NFL gets its bench of officials, but NFL will pay for it

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On Tuesday, not long before it was reported that a deal between the league and its locked-out officials is “at hand,” it also was reported that the league and the locked-out officials had agreed to create a developmental squad that wouldn’t be used as a “bench” during a given season.

Though it’s unclear whether there was a tentative agreement to that end, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the NFL has secured the ability to develop a pool of potential substitutes — and to use them as in-season replacements for underperforming officials.  The key, as vaguely implied by the NFL’s statement on the new labor deal with the officials, is that the NFL will be responsible for paying the extra officials.  And the benched officials.

Previously, the locked-out officials were balking at the notion that the compensation for all officials (including the “bench”) would come from the same pot of money, necessarily decreasing the per-official compensation.

It’s a win-win proposition.  If one or more officials are deemed to be in a slump or otherwise not able to continue to perform at the level the NFL expects, they’ll get tapped on the shoulder and replaced.  But, like Keyshawn Johnson when he was sent home by the Buccaneers in 2003, they’ll be paid.

The league had wanted to change a system of entitlement to one of accountability.  In the end, the officials will remain entitled to their money, but they won’t be entitled to actually work for it.

40 responses to “NFL gets its bench of officials, but NFL will pay for it

  1. “In the end, the officials will remain entitled to their money, but they won’t be entitled to actually work for it.”
    Ah yes… the new American way.

  2. While a lot of the [misleading] reporting focused on the money aspect, I’m glad the NFL was able to get this done. If the replacement officials proved anything it’s that the NFL has to have a mechanism to replace under-performing officials. For all the talk of “integrity of the game” that’s the biggest improvement that will come out of this deal.

  3. Florio can you tell us if Roger got his wish and now has the authority to fire underperforming refs? Also where did the deal fall on the refs for life issue?

  4. OK, is everyone happy now? Who strikes next, the vendors? Lets get back to the gridiron and no more stinking excuses Packer fans.

  5. “In the end, the officials will remain entitled to their money, but they won’t be entitled to actually work for it.”

    So now the officials are on welfare?

  6. Wow, who wouldn’t want this deal? Screw up, not have to work, AND get paid?

    The more I hear of the details of the settlement, I’m having less and less respect for the refs in this whole lockout deal. If these new conditions are what they “settled” for, exactly how much were they ASKING for in the first place?

  7. retired 15 months ago and have been thinking about picking up a little part time job. where do i apply?

  8. This was never really about the money.

    The NFL wanted to improve the officiating – and was willing to pay to get it.

    They got most of what they wanted. It will cost them more money. They knew it would.

    The NFLRA came back to the table dragging their feet after missing all those paychecks.

  9. So they’ll be like people who get paid by many federal agencies for underperforming, obstructing commerce, or doing nothing?

  10. So they can be replaced for incompetance yet get paid as if they were competent. Go unions.

    No wonder so many people in this country feel entitled to money even if they don’t earn it.

    I don’t feel that the salary for the extra officials should’ve affected the pay of the old officials but I also feel that if you are replaced for cause you shouldn’t get paid.

  11. “In the end, the officials will remain entitled to their money, but they won’t be entitled to actually work for it.”


    Gotta love unions. While I admit he replacements were lacking, I hope the “real” refs who have slung so much mud are ready to stand up to the same scrutiny.

  12. Bad deal but we finally get better officiated games. The NFL is moving forward though. Twenty years from now, they will probably be full time.

  13. Good compromise. I would have been pissed if we went through all of this without the league getting their taxi squad. Overall, the regular officials are better than the replacements, but individually their are a few who’s skill level seems to border on replacement incompetence. One of the goals of the NFL was to improve the officiating, and they were able to take a step in that direction.

  14. HUGE SIGH!!!! Now I wonder if there will be more scrutiny or less scrutiny from the fans.

    Either way, the calls will have to be better than the replacements (scabs).

    Now we see which defensive player on Thursday will test the waters and get the 1st foul.

  15. Reading over the comments, it’s pretty clear that most people weren’t aware of what the league was trying to get in terms of improving the officiating in the NFL. Not that I blame them, because how many times during this whole process did the topic come up? This was a real failure on the part of the sports media, because I think that the NFL was trying to get something that the fans would have supported. If the media had provided fans with a clearer picture of the NFL’s long term goals in this area, they might have been a little more willing to deal with the replacement officials.

  16. It’s a win-win proposition. If one or more officials are deemed to be in a slump or otherwise not able to continue to perform at the level the NFL expects, they’ll get tapped on the shoulder and replaced.

    Given the performance level the NFL found acceptable over the last three weeks, few it any of the regular officials should have much to worry about.

  17. Don’t forget, the regular refs picked up about $20,000 each in back pay for their little three week “vacation.” Sweet.

  18. Oh give me a break.

    They’re working for it. They will be evaluated at the end of the year and not brought back the following year if they do a poor job. Its fairly typical.

    Way better than yanking a ref for a blown call or two during the year without notice, and disrupting an entire crew.

  19. I hope the same level of scrutiny will continue.
    Just because we have the real refs back doesn’t mean they were perfect. Keep up the need for better officiating regardless of who is throwing the flag.

  20. Aren’t the officials all evaluated throughout the season and comprehensively at the end of the season? I would think that although an underperforming official will still be paid for THAT season, his subsequent continued employment for following seasons would be in jeopardy given that the NFL will have 7 ready, willing, and able replacements.

  21. Good for the refs. Good for the NFL. Negotiation 101: Start at the extreme of your positions and work your way to the middle. It is clear some of you never negotiated anything. Of course the refs asked for a lot! You are suppose to!! All the while knowing what exactly you will settle for, is usually less than what you are asking for. It is perfectly acceptable and I don’t have a problem with it.

