for more and more,….. where does it stop ? It has stopped, and look what we have – garbage.

  43. archetypeobscure says: Sep 26, 2012 10:47 AM

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the pension if the league forces the issue that the refs have to make this their only job. If they do that, then this is a full-time job, it’s their profession, and they deserve benefits. If the refs are just using this as a side-job or a hobby, then no, no pension.

  44. rainponcho87 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:47 AM

    people are upset part time workers are getting pensions. Why is that your problem? Every player in the NFL is a “part time” worker and they are getting a heck of a lot more than officials. If being an official is such an amazing deal and so easy, why don’t you do it? We have no idea what sacrifices they make in the other jobs in order to become an official. It would be pretty hard to be a full time participant in a law firm for instance while flying off to wherever on sundays, mondays, and thursdays from August to February, while also attending officiating meetings, camps, etc. Maybe we should know more about the life of an official before deciding they don’t deserve a pension. It amazes me how people can be so unsympathetic to a working person, yet feel that a wealthy person who owns a team deserves everything coming their way, especially in a sport where the players are in some cases literally sacrificing their lives and their health.

  45. r8rsfan says: Sep 26, 2012 10:48 AM

    It’s not about money – it’s power and control. Typical behavior from wealthy men who no longer have any financial concerns. Control of other humans and power over another mans’ life is what these owners crave and they have the means to do so.

  46. marthisdil says: Sep 26, 2012 10:49 AM

    eventhorizon04 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:08 AM

    “Tens of thousands of dollars a year per official toward their pensions.”

    There are about 120 NFL officials.

    Let’s say “Tens of thousands of dollars per year” is $70,000 per year (and it’s probably lower than that).

    That’s 120 x $70,000 = $840,000 a year.

    ====================
    I see math isn’t your strong point.

    120 * $70000 = $8,400,000 – big difference. AND on top of it, the league wants ot let them in on the 401K plan other league employees have (which the league contributes some towards).

    No, the officials are greedy and don’t deserve it at all for part time work.

  47. patsfan1213 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:50 AM

    Those that are complaining that they’re only part-time, or that it’s some sort of moral stand on the part of the owners:

    They do work more than 1 day per week in this gig. I’ve read they work 36 hours a week. With the pension, is it really worth holding the league hostage for about $100k per team per year? This is ridiculous. Who cares if your job no longer offers a pension and you view them as a relic? This isn’t and shouldn’t be a moralistic stand. It’s pennies on the dollar, people. Now that the backup ref issue is resolved, make them full-time, let them keep their pension, and let’s get some level of consistency back on Sundays. This is absurd.

  48. bobterwilliger says: Sep 26, 2012 10:50 AM

    “They shouldn’t receive pensions for part time job. Nobody should.”

    (looks around)

    This is America, right? I think it’s pretty obvious that in terms of supply and demand, the supply of officials able to handle an NFL game is pretty limited. Therefore the price goes up. Besides, the players get pensions and they technically have a part time job.

    During the season, it’s a full time job. With travel, watching film, attending meetings, sometimes working practices, in addition to the games, these guys are busy from July through January. Plus, it’s not like you just walk into this job, it takes 10 years of officiating experience and several years of Division 1 college officiating to even get considered.

    Goodell and the owners’ logic is that fewer companies are offering pensions these days, so they shouldn’t either. This logic is garbage.

    Very few companies have what should be an infinitely sustainable business like the NFL. This is assuming its consumers don’t lose interest over time as they begin to question whether the product is still legit.

  49. trapshoot says: Sep 26, 2012 10:52 AM

    Most part time workers would be ecstatic over getting a 401k. Refs seem a bit greedy on this one.

  50. monkeesfan says: Sep 26, 2012 10:55 AM

    Why should the owners spend money on something – pensions – that always becomes a bottomless pit? The refs association should stop asking for a pension.

  51. bigjdve says: Sep 26, 2012 10:55 AM

    People – the replacements would be a fine product if they had the same rigorous training that the regular refs did.

    This is a concession from the NFL, a stupid one. How does having the practice squad work if you can’t use them?

    Currently, the regular refs want a guaranteed yearly pension benefit of $38000. I don’t think that people really understand what this means.

    This means that after they retire, they get $38k a year from the NFL until they die. That is alot of money folks. For the year 2012 – the average HOUSEHOLD income is just under $51K. Think about that, the refs want to be paid pretty close to the average household income for their part time job for life.

