Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, it's thankfully, finally over. Many hours after Chris Mortensen reported the NFL and NFLRA had come to an agreement on a new contract, they actually agreed to a fresh deal.
To get there, it only took three weeks of craptastic officiating and a call so bad that a Vegas sportsbook is refunding losing bets.
What if the tipping point Packers/Seahawks call had occurred instead in the Jacksonville/Indy Sunday game that was probably seen live by fifty people who aren't Jags or Colts fans? Would we still be celebrating a return of the regular officials today? Or would the resulting uproar not be enough to sway ownership?
Was it worth it, NFL owners? You've cost yourselves and your sport a good chunk of credibility. The fans who sided with you during the 2011 player lockout, and for two weeks of this officiating lockout? Even they finally realize now how little you truly care about the integrity of the game. We're curious to see if this affects the public opinion of player lawsuits regarding your handling of head injuries.
You saved yourselves a few bucks, and quite frankly, we couldn't give a flying f#$% about the rest - because aside from the dickover you've already dealt us, this deal has zero impact on the sport or the fans. It was never truly about improving officiating for the long haul, as you claimed, and everything you've said about protecting the safety of players was already a crock of shit; this debacle has only served to reinforce that notion.
So, thanks for nothing, NFL owners. Sadly, this includes Pat Bowlen - because we have no reason to believe he was against the lockout.
Of course, we should all keep in mind that there will still be bad calls, and eventually, we'll see one that clearly alters the outcome of a game - whether it's a play like the Jay Cutler fumble in the Hochuli Game, or the Calvin Johnson touchdown catch from Week 1 of last year.
The real refs are still human, as much as we've all romanticized their officiating abilities of late. They will screw up, and they will make decisions in every game that we'll disagree with on some level. No sport officiated by human beings will ever be 100% fair, but that's life.
Yet, the goal of all leagues and sporting events is and should be to present the fairest and most level playing field, and these real referees - who will return for tonight's Browns/Ravens game - provide the NFL with the best chance of reaching that aim. It's all we can ask for.
As for the replacements, we know you were just trying to do a job for which you were unqualified. It wasn't your fault, but you will not be missed. Now, GTFO.
Chris Kuper and Willis McGahee were limited in practice yesterday; Chris Harris, Tracy Porter, and Jacob Tamme were full participants.
Prior to news of an agreement, several Broncos spoke out against the terrible officiating.
The suspension of Joe Mays and injury to Nate Irving (concussion) leave Denver with three veterans and two rookies at the position; Mitch Unrein calls Mays a good guy, but of course that shouldn't factor into whether he deserves to be suspended for his hit on Matt Schaub. Mark Kiszla pleads the same case, and thinks the fine against Mays should stand, but not the suspension.
Matt Bowen hits up the All-22 film to analyze Andre Johnson's 60-yard score against Denver, laying the blame at Mike Adams's feet.
Jeff Legwold reminds us how much of a nightmare Darren McFadden has been to the Broncos of late, counts the similarities between Manning and Carson Palmer, and he makes the case for fans to give the 22-year-old Rahim Moore a break and time to develop before calling him a bust.
If you buy appliances at Denver's Appliance Factory Outlet this week, and the Broncos shut out the Raiders, they'll refund you up to $3,000.
The Raiders signed Rubin Carter's son Andre, who for so many years was rumored as a target to be brought home by Shanny. Instead, he joins his birthright enemy.
These moves further Reggie McKenzie's campaign to remake Al Davis's old team into his own image.
With Dennis Allen running the show, Oakland isn't stupid enough to provide any bulletin board material for Peyton & Co.
Katie Baker proves herself quite the adventuresome soul by entering the Oakland Coliseum and exploring the psyche of costumed Raiders fans.
San Diego extended WR Malcom Floyd through 2015; Kansas City placed center Rodney Hudson on IR and signed lineman Bryan Mattison; Arizona put RB Beanie Wells on IR with the option to return; Washington signed RB Ryan Grant and put Roy Helu on IR; Dallas signed P Brian Moorman, who had been cut by the Bills a day earlier; New England signed DT Terrell McClain; Tennessee placed DE Keyunta Dawson on IR and added DE Pannel Egboh; the Jets are moving RB Joe McKnight to corner following the season-ending injury to Darrelle Revis.
Former Bears QB Jim McMahon, who is suffering from early-onset dementia, says he spends much of his time in a darkened room watching TV, that he forgets things within moments, and that he'd go back and choose to play baseball instead, given the chance.
Brian Burke thinks the yardages docked for each on-field penalty should be increased, in order to make them more impactful and to help make the game faster and fairer; as his efficiency rankings had foretold, Burke's numbers give the Broncos a huge (78%) edge on Sunday.
Jeffri Chadiha explores the idea of removing kickoffs from the game to improve safety.
Chris Brown chronicles the evolution of the zone blitz and its effect on today's defenses.
Chase Stuart drops his wins prediction for Denver to nine, and he thinks their schedule will ease up enough for them to take the AFCW.
Only the arrogant pricks otherwise known as the NFL owners could come up with a way for referees to receive the hero treatment they're likely to get tonight and on Sunday: