For NFL officials . . . it's official.
At a meeting Saturday morning in Irving, Texas, the officials voted overwhelmingly in favor of an eight-year agreement with the NFL, a deal struck three days earlier. Of the 117 votes, all but five were in favor of ratifying the contract, far more than the required 51%.
"We were very happy, there were no major issues to come up," Scott Green, president of the NFL Referees Assn., told reporters after the half-hour meeting. "After a 115-day lockout, and having to watch football on TV, we were very enthusiastic about getting back to work."
The vote was pushed to Saturday because the union's bylaws require a certain amount of time to gather members, and the balloting must be in person. After the deal was ratified, crews of officials dispersed for their Sunday and Monday games.
The deal extends the officials' defined-benefit pension plan for five years. The league has the option to hire a number of full-time officials in 2013, and form a taxi squad of reserves capable of replacing underperforming officials.
Before the membership voted, the NFLRA board voted unanimously in favor of the agreement, which Green said was "a signal to the guys that this was a deal we were very satisfied with."