NEW YORK — The NFL and its on-field referees union failed to reach an agreement when they met Saturday, and the league said it’s proceeding with replacement officials.
The NFL locked out the referees in early June, then hired replacements, whose work in exhibition games has been heavily criticized. ...
See the whole story here, from the Washington Post.
Kicking Back Comments: One very interesting part of this article was the NFL's thought of hiring (1) full time crew to essentially be a liaison between the referees and the league. Now the less interesting part was the NFLRA's response of ... pay us better. That was pretty weak.
That said, the NFL should take a page out of the MLS playbook as they have employed "full time" referees for a while. The exact numbers has flexed a bit from what I understand (at one point it was up to 3 guys), but the concept is there.
From what I have heard on the street, these guys were getting paid in the order of $50K per year. It makes me wonder what the NFL is proposing for a salary.
Now, given the player minimum league salary for the NFL is $390K for 2012 (source), and for the MLS is $34K for 2012 (source), should it scale appropriately? Should a NFL "full timer" get $500K a year in salary? Or asked another way, why should a referee be paid near the level that a rookie is making?
Take a look at MLB unpires. After a stint in the minor leagues, these guys when they hit "the show" can make up to $300K annually ($140K is the average). NBA, about $120K on average annually. NHL is about the same as MLB on average.
Now lets be fair, MLB, NBA, and NHL schedules are grueling, NFL is not. Even MLS plays more than the NFL and its referees get paid far less. (NFL salaries are ~$25K - $70K, MLS is based on number of games, but assuming you do a match every week ... which you won't ... you would make about $19K (36 weeks * $600).
I'd be interested in the actual numbers from the NFL, but a game a week for 20 weeks or so ... $100K? That's pretty good, and the league can certainly afford it.
We'll see where this goes, and what happens after week 1 ... but I think there will be a "squeal point" in there from the NFL that will be directly proportional to the number of "blown calls" in real matches.
After all, its how GLT made it to reality.