NFL deal ends lockout, real referees back to the National Football League after botched MNF call

TAMPA - It's a done deal. The regular NFL officials are coming back for Week 4.

NFL executive Greg Aiello tweeted: "Pleased to report that an agreement has been reached with the NFL Referees Association."
Multiple reports, including one on citing a league source, said a deal was reached around midnight after back-to-back days of marathon negotiations that were spurred by a blown call that cost the Packers a win over the Seahawks in Seattle on Monday night. reports say a crew is being assembled to work Thursday night's game between the Browns and Ravens and on Friday the regular officials will travel to Dallas to retrieve their equipment and receive their game assignments for Sunday and Monday. The same crews as last season will be working together this season.

According to reports, the pension issue was resolved with the existing defined-benefit plan remaining in place for five years until the officials are rolled over into a 401(k) plan.

Ending a lockout that lasted nearly four months -- and three weeks of pins-and-needles tension with replacements -- the NFL on Wednesday night reached a labor agreement with its officials, presumably in time for the regular crews to work this weekend's games.

The crisis reached a flashpoint Monday night, when Green Bay was denied a victory against the Seahawks in Seattle on the basis of a wrong call on a Hail Mary pass.

That turned up the heat on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners to find a solution that largely concerned whether the officials could maintain their defined-benefit pension plan.

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