9/25/2012 1:15:38 PM

Peter King of SI.com reports representatives of the National Football League, including commissioner Roger Goodell and chief legal council Jeff Pash, were locked in negotiations Tuesday afternoon with representatives of the locked-out NFL Referees Association in New York City, a source with knowledge of the talks told me.

Speaking for the fourth consecutive day, and trying to end a stubborn labor dispute that has enflamed the country, the two sides did not appear close to a deal on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the emerging and major reasons why a deal has been so elusive, according to the source, is that the NFL is insisting on getting some control of the officials back that it has ceded in past negotiations with the NFLRA. This includes the league's desire to have three seven-man officiating crews in reserve with the ability to replace -- either for a game or longer -- underperforming current officials.

Another source with knowledge of the locked-out officials' position said Tuesday that the NFL would not guarantee that they would work at least 15 games in a regular season. Currently, other than due to injury, an official that starts a season works the full season. The officials source said that this is the main crux of what the NFL is trying to do in these negotiations: wrest back control of the officials' performance week to week in an NFL season. I've been told that the NFL is insisting on being able to make in-season changes to crews based solely on performance of individual officials.

The league is trying to roll back the officials' pension. Over the last five years, the league has contributed, on average, about $5.3 million per year to the officials' pension plan. The league, in keeping with the current cost-cutting practice of corporations across America, no longer wants to guarantee how much each official would get in retirement, but rather tie the contributions to a 401(k)-type pension. That would save the league about $3.3 million per year.