Finally it is over. The replacement officials have finally been relieved of their duties and the real officials, led by Ed "Hocules" Hochuli, can take their rightful place back on the gridiron.
This comes after the debacle on Monday Night Football when an official wrongly (no matter what the NFL says) awarded Golden Tate and the Seattle Seahawks a touchdown and consequently a victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. But what does this mean for the NFL and will the fans do in reaction to the return of the original officials.
First off, the fans at tonight's game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens are going to be the first ones to see a consistently called game all year long. I say consistently because there is no doubt that these officials will make mistakes. It is part of life, no one is perfect. But having consistent calls will at least bring the level of competition between the teams back to what we fans expect it to be.
As for me, what am I looking forward to most tonight? I am looking forward to listening to the cheers from the fans when the officials walk onto the field for the coin toss. I am also look forward to finding out how long it will take those cheers to turn to boos.
Secondly, what does this mean to the NFL? Well this means that the games from here on out will be better officiated obviously. Also, fans that may have wandered away for a few weeks(however few they may be) will be back watching their favorite teams do battle with each other rather than each other AND the officials. This will lead ratings to grow and more tickets to be sold and therefore more money to be made by the NFL.
Lastly, I do want to say that I did not think the replacement officials were going to be that bad at first. Most of them had some sort of officiating experience prior to this. Even if that experience was in the LFL( Lingerie Football League), it is still experience. However, with what I saw this last week, I am incredibly excited for the regular officials to return.