NFL Commish Roger Goodell apologized yesterday for hiring replacement refs. He said, "Obviously when you go through something like this it is painful for everybody. Most importantly, it is painful for our fans. We are sorry to have to put our fans through that, but it is something that in the short term you sometimes have to do to make sure you get the right kind of deal for the long term and make sure you continue to grow the game. You're always worried about the short-term impact on your brand and the long-term impact on your brand. Obviously, this has gotten a lot of attention. It hasn't been positive, and it's something that you have to fight through and get to the long term. ... We always are going to have to work harder to make sure we get people's trust and confidence in us. The folks on the field during the last three weeks were under unprecedented scrutiny. Everything they did, every call, was magnified. They kept the game going. They worked hard. They trained hard. They were incredibly focused and dedicated."
The refs received a standing ovation before last night's Browns-Ravens game.