It's not specifically an AFC East update, but come on, how could this not be the lead story?
After a three-month lockout led to three chaotic weeks of officiating and what has to be one of the biggest bungles in officiating history, the NFL and NFLRA have reached an agreement to bring the real refs back.
Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe recaps the biggest details of the new deal:
- Eight-year term covering the 2012-2019 seasons.
- The current defined benefit pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season (or until the official earns 20 years of service). The defined benefit plan will then be frozen.
- Retirement benefits will be provided for new hires, and for all officials beginning in 2017, through a defined contribution arrangement, which will have two elements: an annual league contribution made on behalf of each game official that will begin with an average of more than $18,000 per official and increase to more than $23,000 per official in 2019, and a partial match on any additional contribution that an official makes to his 401(k) account.
- Apart from their benefit package, the game officials’ compensation will increase from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019.
- Beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will have the option of hiring a number of officials on a full-time basis to work year-round, including on the field.
- The NFL will have the option to retain additional officials for training and development purposes, and may assign those additional officials to work NFL games. The number of additional officials will be determined by the NFL.
The league didn't have much of a choice. Evidence was mounting of the incompetence of the replacement officials, and games had been swayed—and even decided—by missed calls.
With three weeks of the season complete, and with no teams yet having had a bye week, competitive balance was important to maintain. Every team has played three games with the replacement officials, and it will stay that way, as the real refs will be calling tonight's game between the Browns and Ravens on Thursday Night Football.
Here are some updates around the AFC East.
New York Jets
Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald writes that Reggie Bush's status for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals remains unclear.
Andy Kent of MiamiDolphins.com points out that a diverse running game has helped the Dolphins score more points this year than last year.
According to Tim Graham of The Buffalo News, Bills running back Fred Jackson practiced on Wednesday, but didn't like how his knee felt during the practice.
Paul Hamilton of WGR 550 Sportsradio points out that the Bills' veterans miss the presence of punter Brian Moorman.
New England Patriots
Mike Dussault of PatsPropaganda.com gives his thoughts on how the Patriots' defense should adjust for the upcoming game against the Bills.
Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com writes that the Patriots' offense is what cost them the game against the Ravens.