Gridiron Gaffe: Breaking Down The Ramifications and Reasons Behind the NFL Referee Lockout

Money

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, rookie NFL officials made $78K last year, five-year vets made $115K and officials with 10 years of experience made $139K. That comes out to an average of $149K per zebra. The NFL is looking to give them a five to 11 percent increase that'll bump that average up to around $189K by 2018, which isn't bad at all. The refs are looking for a little bit more, but the major issue are their retirement plans. The league wants the NFLRA to dead their pension plan in favor for a 401K plan that's tied to the stock market. The NFLRA has agreed to that change, but want the new officials to be put on the 401K while grandfathering in the pension plans of the old officials. Of course, the league spit on that concession and talks remain at a stalemate. Many officials opted out of their retirement benefits from their full-time jobs.

The NFL also would like to add three more officiating crews, which will bring the total of referees to 140. This is a major reason why, the referee union wants more money—more employees, less money to go around. Bottom line, the NFL made 9.3B in revenue last year and if the league pays every zebra $200K, that's less than 1 percent of said revenue. We're not crying thug tears for guys that work once a week and make up to three figures, but damn, let them get a piece of the pie. This is America, ain't it?

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