When the Raiders and the 49ers play on Sunday, the referees will not be replacements. NFL officials ended their labor dispute with the league by approving a new eight-year contract with a 112-5 vote Saturday.
The regular NFL officials returned to work Thursday night, and the fans gave them a warm welcome back before bestowing their loudest cheers upon the Baltimore Ravens, who never trailed in a 23-16 victory over the winless Cleveland Browns.
The sigh of relief will not erase three weeks of controversial calls, John Madden told the KCBS morning crew.
The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 6-3 Wednesday night in a pre-season game that featured little offense, only a brief appearance by Eli Manning and no appearance by Tom Brady.
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, told SI.com he wouldn’t rule out a players’ strike in support of locked out referees. John Madden told the KCBS morning crew that won’t happen.
The NFL is using substitute referees in pre-season games as the league’s labor dispute with officials continues. “It’s a big problem,” John Madden told the KCBS morning crew. “People want to say you know they’ll be okay and the other guys aren’t really that good so they can’t be much worse. I don’t believe any of that.”