This is reaching ridiculous proportions.

I mean, the NFL is making even the NHL look less insane.  What is going on here?

And I can’t even totally blame the league.  They need to get this fixed, but the referees union is hardly clean on these negotiations.

Based on a couple of accounts, these are the points that are being stuck on:

• Pay.  Duh.  However, nearly everyone says they’re close on this.  So what else is going on?

• Full-time vs. Part-time.  The league wants to hire some referees (Seven, to be precise) to be full-timers, one from each refereeing position on the field.  Did you know refs are part-time employees?  And they don’t want to go from part-time to fulltime apparently.  They’re afraid it’ll cut into their overall income that they get from their ‘day’ jobs.

• More officials.  The NFL wants to add three more ‘alternate’ referee squads, so there are 20 squads that can work between the maximum of 16 games each week.  The refs don’t want this, afraid it will allow themselves to be replaced easier and cut into their own pay.

• Pensions.  Everyone says this is the side that the refs won’t budge on.  The league has cut pension costs, as has nearly every other corporation in America, by eliminating them for every other part-time employee and most full-time employees.  They want to do this to the part-time refs as well, instead using the ever-unpopular and unsteady 401(k) option.

Look, I get why the refs want what they want.  But the truth is that, at least in my eyes, the league has some reasonable wants here.  They want to add more refs!  The refs are afraid that extra squads will allow bad refs to be replaced.  I say, yep these current guys are bad, but the regular refs weren’t perfect, either.  They shouldn’t be tenured in like the creepy college professors.  Same thing for the full-time spots.  It’s not like they’re forcing every ref to leave their day jobs.  7 guys out of, what, 119?  For a salary that’s already averaging $150,000 for working 18 games…you know what?  I’d be jumping for that.

That’s whats so ridiculous about htis.  The league isn’t being unreasonable.  But both sides are being way too greedy, and this has gone on too long.

Say what you will about hockey.  They may be cheating fans out of games, but at least they aren’t cheating the game.