My fellow Americans, our brief national nightmare is over – the NFL's regular referees are headed back to work.
After three weeks of blown calls, no calls and reversed calls; of physical contact and verbal intimidation; of confused Vegas bookmakers and infuriated fantasy players; and less than 48 hours after what is perhaps the most bizarre ending to a football game not involving a Stanford trombone player, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association reached an agreement Wednesday.
"Our officials will be back on the field starting [Thursday] night," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, referring to the Cleveland Browns-Baltimore Ravens contest.
Meanwhile, the much derided replacement refs can return to the ball fields of Division III, junior college and the lingerie league.
We're sure Bill Belichick sends his regards.
Score this one for public pressure, as the NFL, under intense scrutiny and criticism, finally acknowledged that the job of referee isn't just a replaceable occupation. As a tidal wave of tumult grew over the season's first three weeks – capped by Sunday and Monday nights' nationally-broadcast embarrassments – the league's hypothesis that it could pretty much round up anyone off the street, put them in striped shirts and the game would go on fine was over.
In the end, the NFL was battling over $3.3 million per year in pension payouts. That was a meager $103,125 per team per year for a $9 billion-plus industry. The entire "labor dispute" would have been comedic except players, coaches and fans wondered when it would be their team intercepting a Hail Mary and losing the game anyway.
The idea of sending the same officials into Week 4 – where each mistake, even ones the regular refs would make, was set to be dissected – was something the NFL couldn't stomach. Neither could it deal with another week of fining future Hall of Fame coaches or rosters of players hammering the league on Twitter.
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl--nfl-g ... cials.html
Of course, they were referring to Vegas and the betting line - including what the owners and players get in kickbacks and payouts for "game outcomes".
I have a feeling Vegas has much more to do with the entire debacle than is being reported.
I LOVE that graphic, DOM......LMAO
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