After 48 regular season games that nearly brought the National Football League to its knees and turned the league's officiating into a recurring national joke, the NFL and the referees union have agreed to a new eight-year deal and the officials will be back on the job Thursday night in Baltimore.
There had been reports all day, first from ESPN's Chris Mortensen, that something was perhaps imminent. As Judy Battista of The New York Times indicated around 10 pm, the two sides were already close to a deal that would have the actual, locked-out NFL referees in place to work assignments for this weekend's slate of games. Now, it's a reality.
What are you most looking forward to? And do you think Monday night's shenanigans expedited this process at all? Tell us in the comments, because this is great news and we should celebrate.
Sources say NFLRA communicating with NFL that they agreed to sign the proposal, and a crew will work the Thursday night game CLE vs. BAL— Tony Softli (@SoftliSTL) September 27, 2012
Sources also said the NFL & NFLRA still have a few items to work through but not enough to keep NFL refs from signing deal.— Tony Softli (@SoftliSTL) September 27, 2012
Reported new deal with NFL officials is for 8-years. They will also work Thursday's Browns-Ravens game.— theScoreTicker (@theScoreTicker) September 27, 2012
Can confirm per source that regular refs will work Thu night game and be on field for full Sunday slate.— tara sullivan (@Record_Tara) September 27, 2012
Deal between the NFL and locked out officials is imminent and would include language allowing regular refs to work Thursday night game— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 27, 2012
Despite a deal between NFL and NFLRA being at hand, locked-out officials still have not heard any details from their union leaders.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 27, 2012
NBC officiating consultant Jim Daopoulos tells PFT that a deal has been signed between NFL and NFLRA.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 27, 2012
Looks like the NFL refs will be working starting Thursday in Balt.Deal appears to be completed— Jim Daopoulos (@RefereeJimD) September 27, 2012
#NFL refs get 8-year deal and their damn pension until 2017 or 2018. Afterward, they get 401k contribution. League added 7 new full-timers.— Kevin B. Blackistone (@ProfBlackistone) September 27, 2012
NFL and NFLRA looking at text, expect to sign tonight or early am. There will be a regular referee union crew in Baltimore Thursday night.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 27, 2012