Sports September 27, 2012
The NFL Referee Lock-Out Is Over; Did Stand-Up Andy Kindler Make It Happen?

Comedian Andy Kindler was in our studio last night - catch him on tonight's comedy panel at 7 pm - and he had some harsh words for the National Football League over their decision to lock out their officiating crews (check out his well-reasoned complaints above).

Well, Andy gets results: as of this morning, the NFL refs are back to work, and they'll be back on the field tonight.

If you haven't been following the lock-out, here's a little overview: the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and its refs expired at the end of last season.

Because of a separate labour dispute between the league and its players, negotiations with the refs didn't start until the beginning of training camps, which apparently didn't give everyone enough time to figure out what they were bringing to the table.

The two sides started talking about a new deal, but things fell apart: back in May, the NFL sent a memo to its teams saying that it might consider hiring replacement officials. On June 4, they confirmed the decision.

When the season started on September 5, all the refs on the field were replacements. This continued for three weeks, and reviews for their work were mixed at best.

The executive committee of the NFL Players Association wrote a letter calling on the league to end the lockout, saying it has led to "poor calls, missed calls and bad game management." There were also complaints that the replacement refs weren't controlling unruly players enough.

Then this Monday, a disputed touchdown pass allowed the Seattle Seahawks to beat the Green Bay Packers on the final play of the game. The referees in the endzone were not in agreement about the call.

And this is what that looked like:

The uproar over the call led one Las Vegas casino to do the unthinkable: refund money to those who had bet on the Seahawks/Packers game.

It also led to two days of marathon negotiations, followed by an announcement very early today that a tentative eight-year agreement has been reached to end the lockout.

So the NFL will be back to professional referees tonight. And we have Andy Kindler to thank (probably).

You can catch Andy on the show tonight, and if you're in Toronto, you can see him live at JFL42. Check out the event details right here.

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