The National Football League’s regular referees will return to the field Thursday night after reaching a tentative labor deal that kicked replacement officials to the curb, ending a major source of frustration and embarrassment for fans, players and the league.
“Never thought I would be excited for the refs to come back to work but it’s about time,” Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Cribbs tweeted Thursday. “It was definitely necessary!”
The eight-year-deal — the longest ever for officials, according to the NFL — gives the union referees a pay raise and keeps their pension program in place for five years.
It ends a lockout that began before the league’s preseason, leading to a series of gaffes that climaxed in a furor over a botched call that allowed the Seattle Seahawks to walk away with a victory in Monday night’s nationally televised game. The league acknowledged Tuesday that the Green Bay Packers should have won, but allowed the result of the game to stand.
Tonight’s game has the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Cleveland Browns. Hate to say it, but that sounds like a yawner. They’re rivals thanks to being in the same division and the Ravens having once been the Browns, but the Ravens should win by at least 10.
Now that the lockout is over, maybe President Obama will find time to meet with world leaders. I know: NATO should start a fantasy league. That should get Obama’s interest going.