Not that there was any doubt, but the NFL’s deal with its officials is now officially official.
Jim Daopoulos, a long-time official and supervisor of officials who now works with us at NBC Sports, passed along the word this morning that the members of the NFL Referees’ Association have voted to ratify their agreement with the league’s owners.
Considering that seven officials already worked a game on Thursday night and most of the other officials are already traveling to their Sunday game assignments, there was no doubt at all that they would agree to it.
The eight-year agreement is a good deal for the officials, whose average pay will increase each year, going from $173,000 in 2013 to $205,000 in 2019. The NFL did get some concessions on the officials’ pension plan, but those concessions don’t start until 2016, and even then the officials will get more than $18,000 a year contributed toward their pensions.
But it’s an even better deal for the owners, who now can avoid the replacement refs turning their league into a laughingstock. At least until 2020.
UPDATE 9:24 a.m. ET: Eric Prisbell of USA Today reports that 112 officials voted in favor of ratifying the deal, while five were opposed.