Well, the replacement ref nightmare is over. Just before the clock struck midnight yesterday, the NFL reached an agreement with the referees’ union that will have the regular zebras back on the field for tonight’s game between the Ravens and Browns. Apparently Roger Goodell and company couldn’t stomach the idea of another nationally televised game being ruined by a bunch of amateurs.
Of course, you know what this really means: all us football fans suffered through this nonsense for nothing. Well, no, not nothing. It was for greed. For weeks, you see, the two sides just could not see eye to eye. The refs’ demands were outrageous and would surely bankrupt the league’s billionaire owners. Then one of the game’s most iconic franchises was robbed of a victory on Monday Night Football, and suddenly progress was made in negotiations.
Conclusion: the owners were just trying to save (what is to them) a few lousy bucks—about $50,000 per year, per ref. Given that there are 121 member of the refs’ union, that works out to a total increase of $6,050,000—or $189,000 per team.
Seriously. We sat through three weeks of replacement referees because owners didn’t want to chip in an extra $189,000.
Anyway, it’s all over now. Starting this weekend we can all go back to complaining about the real NFL referees. But just so no one ever forgets what these three weeks were like, I’ve put together this list of the replacement refs’ greatest hits…in GIF form. It doesn’t have every single botched call, but it does have what were, in my mind, the most memorable ones.
So are you ready for a good laugh? Okay then. Let’s get started.