NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to fans who felt anxious and stressed by the work of replacement officials during a conference call today.
“Obviously when you go through something like this it is painful for everybody,” he said on a conference call Thursday, about 12 hours after the league reached a deal to bring back the regular officials. “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.”
Goodell said the timing of today’s tentative eight-year agreement to end the lockout of the officials’ union was not tied to public outcry surrounding a missed interference call and controversial catch that resulted in a last-play Seattle win over Green Bay. He said the two sides had been involved in “intensive negotiations” over the last two weeks. He did, however, admit that game “may have pushed the parties further along.”