    That is just unreasonable.

    Concession – give them the 40k a year as 401k contribution, oh wait they can’t. The maximum contribution is 17k a year unless your are over 50 and then it is 22.5k. Give them them maximum yearly contribution until they retire.

    Then up your salary offer by a couple %, that should accommodate the need for more money.

    That way you are paying them a premium while they are working.

    All of this will be stipulated upon an evaluation system being implemented.

  52. degehring says: Sep 26, 2012 10:56 AM

    Ok… my take on this is a bit different. While I agree with those who say it doesn’t make sense that part-time employees have full-blown pensions, this a benefit that the NFL is already providing for their officials. The refs aren’t demanding that these pensions be established for them. They already have them. They are only trying to retain a benefit they already have.

    Given the NFL is making more money than ever before and that these pension payments are a small fraction of the NFL’s costs of doing business, I can see the union’s point of view on this issue: where is the justification for taking away this benefit? But for the greed of the ownership, there really isn’t any.

    When you look at the crazy money that gets thrown around in the NFL, none of it makes any sense. In that regard, part-time officials getting pensions just seems like par for the course to me.

  53. dustforvomit says: Sep 26, 2012 10:57 AM

    Wow everyone saying that the refs only one day a week, are you kidding me? John Clayton wrote an interesting article (Refereeing Can Often Be Full Time Job) detailing the hours Ed Hochuli puts in a week reviewing tape of the previous week (15 hrs), a few hours doing administrating things (writing emails and filing reports). And to top it off every week during the season and once a month in the offseason, they take a written assessment test and its suggested they study from a book of 1000 “case plays”. So please spare me. Hochuli in the interview estimated he works 30 hours a week as a ref. Part time? Technically yes…But for someone like this who works 30 hours a week to uphold the integrity of a billion dollar corporation, asking for a pension isn’t too ridiculous in my eyes.

    In an interview with Scott Green, President of the NFLRA, during the preseason, he said the league is holding out over paying the NFLRA 1/3 of %1 of the NFL’s total revenue. Someone did the math using a generous estimate of what the refs are asking for (70k a year raise) and still using those numbers the league is holding out for less than $1 million.

    Its inexcusable the NFL is holding out over such petty cash when there is such an outcry from fans, players, coaches and analysts.

  54. monkeesfan says: Sep 26, 2012 10:57 AM

    bobterwilliger shows his ignorance of economics. Pensions are economic poison – it’s why California is bankrupt and why nations in Europe are bankrupt or falling into bankruptcy. Any time you have an entitlement, it becomes a bottomless pit of spending. The refs do not deserve a pension.

  55. krismn22 says: Sep 26, 2012 10:59 AM

    Here’s a thought…refs give up the pension in exchange for the 8% pay increase they want. The end, Hochuli returns on a white stallion. Go football.

  56. MDSsucksworsethanFlorio says: Sep 26, 2012 11:01 AM

    eventhorizon04 says:Sep 26, 2012 10:08 AM

    “Tens of thousands of dollars a year per official toward their pensions.”

    There are about 120 NFL officials.

    Let’s say “Tens of thousands of dollars per year” is $70,000 per year (and it’s probably lower than that).

    That’s 120 x $70,000 = $840,000 a year.

    The NFL just increased their projected revenue this year by $1 billion due to more Thursday night football games, and they’re arguing over $1 million a year.”

    Umm check your math sir.

  57. bluebongzilla says: Sep 26, 2012 11:03 AM

    “11 billion in revenue this year and they’re quibbling over nickels and dimes.”

    About $120 million worth of nickels and dimes, actually. Nickels and dimes that are going to come out of your pocket, by the way.

  58. voteforno6 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:05 AM

    The referees already have pensions – the NFL is trying to take it away, and replace it with a 401(k) system, with less in contributions. What is wrong with keeping what they already have? There’s no financial reason why the league wants to switch this, not with as much as the NFL is making.

    Also, instead of asking why the referees are getting something that you don’t have, maybe you should ask why you can’t have it as well. The money that companies saved by moving from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution system didn’t go to the bottom line – it went to profits for the top executives and shareholders. What we have here is another example of a large corporation trying to do the same. The difference, though, is that the workers have a great deal more leverage.

  59. MDSsucksworsethanFlorio says: Sep 26, 2012 11:06 AM

    It is easy to be generous with other peoples money.

  60. 8ovie8 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:08 AM

    “No, the officials are greedy and don’t deserve it at all for part time work.”

    ————————————————————
    Ok so the refs can’t get a pension but the players playing a kids games gets millions of dollars? I love the players but you can’t compare part-time pensions lunacy with playing football getting paid millions lunacy.. All bets are off when it comes to stupid amounts of money!

  61. mbd3126 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:08 AM

    I am really tired of lockouts and unions. CBA agreements mean nothing since lawyers can just go to court and have a judge override the agreement.

    Yes, revenue has increased for the NFL. But revenue just means the amount of money coming into an organization. What is not stated is the amount of money each NFL team has in costs. This includes player salaries, staff salaries, health benefits, staff retirment contributions, travel, stadium costs, and liability insurance (which is a huge cost).

    It may seem like a small cost for each team to contribute to a pension for a part-time union member but this will be an ongoing cost. A referee retires, pension paid, new one comes in, new pension. And if the owners (not Goodell) agree to this, then when will this insanity end? There will be another lockout when this agreement ends and they want more the next time. Viscious cycle and it need to end now!!!!

  62. sippindasyzurp says: Sep 26, 2012 11:10 AM

    Just a thought but how about increasing there wages and asking them to take a FULL TIME position, with pension and the whole package?

    This could only serve to do the league better by having full-time officials…

    Football is very difficult sport to officiate. They do make mistakes yes, but not nearly the magnitude of what we have been seeing. The whole flow of these games are very slow and it’s the tiny details within the game which these replacements are struggling with very badly. Not to mention they are being intimidated to no end and baited into calls cause they are like a deer in the headlights.

    I have been an official for many years and you will never win and make both sides happy, fans are never happy with your calls, so be it. Officials are important part of the game as there can be no game without them.

    For owners like Jerry Jones to sit back and pretend like he didn’t see the play on Monday and pretend like these officials are filling in adequately is actually insulting to the intelligence of us football fans. Would Jerry Jones think that way if that happened to his beloved Cowboys… I don’t think so.

  63. geniusesq says: Sep 26, 2012 11:12 AM

    Is this really part time work? Just because they only work games for part of the year, doesn’t mean that they don’t have to spend time understanding the rules and the changes to the rules.

    If this was a job that anyone could do part time, the replacements wouldn’t be such a joke.

  64. bluebongzilla says: Sep 26, 2012 11:14 AM

    “It’s not about money – it’s power and control. Typical behavior from wealthy men who no longer have any financial concerns. Control of other humans and power over another mans’ life is what these owners crave and they have the means to do so.”

    You know, the “real” refs have the option of just sticking with their day jobs. or doing whatever else they want to do.

  65. zaggs says: Sep 26, 2012 11:15 AM

    You want a pension? Work full time. Until then, shut it.

  66. thedon52 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:19 AM

    For all those bashing the league and owners, I think we need to lay a large portion of the blame on the officials here. There’s NO reason they should be getting a pension for a part time job which they already make about $150k for. I know people who are full time employees of the NFL and teams within the NFL that receive a 401k and not a pension, and are certainly making less than what these guys make to work 6 months of the year. If they give up this unreasonable request it seems like a deal would be imminent

  67. robf2010 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:21 AM

    In the real world, I’d side with the owners. The NFL is not the real world. The owners are guaranteed profits, regardless of product. Just about every team gets spectacular taxpayer subsidies of one kind or another. Besides, the refs are not trying to GET something they don’t have. They’re trying to KEEP something they do have. It doesn’t matter what other corporations are doing. They’re struggling. The NFL isn’t. This is on the league.

  68. mogogo1 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:22 AM

    “But while that is a sign of real progress…”
    __________________

    It is? Not being able to replace bad refs is a sign of progress? Let’s not kid ourselves, the real refs cost teams games with blown calls, too. And there’s going to be absolutely no way of immediately getting rid of one of them when that happens again?

  69. njsteelersfan says: Sep 26, 2012 11:24 AM

    Whats funny is all of these ppl saying how much the NFL make OK lets see 99% of the refs already have a great paying jobs their lawyers ect and where can you find a side job thats pays whats it like 20k for 3 1/2 hrs a week with the best health benefits and now they want a 401k to boot GET THE F____K OUT OF HERE Just for being a ref is like hitting the lottery you work 3 1/2 hrs a week for a few mths and you can sit back for the rest of the year

  70. rafterman11 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:25 AM

    It pains me, a union person, to say this, but…

    Yes, we know that refs, though technically part-time employees, spend the whole year studying the rule book and getting quizzed by the head of officiating and it may feel like a full time job sometimes.

