For anyone that already knows the whole ordeal with the NFL replacement refs and how the regular refs are back, then lets just take a moment to exhale slowly and be relieved that the replacement ref fiasco is over. For those who haven’t heard or don’t know the details, here it is:
Several months ago the contract for the standard NFL referees was expired. The NFL itself is simply a committee/collection of team owners who collectively make the rules and manage the league, including the players and the referees. If you recall last year, the NFL lockout was because of a contractual dispute between the owners (NFL) and the NFL players association (the actual players). This current referee problem was a dispute in the formation of a new contract between the owners and the referees. The details of the entire conflict are very complicated, but essentially the refs felt they deserved more money for their services and more money put into their pension plans because of the rising cost of living. The owners did not want to pay the refs as much as they were asking, so you have a lockout between the refs and the league. As a result, the NFL was forced to hire refs from other non-NFL leagues around the country who were less skilled and knowledgeable about the NFL rules.
At first I wanted to believe that the refs won’t change the game, but my hopes were crushed. There were many instances of when the refs were clueless about a rule or blew a call, but the worst one came Monday night in the Green Bay-Seattle game. On the last play of the game, Seattle tried for an end zone pass that would turn their five point deficit into a one point lead as time expired, giving them the win. Well in a confusing play with many bodies trying to catch the ball from both teams, the refs missed an obvious penalty that would have killed Seattle’s chance of scoring and winning. The refs also said that Seattle caught the ball and scored, while many believe that the player did not catch it. All in all, it was a terrible officiating night for the replacement refs and they gave the win to Seattle over several mistakes that would have given Green Bay the win.
This was probably the final, and biggest, straw that destroyed the camel’s back because on Wednesday night, the owners and the refs came to an agreement for a contract that will keep the refs in the league for at least eight more years. Thank you NFL refs for coming back and restoring the integrity of the game.
*Information taken from CNN and ESPN. Image from CNN.com