Bengals, like rest of America, rejoice over refs’ return
September 28, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals locker room was not much different than many bars, barber shops and business offices Thursday as the topic of conversation centered on the end of the NFL referee lockout, and the relief that comes along with it.
“We heard they’re back, and we’re super excited about that,” defensive tackle Domata Peko said of the regular referees, who were scheduled to make their debut Thursday night in the Cleveland-Baltimore game.
“I can’t wait to see those guys Sunday,” Bengals cornerback Adam Jones added. “I respect what they were going through. We went through the same thing. I’m just happy it got to a point where they finally decided, let’s get this done. It’s a good thing for the whole National Football League.”
The replacement officials were responsible for dozens of questionable calls and incorrectly administered penalties through the first three weeks, but the turning point in the standoff between the league and the officials union came Monday night on the final play of the Green Bay-Seattle game, when Seahawks receiver Golden Tate was awarded a game-winning touchdown on what appeared to be an interception by the Packers’ M.D. Jennings.
The touchdown call — and the statement the NFL issued the next day supporting the decision to not overturn it after replay review — drew the ire of players, fans and media across the country and injected a renewed urgency into the negotiations.