Ever since Monday night's disaster of an ending in the Seahawks-Packers game, there has been a push by both the NFL and the locked-out officials to resolve their labor dispute. That push, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports, resulted in a deal getting done between the league and refs that will end the lockout.
Additionally, La Canfora reports there is language in the deal that would allow the currently locked-out officials to begin working on Thursday night, when the Ravens and Browns kick off Week 4.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Browns and Ravens still hadn't been notified of changes to the officiating crew for the Thursday night game. And there appeared to be a reasonable enough financial bridge to gap that would prevent the refs from taking the field in Baltimore.
But the two sides made enough progress in negotiations that it appears the refs will get a full week's worth of work in. That's critical, since having the regular refs work all but one game in Week 4 could make for an awkward situation and leave Baltimore and Cleveland at a competitive disadvantage.
Of course, if the refs struggle out of the gates, that won't make things any easier. Which is why it's good news to hear that Ed Hochuli has been grilling them every week on the rules and situations that the NFL faces in 2012.
The best news, though, is that coaches, players, media and, most importantly, fans will be able to move past the sordid affair of the replacement refs soon enough.