After weeks of controversy peaked on Monday, a deal between the NFL and the NFL referee's association is expected to be completed on Wednesday or Thursday, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com. As ESPN's Adam Schefter reports via colleague Chris Mortensen, the two sides are nearly finished with an agreement in principle on a new deal.
For fans around the country, the time to rejoice may be near after the stunning finish of Monday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. That game was ultimately decided on a highly-controversial touchdown call by replacement referees that have been under fire from fans and media since the start of the season.
One person with experience in these kinds of situations, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, doesn't think anyone should get too excited yet, though:
Having done this before, everyone needs to wait until the ink is dry.— DeMaurice Smith (@DeSmithNFLPA) September 26, 2012
It's not clear if the referees will be able to return to the field in time for this week's slate of games even if a deal is finished on Wednesday, but all reports seem to indicate that significant progress has been made. Presumably players and coaches share Smith's hesitation to celebrate, but the era of replacement refs may not last much longer.