Despite two high level meetings this week the NFL and its referees are no closer to a new deal that mostly revolves around financial disputes.
NFL officials and the referees union claim that “significant” and “serious” financial gaps still exist which has stalled talks with no further discussions scheduled at this time.
With talks going nowhere NFL officials have already lost $50,000 each in lost wages. The average official in the NFL earns $150,000 for a 20-game season that includes the pre-season. So far official have missed seven assignments each.
Additional pressure has been placed on the NFL to end the lockout as players, coaches and fans continue to complain about poor officiating on behalf of replacement referees, many of whom had never officiated an NFL game until this past preseason.
NFL officials were locked out in June after talks with the NFL Referees Association broke down for the first time since 2001, the last year in which the league used replacement referees.
The NFLRA which holds the contracts for 120 on-field officials continues to argue over salary, retirement benefits and operational issues. The NFL has promised to raise the pay of experienced officials to more than $200,000 by 2018.
In the meantime fans have grown increasingly agitated by the lack of experienced officials. During Monday night’s Falcons game officials led a slow paced game that ultimately pushed past midnight. The lack of “pace” on the field has been one of the biggest complaints raised by coaches, players and NFL fans.