Before Thursday night's game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, all the talk was about the NFL and the NFLRA completing a deal to put the real officials back on the field.
Throughout Thursday night's game, there was hardly any mention of the real officials. That's a good thing.
As the joke among officials goes (to put it in family-friendly terms), "If they don't know your name by the end of the game, you've done a good job. If they do know your name, you've screwed up."
In fact, the real officials received a standing ovation in Baltimore before the contest, believe it or not.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL finally decided it would be a good idea to compromise with the NFLRA this week after Monday night's debacle between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.
In the event you are the one person in America who hasn't heard, in the final play of that game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hoisted up a Hail Mary with Seattle down by five points. Despite it being clear that Packers safety M.D. Jennings came down with the interception, the replacement officials ruled that Seahawks receiver Golden Tate had simultaneous possession, meaning a touchdown for Seattle. It was the game-ending and game-deciding play as the Seahawks won, 14-12.
The backlash after the game was tremendous (albeit there was nary a peep from Seattle, oddly). Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was clearly upset and a host of Packers players went to Twitter to vent their frustration after the game.
Ironically, the biggest backlash came on the offensive side of the ball, with Packers guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton lighting into the NFL and the Seahawks.
But by the end of the Ravens-Browns clash, most of the commotion was about the actual sport of football than the officials.
We no longer have to worry about the hashtag #ReplacementRefs.
There were three hashtags in Twitter's Top 10 related to the Thursday night contest: #Ravens, #TrentRichardson and #NFLNetwork.
It's great to have you back, real officials. And I never thought I'd say that.
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