As it turned out, the players association filed a lawsuit and won its case in 1989. The players won some concessions, but the owners obviously believed they could prevail over the refs.
The current owners were not only greedy, but stupid. Before the settlement, the New York Times did the math, and discovered that giving in to all the officials’ demands would have cost the league about $3.2 million.
That sounds like a lot until you figure that the NFL’s overall revenue each year is about $3.2 billion.
The NFL — like many other employers — made the mistake of discounting the importance of experience and talent. Still, it’s nice to have the real refs back where they belong.