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Referees and NFL did right thing for integrity of league by agreeing on contract

APTOPIX Packers Seaha_McNe (2).jpg

Sept. 24, 2012: Officials signal a touchdown after Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pulled in a last-second pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 in an NFL football game.AP/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Only 48 hours after the controversial ending to the game in Seattle, both the NFL and its full time officials recognized that it was imperative to come together and resolve the remaining issues that had kept the referees off the field this season. 

The outcry was so loud, and with the credibility of the league being called into question by so many from coast to coast, including the President of the United States, an agreement had to be reached. 

This could not go on any longer. It was past time, on all sides,  for this self inflicted wound to stop bleeding. This new eight year deal ends the controversy and enables the league, its players, and coaches to get on with the business of football and entertaining its fans with competition.

 When the regular officials take the field for week four, it will in all likelihood, mark only time that the officiating crews will ever be cheered, and shown appreciation. 

Its been proven that they are needed and wanted.  The fans have suffered, and so has the game. Its a small wound, and one that will go away quickly. 

Bitter feelings and anger will linger for the Packers and a few of other teams that have been hurt by the replacements. But with this agreement bringing the regular officials back to work, it immediately restores the credibility and integrity of the league and the games that are played. 

The players union worried about the safety of the game, and that concern will now be alleviated. The teams now have a lot of time, 13 games in fact, to get past these early weeks, and chart their own destiny. All of us who love the game, can be thankful for that.

Jim Gray is a sportscaster and Fox News contributor.