    But still, a pension is a bit tough to swallow, especially considering how well they are paid for each game. The NFL is being generous even in a 401K offering.

    But the big problem I have is, the union has been complaining about how player safety has been compromised – yet, as the administrators of Div I college refs, whom most could be competent replacements, the union said it would fire any Div I ref who worked NFL games.

    Of course, its obvious why they did that – to pressure the NFL by forcing them to turn to crappy replacements, Div II and lower. But I guess player safety isn’t that important after all to the union.

  71. appraiser201 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:26 AM

    Who care’s? Its just a game. We chastise the ref’s but not the players for their actions on and off the field? The games aren’t even worth watching. The NFL, Players, refs, and Owners are all greedy, aren’t held accountable but there’s integrity, responsibility, character, fairness, and sportsmanship in this so called “great game”?

  72. lynnhoffland says: Sep 26, 2012 11:30 AM

    I think it is time the fans took matters into their own hands. It is time to boycot the TV sponsors, in order to put pressure on the NFL to settle. The only way they will respond is to hit them in the pocketbook. It will take time to trickle down but a boycot will influence the sponsors which will influence the broadcast networks to presure the NFL to settle.

    That’s my 2 cents.

  73. scrp2 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:30 AM

    Is it true some of these replacement refs were fired from the lingerie league? This could have been ironed out a while ago with no fanfare. Controlling a stadium full of 70,000 rapid fans is not a part-time job.

  74. ruascott says: Sep 26, 2012 11:33 AM

    A lot of misconceptions in these comments.

    It’s absurd to compare the Refs with all of us average joe’s at jobs in large companies, and base their argument against a pension based upon that.

    1) These are 120 elite level individuals with extremely specialized skills. The experiment with the replacements prove that they are not widgets that you can just plug in….which is the reality for most workers out there in America.

    2) The NFL is not a regular business model….it’s a monopoly of epic proporitions. It doesn’t operate under typical free-market conditions. And since when should employees be forced to take reduction in benefits when their employer is more flush with money than ever? This isn’t like GM or Chrysler going bankrupt because of employee retirement cost.

    As I undertand it, the money we are talking about here is $3.2M annually, which comes out to $100k/team…..so we are talking like 1/3rd of the absoulte rookie minimum salary for a player.

    This has become ideological for the owners, they don’t want to look weak by backing down. The numbers are irrelevant to them.

  75. marcinhouston says: Sep 26, 2012 11:40 AM

    It’s naive to think that Goodell would use the power to fire officials primarily to assure better performance and integrity. If he cared about integrity, he would not have backed the ‘simultaneous possession’ PR line. Goodell has an agenda and he will use the power to fire refs to back his own agenda entirely seperate from true performance or integrity. He will make sure refs target the teams and players who oppose him, and protect his primadonna media darling favorites, and any ref who does not get the message with face benching and then firing for ‘performance.’

  76. bunkmcnulty says: Sep 26, 2012 11:43 AM

    I am far from a Union guy, but all of you categorizing regular NFL Game officials as run of the mill part time employees need to get a grip. Have you been watching the last 7 weeks (don’t forget the 4 terrible weeks of pre-season too)?

    There is most definitely a specialized skill set that is not easily replacable. Period. No one can refute this. Not any of you, not Roger Goddell, not anyone. And my goodness, if there are any of you left still saying these replacements refs aren’t that bad, you are simply stupid. They are, have been, and will continue to be.

    My friends that specialized skill set is becoming more and more apparent each week. That is a big bargaining chip. Pay the men Roger! Just pay ‘em.

  77. sixjak says: Sep 26, 2012 11:45 AM

    If you are willing to hire even more refs how is that greedy? The refs aren’t greedy but the owners are because they make more money. Maybe they should operate their businesses in the same way some of these glutinous players do. Get a blood sucking posse go buy all their homies new everything, spend 5k a week at the Cheesecake Factory etc etc.

    The owners would like to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth and paying an 8% increase to ppl who have made plenty of blown calls only want to work part time and want exorbitant pension plans with 0 accountability to boot is a deal only a moron would take.

