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NFL Referees to return, reportedly, ending months of pretend football

Take a good, long look, because it's the last time you're going to see these (awful calls.)

Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The NFL and its actual, competent referees are reportedly close to an end to their lockout, which has turned the first three weeks of the 2012 NFL regular season into a combination carnival-slash-car-accident, in which football became oddly fun to watch because it was so bad but also became worrying to watch because it was clear that the replacement referees would eventually get themselves or others killed. The St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins were victimized repeatedly in Week 2, but apparently it took the Green Bay Packers' Monday Night Football meltdown to set things in order.

Whether you agreed with the referees' position or not—I'm not sure I feel bad about part-time employees who make six figures having to pay into their own pension plans—it became clear early on that they had all the leverage in this matter, and they rode that pretty mercilessly to the finish line.

Which—well, I'm not sure you can blame them for that, either. The NFL's owners should probably even be a little proud, having raised a group of lowly officials up to become ruthless, blood-smelling negotiators.