NFL Refs Reach Agreement With Owners Back on Job for Thursday Night Football

After days of heavy criticism of the NFL due to the back up refs controversial call during last Monday night’s Packers-Seahawks game, the regular refs are officially back.

After days of intense negotiations, the NFL owners and referees association reached an 8-year agreement to end a lockout that began in June. Commisioner Goodell announced that the regular officials would work the Browns-Ravens game at Baltimore on Thursday night.

In a conference call that took place about 12 hours after the agreement was reached Goodell said ,”Obviously when you go through something like this, it’s painful for everybody. Most importantly, it’s painful for fans. We’re sorry to have to put fans through that. Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term.”

The 8-year-deal will give the union referees a pay raise and keeps their pension program in place for five years.

While they have not called a game since last season, the league’s veteran crews will be ready to go, said retired official Mason “Red” Cashion.

“These guys have been working every week, really since May, to get ready for the season, through conference calls, through video, through meetings of their own,” Cashion said. “And that’s something that the officials have done simply because they have enough pride in what they do that they wanted to be ready. And they are ready.