48 hours after the game, the National Football League and the NFL Referees Association came to an agreement on a new deal to have the trained officials on the field for games starting on Thursday night.
The integrity of the game took a hit as the officiating got worse and worse as the first three weeks of the NFL rolled along. Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton went after the NFL and having the real officials in games immediately. He pointed out statistics that in week three alone, 20 calls were challenged and 16 were reversed, which is an incredibly bad job done by the referees.
Also on the site, I was surprised that they posted a video to go with the breaking news that both sides reached an agreement. It appears that the Times will post a video when a story is very important and of the magnitude that replacement refs were from Monday.
Sports will always have the human error factor as a part of the game. Blown calls in baseball like Jim Joyce's blunder during Armando Gallaraga's "perfect game" made headlines for days until Joyce issued an apology in tears. The replacement refs never apologized for their blunders, but there was a price paid by Roger Goodell and his reputation as the commissioner of the league.
Everyone knew Jim Joyce by name after the blown perfect game. Deadspin revealed the identities of the replacement officials and went even farther to expose the inexperience of one referee. This was all that the sports industry was talking about for the next few days. It was bad that playoff races in baseball were forgotten. The final play could be taken by several different angles, but ESPN laid down the hammer as "the worldwide leader in sports" by crucifying the officials' mistakes.
It is time to move on and focus on the other sports going on and have an occasional disagreement with a ruling on the field. That is just the nature of the game, but these last few weeks proved the cliche of "you never know what you have until it's gone" true.