  22. True story: about 2 weeks ago, a recruiting firm called me about a business analyst opening. I had an offer developing already, but wanted to hear what the guy had. He said it’s for the most successful and powerful sports corporation in history and is a 6 month contract with possible extension. OK, BFD, I thought, and I asked him: who exactly is your client? He said: the NFL. All right, I said, how about the rate? He quoted a number that, even in this economy, is 40% less than industry standard for that role in a large-organizational setting, and less than half the going rate in a normal economy.

    So I told him, “tell the NFL that they can’t get a professional at that rate; secretaries do better than that.”

    So when I later heard about this “labor dispute” (I’m not a football fan), I had some context. The NFL is run by a crowd of cheap, self-serving suits who split nickels edgewise with their teeth. “Good luck, zebras,” I said, “you’ll need it.”

  23. No one wants to be accountable. Pay for performance is not fair. Ask the teachers. I should get raises because I am there everyday, I been there the longest. Don’t rate me on how well I perform, I might have to try harder.
    The new American way.

  24. Is there anyone, other than I, jaded enough to believe that somehow, someway the real refs will find a way to reward Green Bay and punish the Seahawks in some way that will attempt to balance the scales of justice?????

  25. Those owners didn’t get rich by SPENDING their money.

    Bunch of old delta bravos- just sign the checks and be invisible, like a good owner should be.

  26. They way I see it, it is the 1% Owners , Players, Refs getting paid by all the 99% the Fans. Is there anyone not getting rich in this league except the fan? Are you kidding me 150-200K a year, pension plan for a weekend job! One of these days I would like to have the fans go on strike to give back some of the money we send their way!

  27. Thank goodness that’s over with! Now the Dolphins can dump their replacement GM Jeff Ireland and get a real GM!

  28. Officials’ compensation will increase from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013 and to $205,000 by 2019, The NFL said. The pension system will change after the 2016 season.

  29. mullman76 – wrong. They’re the ones spending the money to make the money.

    As for questionable calls, the replacements were not the problem there – on the contrary, the replacements did a superior job in they let the players play.

  30. Everybody loves ripping Roger Goodell. I don’t think people realize what he has to deal with. He’s the commissioner of the most popular sport in this country , dealing with thousands of concussion suits in a violent sport. All the NFL wants is money? Really? Everybody has a skewed view of how much they’re worth. That includes the reg. refs . In what world can you screw up on your job and still expect to get paid? When unions don’t have any accountability , and instead have a false sense of entitlement they are worse then the company’s they complain about. In what world do you get a pension for doing part-time work? Look at MLB . I can argue that baseball has the strongest umpire union. Look at the quality of baseball now. If they do a bad job you can’t even touch them. Think about that the next time you watch an NFL game.

  31. It’s rare for me to be on the league’s side in a labor dispute … but rarities happen. I don’t mind people being paid what they’re worth. But players who don’t perform are benched, traded, cut, and lose their enormous salaries. Refs who blow calls and are too old to keep up with the action just keep huffing and puffing up and down the field, collecting their full-time pay as lawyers and businessmen, while pulling in another $200,000 plus pension to work for the NFL.

    Goodell and Pash mishandled this by resorting to their favorite lockout tactic and assuming no one would know the difference when high school refs took the field. They were wrong. But on the bright side, the league will be able to start benching underperforming refs and moving toward full-time officials. I don’t care who pays for it. I just want better quality officiating.

  32. It would not have bothered me if the officials didn’t return until next season. What I am happy to hear is that the Commissioner was able to insert a “bench” of officials as well as the ability to make full-time hires.

    Thus begins the process of weeding out the weakest officials to be replaced by the best and brightest who will be given the opportunity to break into the professional ranks. I would imagine that there are literally dozens of extremely qualified candidates in the NCAA Division I ranks who would love to make $200K per year along with extremely generous benefits.

    Within a handful of years, the excellence level of NFL officiating will be where it should have been all along.

  33. erod22 says:
    Sep 27, 2012 11:36 AM
    Work, or not, and get paid.

    Gotta love unions.
    Discount pay for specialized skills, renegotiate signed contracts, $9 beers, $7 hotdogs, cut players for not taking less …

    Gotta love the owners.

  34. Am I the only one who is happy to see the NFL not get everything it wants for once? Folks, please understand there is a lot of rhetoric to cover up bunch of nonsense. Unfortunately the media (including Florio) has bought right it. Think about some of the hot button issues:

    1. Full time officials – Why? What are these guys going to do in March? are they going to preside over the Combine to make sure times and measurements are accurate?

    2. A “bench” of officials – Put yourself in their position for a moment. As a group, you are the best at what you do by far, but now the NFL wants the option to replace you whenever they want no questions asked. Seriously? The real purpose behind this is that the NFL want full-time officials they can bully the way they do the players, by threatning to withhold salary when they don’t get what they want. They couldn’t do that with officials who are successful doctors lawyers and businessmen could they?

    3. Pension – There seems to be this feeling that everybody else has taken 401k why shouldn’t you? If I have to answer that after 2008, I’m on the wrong blog. One of the richest sport organizations in the world can pay these guys who uphold the integrity of the game a freaking pension. I’m sorry, but they can. Period.

    I work in an industry where expertise is what determines your salary and your position in the company. The NFL was hoping, they could bully these guys into capitulating, when in truth, these refs do what they do mostly for love of the game. Truth be said, they could have let the NFL stew in its own juice for several more weeks, but chose not to. Why? because they love the game, not the money (most refs primary source of income is not the NFL). With the pension situation the way that it has been bargained, count on many really qualified officials to leave the game in the next 5 years. What then?

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