NFL referees ratify eight-year deal

Referee Gene Steratore #114 looks on during the NFL Game between the Cleveland Browns and the...

Referee Gene Steratore #114 looks on during the NFL Game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 27, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 12:27 AM ET

There will be labor peace between the NFL and referees for the next eight years.

Referees approved the contract proposed Wednesday night after two days of nearly around-the-clock negotiations by a vote of 112-5, according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times.

The deal effectively ends a lockout of more than three weeks. The regular officials worked Thursday’s game at Baltimore, the first of 14 games scheduled for Week 4, to avoid a competitive balance complaint that could have been raised by having replacement work just one game this week.

The replacement officials maligned for two highly scrutinized calls in primetime games last week — a game-ending field goal at Baltimore and the game-winning touchdown pass to Golden Tate to lift the Seahawks over Green Bay on Monday Night Football — were paid in full for Week 4.

Saturday’s vote took place in Irving, Texas, a pre-planned spot and central location that afforded all 14 crews to board planes quickly to reach their Sunday destinations. The Monday night crew to work the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears game stayed in town.

The sticking points in negotiations were multiple, and each side came out of the standoff with a comprimised take, commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.

The referees will transition to a 401K type pension plan and could become fulltime NFL employees.

The NFL got the option to have fulltime officials along with a “taxi squad” of three officiating crews that will be used if other officials are deemed to be underperforming


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