NFL Union Referees Return to Football

The National Football League union referees are finally returning to football, and are no doubt more than welcomed by the NFL and countless fans.

Late Wednesday night the NFL and the NFL Referees Association reached a final agreement that ended the three month lockout. The deal hasn’t been ratified yet; it must first be voted through by at least 61 of the NFLRA’s 121 members.

For the time being, the NFLRA has sent union referees back on the field, which started September 27 in Baltimore, where the Ravens defeated the Browns.

“We appreciate the commitment of the NFLRA in working through the issues to reach this important agreement,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Most fans of the NFL are excited to see the union refs back in action, and also to see the replacement refs leave. Throughout the past three weeks of NFL football, the replacement refs have been receiving nonstop criticism from coaches, players, reporters and fans for several questionable calls.

The criticism of the replacement refs climaxed this Monday, when the Green Bay Packers took on the Seattle Seahawks.

The score was 12-7, with Green Bay in the lead. As the time expired, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw the ball 24 yards to receiver Golden Tate in the end zone. Tate pushed off of Green Bay defender Sam Shields and jumped to catch the ball. Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings caught the ball first, and both Jennings and Tate hit the ground in the end zone with the ball partially in their hands. Ruling on the field: touchdown Seattle, giving them the win over Green Bay.

After reviewing the play several times, both during the game and at NFL headquarters, the call was not overturned, and Seattle earned the win. Goodell said that he agreed with the refs’ choice to not overturn the call, saying there wasn’t enough video evidence to say that either player had full possession of the ball. The touchdown wasn’t confirmed; it just wasn’t overturned. However, all sports analysts agree that Golden Tate should have been called for pass interference for pushing Shields off, and that the game should have ended there, with Green Bay the victors.

Either way, everyone involved with NFL football is ready to see the official referees back in action.