  78. erod22 says: Sep 26, 2012 11:49 AM

    I’m worried that this union will force the NFL to outsource even more jobs oversees.

    Soon we’ll have six-man Indian officiating crews making calls over the phone that are hard to understand.

  79. bigjdve says: Sep 26, 2012 11:49 AM

    degehring:

    You make an interesting point. That might be a way to a concession, however something to consider. A lot of businesses have been moving away from them for some time.

    If an employee is terminated, then they lose their pension especially considering that the league is putting all of the money in. This is probably one of the big reasons that the refs don’t want an evaluation process.

    With a 401k, then all of the money put in, the employee keeps, they just don’t get anything afterwards. Think about it, they want free money for life after they retire, and they want to make sure that they don’t lose it no matter how bad they are.

    I would say give them more now, while they are working and forget the pension. Since the NFL is funding it, they could pull it all and then where would the refs be?

    sippindasyzurp: The NFL did offer them full time employment, that is the problem, the refs don’t want to give up their other lucrative full time jobs.

    For anyone that keeps saying that aren’t part time jobs, you are full of it.

    1. The definition of a part time job is any job for which you work less than 35 hours a week. Even with Hoculi’s supposed 30 hours a week, it is still part time.

    2. The refs themselves call it a part time job, and they refuse to quit their “full” time jobs to become “full” time refs.

  80. davikes says: Sep 26, 2012 11:53 AM

    The problem with the cost of the pensions is that if you give the refs a really rich deal for part time work, all the front office full time employees will want the same deal. So it’s not just about 120 refs, it’s about the 3200 or so full time employees.

    Nobody does defined benefit plans anymore, except the government, and most of those are underfunded. See GM and Chrysler as to why everybody is going to a defined contribution plan.

  81. Little Earthquake says: Sep 26, 2012 11:56 AM

    Pay the man, Shirley.

  82. gmsingh says: Sep 26, 2012 12:02 PM

    zaggs says:
    Sep 26, 2012 11:15 AM
    You want a pension? Work full time. Until then, shut it.

    Zaggs has a point: pensions for part time employees seems unlikely. I have a couple of other points:
    a) If the officials are covering all the games, how is that not full time by NFL standards?
    b) If the NFL’s brand becomes a laughingstock–and it might have already–the refs bargaining power goes up and up and up. They have something the NFL and its BILLIONS of dollars in revenue can’t get anywhere else. ANYWHERE. Goodell and the rest of the NFL has already gambled and lost–now they need to suck it up and admit it. Hell, they expect the players to play hurt, who gives a crap if they feel like they’ve been made to look bad?

  83. gmsingh says: Sep 26, 2012 12:03 PM

    P.S.: Dear NFL, why not just go whole hog and outsource the jobs to China? It couldn’t be any worse than it is now.

  84. gallogj says: Sep 26, 2012 12:10 PM

    Who cares! The great teams are still going to be great…the mediocre teams are still going to be mediocre. The replacement refs aren’t deciding the outcome of games…the teams are! No team should let the outcome of the game come down to the last few seconds of the game…they should dominate in all 4 quarters so they don’t leave their destiny in someone else’s hands.

  85. patsfan1213 says: Sep 26, 2012 12:11 PM

    The idea of compromise is that everyone gives up something they want and nobody is entirely happy. The refs don’t want to be made full-time and give up their lucrative side careers? Tough! At this point, nobody will dispute that officiating an NFL game is highly specialized, and at this level, they should be giving 100% of their time to improving and training. Make them full-time.

    In response, the league can let them keep the pensions they already have and give them the raise they want. Heck, give them more money for making them full-time and compensating for them giving up other ventures. It’s pennies on the dollar anyway, and if you’re already admitting that their experience and skills are needed, it’s well worth it.

  86. baddegg says: Sep 26, 2012 12:16 PM

    Several things:

    1. While many on here are saying they don’t deserve pensions, the thing you have to keep in mind is that the NFL is not just saying, “I want to set up a business with a 401K”, they are saying, “OK, so when I hired you X years ago, we had an agreement to have pensions, but now I’m going to switch it on you, axe your pension plan, and convert it all to a 401K where you pay.” So, while you may not think a PT employee deserves a pension, you may also not think it’s right for an employer to just switch rules on you in the middle of the game. It’s easy to just say “unions are greedy” but retirement is VERY expensive and the unions are not the ones switching the rules mid-game.

