It looks like the replacement referees will be around for at least one more week.
ESPN is reporting that, according to sources, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association were unable to agree upon a deal. The two sides met until 2 a.m. ET on Wednesday, but couldn’t reach a compromise.
The officials agreed to a certain concessions, but team owners would not give in on some issues, specifically the refs’ pensions. The pension seems to be the sticking point in the negotiations. Each team would have to pay approximately $100,000 to settle the issue, but they’ve been unwilling to budge.
The number of additional full-time officials had been an issue, but it was settled in the meeting. According to the NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the refs originally wanted 21 more officials to be added. Under the agreement, 21 hopefuls will enter the developmental program, work with crews during the week and be promoted on merit.
The NFL and NFLRA are scheduled to talk again, some time on Wednesday. Pressure has been put on commissioner Roger Goodell to broker a deal after the controversy between the Packers and Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
The replacement refs have been criticized so harshly during game broadcasts that networks were asked to “take it easy” on the officials. FOX analyst and former player John Lynch told “The Dan Patrick Show” that league lied, saying the regular officials were about to get back to work.
“They duped us,” said Lynch. Announcers have since ignored the NFL’s request, after it became clear that two sides were not close on a deal.
Even if the two sides can come to an agreement soon, the officials wouldn’t be ready to take the field for the start of Week 4. The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens kick off the week with a tilt on Thursday Night Football.
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