Like Jason Wilde said on Twitter, we figured this is how it would happen. Just not against the Green Bay Packers.
Regardless, the NFL and NFL Referee Association (NFLRA) have come to an agreement on an eight year CBA to lift the lockout of the regular officials as confirmed by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. A regular crew will be in place for the Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens game Thursday night. Officials will meet Friday and Saturday to ratify the agreement.
From the official NFL statement:
“Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We appreciate the commitment of the NFLRA in working through the issues to reach this important agreement.”
It’s unfortunate that it had to cost ANY team a game for this to happen. It stings more because it happened to the Packers, but wouldn’t you be just as angry if it happened to any other team? Judging by the amount of support seen from fans of the other 31 franchises, it’s likely that Packer fans would have expressed similar thoughts.
So now the criticism can get directed at the real officials. Will there be more bad calls? No doubt. Let’s also be clear about this as well: the replacement officials were put into a ridiculously difficult position by the league. They did the best they could in a situation in which they were way over their heads. They should be commended for accepting such a daunting task. I personally wish them all the best in the future.
That said, there are wounds between the fans and the league office that will take time to heal. Will this increase pressure on the regular officials? Time will tell.
But for now, enjoy a rare sight at stadiums all over the league this week: standing ovations….for the referees!——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke