The NFL and NFL Referees Association are close to coming to an agreement to end the lockout of the officials, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Twitter that the two sides will work to get the regular officials on the field by this weekend's set of games.
As of this morning, it was reported that the league and the NFLRA had closed the gap on backup crews but remained at odds over pension plans. After negotiating all of Tuesday and throughout Wednesday morning, the two sides agreed upon a developmental program that would incorporate 21 officials to the current pool of 121 NFLRA members.
The benefits program remains the largest stumbling block remaining in the negotiation.
Following Monday night's controversial conclusion to the game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, the demand for the regular officials became overwhelming with several players taking to social media to make their voices heard. It seems as though the NFL was listening.