It isn’t a sure thing yet but the NFL and the NFL Referees Association are reportedly getting close to a deal. Enough progress has been made that some are speculating that the replacement refs will be gone for week four of the NFL season.
Chris Mortensen at ESPN writes:
“The NFL and the NFL Referees Association made enough progress in negotiations Tuesday night that the possibility of the locked-out officials returning in time to work this week’s games has been discussed.”
ESPN reports that the 121 locked-out NFL refs are ready to go as soon as a deal is reached. The NFLRA said that the refs have passed their physicals, have been trained on the new rules, and will hit the field as soon as possible.
Still, this week might be a stretch.
One owner told Yahoo Sports:
“I would call things ‘positive-but-precarious.’ There are still a lot of hard feelings on both sides, a lot of people still drawing lines in the sand, at least verbally. I could see something being done by [Thursday] or it could take another week.”
The deal hasn’t been finalized but the pressure is starting to mount. The replacement refs have been the source of criticism since the start of the season but everything came to a head on Monday night when the result of the Green Bay Packers – Seattle Seahawks game was determined by an erroneous call.
The Lingerie Football League even started questioning the credibility of the NFL.
Your loud voices r heard about getting Refs back. We’re desperately trying 2 get it done! We want a deal that improves officiating overall.
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 26, 2012
As @mortreport is reporting, an agreement between NFL and NFLRA is at hand and both sides will work to have officials working this weekend.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 26, 2012
Do you think the regular refs will be back on the field this weekend?