***UPDATE*** Deal with Refs has been finalized, Real Referees will be working tomorrow nights game.
Multiple sources inside the NFL are reporting that a deal between the NFL and the real officials is expected to be finalized within the next few hours. One NFL official under twitter tag @RefereeJimD said “looks like the NFL refs will be working starting Sunday in Balt. Deal appears to be complete”.
The deal could not have happened soon enough considering the increasing levels of anarchy that have been witnessed on NFL fields over the past three weeks. While the NFL will never admit it, it seems very likely that the timing of this deal being two days after perhaps the worst officiating gaffe in NFL history on Monday football was no coincidence. The NFL has been playing a game of chicken that they couldn’t possibly have won, not with the tools they had on hand.
Mike Carey and his crew will be officiating tomorrows game in Baltimore.
Before I wrap this up, I would like to take a second to have what might be an unpopular opinion. I want to sincerely thank the replacement referees for their hard work. As much as the fans, players, media (including myself) and coaches have berated them for their faults, they still went out and worked their butts off and did the best they could have done given the circumstances. I think it is important for fans to recognize that this situation was not their fault and they were very ill prepared for the responsibility of calling NFL games. They put forth a valiant, albeit flawed, effort. I don’t believe anyone thinks that they made bad calls on purpose or because they were lazy, The honestly gave it all they had. So one last time Thank you replacement Refs, I can not imagine how difficult the past 2 1/2 months have been for you all. I appreciate the work you did to try and keep the NFL product great. There may have been bumps along the road, but you handled yourselves with class and you went right back out and got back to work the next day. Thank you.
That said, Ed Hochuli and his massive biceps will definitely be a very welcome site on a football field somewhere in the country this weekend.