Reports are swirling that a deal is close for the National Football League to bring back the regular referees, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Comcast SportsNet confirmed that regular referees are preparing to vote on a new proposal from the NFL for a collective bargaining agreement with the referee union. If the agreement is approved, referees could be back on the field as early as this weekend.
Contract negotiations were accelerated this week after the fiasco that decided the Monday Night Football game between Green Bay and Seattle. That game was decided on the final play of the game when one referee ruled a touchdown and another ruled an interception of a Hail Mary pass thrown by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
The Monday Night Football play drew the ire of seemingly the entire country, with many players and even President Obama voicing concerns over the officiating in the NFL.
Until an agreement is reached, it is unclear if the Baltimore Ravens will take the field in Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Browns with the real refs on the field are face another game with replacements refs.
Baltimore's last game, against the New England Patriots, ended with much controversy with questionable calls from the replacements refs. The Washington Redskins game against the Cincinnati Bengals ended in similar controversy, with the replacement referees incorrectly deciding the game was over prematurely.