    2. You may think that the unions are asking too much. OK, fine, well then the NFL is within it’s rights to fire these guys and get replacements. Oh wait, they have replacements and they are not skilled enough. Therefore, according to the principals of supply and demand, now that they are faced with a limited supply of skilled workers, and they have a demand, the owners need to negotiate a fair price for those workers.

    It amazes me how many people are anti-unions and implying that the refs are greedy for wanting to have their retirement pension not taken away. They are negotiating with men who are FAR RICHER than them. Don’t feel sorry for the owners. They can AFFORD to pay the refs and the fact that they don’t only underscores that they are not worried about putting out a subpar product if it means saving a few dollars.

    Bring the thumbs down; I don’t care.

  87. footballchic777 says: Sep 26, 2012 12:24 PM

    eventhorizon04

    You need to retake your math class! You missed a 0! That should read 120 x

  88. scrp2 says: Sep 26, 2012 12:27 PM

    Part-Time, Full-Time, whatever. The fact is you are not going to find 120 individuals with these NFL level skills in the world. A lock-out with replacement refs was a bad idea. NFL fans pay $100 a ticket and they shouldn’t even have found out about negotiations or compensation. It should have been resolved in the off-season. Pension plan, Hybrid-401K, a raise, whatever – just take care of it.

  89. footballchic777 says: Sep 26, 2012 12:37 PM

    eventhorizon04

    You need to retake your math class…….because you missed a 0! That total would be $8,400,000,00! Which one of us can run out and tell our employers that we want all of these huge concessions because they made a lot more this year than last? And would we then be willing to give it back if they take a loss? That is NOT how business works. These guys get free travel, food, housing, and more BEYOND their pay/pension/and benefits for a PART TIME JOB! They wanted guaranteed that they worked at least 15 games? Wow, $15-20k per game…..and they still want more? Yes, the owners are watching their own pockets…….but THEY are the owners. These guys do not have to keep these jobs. If they feel they are being used and cheaply paid, they can quit! I am not condoning total greed by the owners either, but compromise is needed on ALL sides!

  90. billh1947 says: Sep 26, 2012 12:37 PM

    Part time work? dont they work as many months as the players do? are the players also considered part timers in the NFL? they sure get paid well if they are.the nfl seasons full time isnt 12 months a year its 6 months for players and refs and thats what the refs work so why do the owners consider that part time.

  91. notoriousjebus says: Sep 26, 2012 12:40 PM

    bhart613 says:
    Sep 26, 2012 10:15 AM
    Part time workers do not deserve pentions. That’s just ridiculous.
    ———————————————————————————–
    You know, there are actually millions of people in the United States that work part time and receive pretty generous pension benefits. Chances are you know many of these people. They are called teachers, they get the summer off and a pension, which you tax dollars pay for. It’s a significant amount of money. California state teachers retirement system has over $150 billion in assets, all set aside for the pensions of their part time employees.

  92. jtylert says: Sep 26, 2012 12:49 PM

    Whether or not the owners and league can afford the pensions is irrelevant. If I rake leaves for a billionaire, I wouldn’t demand 500 dollars an hour.

    If I did a horrible job and wrecked his lawn, why shouldn’t he be able to fire me and find someone better at raking leaves?

  93. jtylert says: Sep 26, 2012 12:56 PM

    Hire SEC officials full time under the owners’ proposed plan.

  94. iowahbr says: Sep 26, 2012 1:21 PM

    Every game that the NFL players play there are refs. why aren’t the owners complaining about how much they must pay the part time players.
    Pretty clear that the NFL owners are all Romney men.

  95. turfrage says: Sep 26, 2012 1:36 PM

    Half the teams in the league have stopped participating in the pension. Which means all the full-time employees, front office execs, players, etc all changed to 401ks. Refs can too. Nothing is taken away. That money stays put. New investments are started. And not all refs have pensions anyway, only some. These refs don’t want this as their full time job but they want the benefits to be as good or better than their full time employment. Double dip.

  96. ishwishfish says: Sep 26, 2012 2:00 PM

    The jealousy being displayed here is hilarious. The refs have a good deal and they are fighting to keep it. Who wrote the dictum that since many people are stuck with 401K plans (including me), therefore everybody else has to have them too?

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