These past two weeks I covered a couple of our UC Riverside athletic teams, but this time I want to congratulate the NFL and the NFL Referees Association because they finally reached a tentative agreement that has ended a three-month lockout.
Yes, the importance of player safety was discussed during the three weeks the replacement referees were officiating, but what about the enjoyment of watching the NFL? During those weeks the NFL was not the same. The replacement refs were hired while the NFLRA sought improved salaries and retirement benefits in their negotiations with the NFL during the lockout.
A “Monday Night Football” game against the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers was the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who witnessed the final seconds of that game knows what really happened. The refs missed a call.
The controversial call in question was whether the Green Bay Packers defensive back M. D. Jennings intercepted the ball or Seahawks Golden Tate had position for the touchdown. However, after further review, Golden Tate was awarded a 24-yard touchdown reception, which resulted in the game winning catch.
The deal must be ratified by 51 percent of the union’s 121 members. One of the agreements is that retirement benefits will be provided for new hires and for all officials beginning in 2017.
According to ESPN, the new collective bargaining agreement between the two sides would be for eight years. This means eight years of peacefully watching NFL games and not worrying about bogus calls made by division 2 refs, which could shift the moment of the game or decide the outcome. I am just glad it is over and we can watch some football.