Vince McMahon was probably downright giddy when the Seattle Seahawks were gifted a victory over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football just days ago thanks to incompetence from the replacement referees the National Football League (NFL) has been utilizing. After all, WWE has been using the situation for storyline fodder and that debacle provided a new wrinkle for the company to exploit.
Even if ESPN killed Monday Night Raw and USA in the ratings for the night thanks to all the controversy.
Unfortunately for Vinny Mac, it's now being reported by Chris Mortensen at ESPN that after all the madness from Monday night, concessions from both the NFL and the NFLRA (Referee's Association) have been made and a deal is so close, the "real" referees could be back as soon as this weekend.
The NFL and the NFL Referees Association made enough progress in negotiations Tuesday night that the possibility of the locked-out officials returning in time to work this week's games has been discussed, according to sources on both sides.
An agreement in principle is at hand, according to one source familiar to talks, although NFL owners have postured with a "no more compromise" stance.
Although league sources said it would take a week to get the locked-out officials on the field, the NFLRA says its 121 referees have been trained on the new rules implemented last season, have already passed physicals or are prepared to pass physicals immediately. New official game uniforms designed by Nike are "hardly an obstacle," according to a source.
This doesn't mean WWE will simply abandon its gleeful teasing of the NFL with the storyline involving Brad Maddox and his making multiple mistakes but it does affect the mileage they can get out of it.
Then again, we all know how stubborn folks in Stamford at WWE headquarters can be. It should be interesting to see how they proceed once the NFL and NFLRA officially come to a deal.