Fans Everywhere Rejoice! NFL Reaches Tentative Labor Agreement with Officials
Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Who could forget the Fail Mary (aka Inaccurate Reception), one of the most infamous plays in NFL history? Needing a Touchdown on the final play of the game, Russell Wilson found Golden Tate in the back of the end zone for a game winning score. Or so the officials said (one of them at least). Without getting too in depth about the play, not only did Tate get away with one of the most egregious Offensive Pass Interferences ever, but most people agree the ball was actually intercepted by the defense. Nevertheless, exactly seven years ago today, the Fail Mary was born.
But why does any of this matter? Refs blow calls all the time. It's part of the game. However, these weren't normal officials, but rather replacement refs brought on to officiate during a lockout in 2012. After failing to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before the 2012 season, the NFL announced it would be hiring replacements. This was met with much blowback by the Referees Association, who argued that the NFL never intended to reach an agreement and was planning to lock them out all along.
Three weeks into the 2012 NFL season, little progress had been made in the negotiating room. Then on Monday night in primetime, we get the Fail Mary. By week four, an agreement had been reached, and the regular officials were back on the field. Though the league would never admit it, most people agree that the embarrassment caused by that incident played an extremely significant role in the parties reaching an agreement. The agreement reached was set to expire in....2019.
Besides a players strike/lockout, there isn't much worse for fans than an officials strike/lockout. They change the game as we know it. But Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk is reporting that a tentative agreement has been reached between the NFL and NFLRA. The sides reached a deal, and now the members of the NFLRA need to ratify it with a > 50% vote. In essence, the deal is done. I'm curious to see what will be included in the new CBA -- the last one had pretty major changes to benefit plans, salaries, number of crews, and added a few full-time officials -- but those details won't be made public for some time. For now, we can all be happy that replacement officials won't be seen in the NFL anytime soon.