With each passing week of the 2012 NFL season, it seems the replacement referees appointed by the league are are doing a progressively worse job understanding the rules and evaluating plays in live action. Seattle hasn't felt the brunt of the effects of the NFL Referees Union lockout at this point -- the Seahawks have had a few bad calls go their way but they were also awarded an extra timeout in Week 1 with under a minute to go -- but many teams across the league have been negatively affected. The bad news is that there doesn't appear to be an end in sight.
A memo that was obtained by the Baltimore Sun says that the NFL refused to negotiate over its offer on referee pensions. "According to the memo," as Ryan Van Bibber explains, "negotiators for the NFL offered an additional $1 million per year over a seven-year term to the total compensation package for officials. The prior collective bargaining agreement increased compensation for officials at about $1 million per year, excluding retirement benefits, according to the memo. The league's offer came with the condition that officials agree to "freeze and terminate" their current defined benefit pension plan. The NFLRA countered with a willingness to reduce the $1 million annual compensation increase if the league was willing to negotiate over retirement benefits and other issues. A divide of $250,000 for the 2012 season separates the two sides, according to the NFLRA, but the matter of retirement benefits appears to be the biggest sticking point."
Still, the two sides, according to that article, haven't spoken since September 1st. It's gone on long enough, the two sides need to get this thing done, before these replacement refs really alter a team's season.