The NFL and the league's referee union were up late last night for their latest round of negotiations to end the months-long lockout that has frustrated fans, players and pretty much the entire Internet. But with another week's worth of games slated to begin tomorrow night, the two sides don't appear any closer to a deal. [Update: 12:55 p.m.: Looks like a deal will happen soon.]
So what are the big sticking points? According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, pensions and the process by which the refs are evaluated by the league. And how much would it cost to settle the pension issue, which appears to be the biggest hurdle? We'll let Mort explain:
"The officials work about 36 hours a week—nearly full time—and pension benefits have become an important issue to them. It would probably cost each team about $100,000 to settle the pension issue."
Mind you, ESPN isn't showing their math here, but assuming that figure is even roughly in the ballpark of the actual number, it represents only a fraction of an NFL team's annual revenue.
According to Forbes magazine, the league's most valuable team is the Dallas Cowboys, which brings in about $500 million in annual revenues and has a current value of $2.1 billion. The league's least valuable team, meanwhile, is the Jacksonville Jaguars with an estimated value of $770 million and annual revenues in the neighborhood of $238 million.