The Great Zebra Crisis of 2012 finally is over.
Thanks to a momentum push from Monday’s farce of an ending in Seattle, the NFL and its referees struck a deal late Wednesday night to end a nearly 4-month-old labor dispute that had thrown the league into turmoil and tarnished its reputation.
The eight-year agreement — the longest between the NFL and its referees in the history of the league — still needs to be formally ratified in person by the union’s full membership tomorrow and Saturday in Dallas, but the sides expected to have a crew of regulars in place tonight for the matchup in Baltimore between the Ravens and Browns.
In other words, no more Lingerie Football League rejects — Ed Hochuli and his biceps are back.
“Our officials will be back on the field starting [Thursday] night,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We appreciate the commitment of the NFLRA in working through the issues to reach this important agreement.”