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Welcome back refs, NFL back to normal

September 27, 2012 9:06 AM by Mark Mayer

For the first time in NFL history, referees will likely receive a standing ovation at this week’s games. Public outcry won out over greed.

The pro officials are back. said it best. “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.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, arguably the most hated man in sports during the first three weeks of the season, finally gave in to unprecedented public criticism and announced that agreement had been reached. The replacement officials are now a thing of the past.

“Our officials will be back on the field starting Thursday night,” said in a statement, referring to the Cleveland Browns-Baltimore Ravens contest.

As for the replacements, they can now go back to working Division III, junior college and the lingerie league.

The refs will meet in Dallas to officially ratify the eight-year contract and pick up their equipment and assignments. The pension deal they fought to preserve will remain for the next five years, according to reports. Then it goes to 401Ks. There is a four percent pay raise.

“I want to give a special thanks to NFL fans for their passion,” Goodell said. “Now it’s time to put the focus back on the teams and players where it belongs.”

Las Vegas oddsmakers can now relax after seeing $300 million change hands over the final result of the Green Bay-Seattle game when a blown call gave the Seahawks the win and cover 14-12 as a 3۫½-point underdog. The D hotel downtown felt compelled to giving refunds to all bettors who took Green Bay. That’s how outrageous this situation had been.

So now we’re back to normal. The professional refs are now our heroes, until they blow their first call. Then we’ll cry out for the replacements.

And so it goes.

Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at

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