After two days of marathon negotiations — and mounting frustration among coaches, players, and fans — the NFL and the referees' union announced that a tentative agreement had been reached. So, so long replacement refs. Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was at the bargaining table Tuesday and Wednesday, said the regular officials would work tonight's Browns-Ravens game at Baltimore. The tentative eight-year deal must be ratified by 51 percent of the union's 121 members. They plan to vote Friday and Saturday in Dallas. "Welcome back REFS," Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller tweeted shortly after the news broke.
The replacements worked the first three weeks of games for the NFL season, triggering a wave of outrage that threatened to disrupt the rest of the season. After a missed call cost the Green Bay Packers a win on a chaotic final play in Seattle on Monday night, the two sides really got serious and sat down to talk.