The NFL’s regular officiating crews are back. Their return couldn’t have come soon enough for many players, coaches and fans. After two days of marathon negotiations — and mounting frustration across the league and among its fans — the NFL and the officials’ union announced at midnight Thursday that a tentative eight-year agreement had been reached to end a lockout that began in June. The deal follows Seattle’s chaotic last-second win over Green Bay on Monday night in which the replacement officials struggled. Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was at the bargaining table Tuesday and Wednesday, said the regular officials would work the Browns-Ravens game at Baltimore on Thursday night. The seven-man crew working the game is led by referee Gene Steratore, a 10-year NFL veteran/Washington Post. More here. (AP file photo of replacement refs botching last-second call in Seattle-Green Bay game Monday)
Question: Can you think of anything — anything! — more important than the NFL reaching a settlement with its regular officiating crews?