The Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football has become one of the spotlights of the NFL season after an announcement that regular officiating referees will be back for the game. The game starts at 8.20 p.m. ET and can be watched online through live stream (please follow link below to watch live).
NFL coaches, players and fans are celebrating an end to the three month referee lockout, and thousands of fans across the country will now be able to tune in tonight to watch a referee crew of more than 70 years NFL experience take to the field.
After three weeks of building tension and anger at numerous dubious decisions taking place on an increasingly alarming basis, the two sides in the deadlocked talks finally came to a conclusion and immediately announced that the opening game of week 4 would see regular refs return.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has also issued an apology to fans who have had to endure a problematic opening three weeks of the season.
On midnight Thursday a tentative eight-year agreement was reached to end the lockout that began all the way back in June.
Goddell said in a press conference: "Obviously when you go through something like this, it's painful for everybody. Most importantly, it's painful for fans. We're sorry to have to put fans through that. Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term."
The unrest at the temporary replacement refs came to a head on Monday Night Football earlier this week when Seattle gained a last second win over Green Bay in controversial circumstances.
"We are glad to be getting back on the field for this week's games," NFL Referees Association President Scott Green said.
Although indications are that the deal will be made permanent, the agreement must be first ratified by 51 percent of the union's 121 members. A vote is expected to take place on Friday and Saturday in Dallas, Texas.
The referees coming in for Thursday night Football are:
Referee Gene Steratore: 10 years of NFL experience
Umpire Bill Schuster: 13 years
Head linesman Wayne Mackie: 6 years
Line judge Jeff Seeman: 11 years
Field judge Bob Waggoner: 16 years
Side judge Jimmy DeBell: 4 years
Back judge Greg Steed: 10 years
Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens is scheduled to commence at 8.20 p.m. ET.