Arizona Cardinals glad to have regular officials back

Sep 27, 2012, 11:03 PM | Updated: Sep 28, 2012, 12:08 am

Late Wednesday night, the lockout of the NFL officials ended, putting an end to the “replacement ref experiment” that became an increasingly bigger black eye on the league with each passing game.

The regular officials, with a new eight-year collective bargaining agreement signed, will be back on the field in time for Week 4 contests, including the Arizona Cardinals-Miami Dolphins matchup Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Much like the majority of NFL fans, the Cardinals themselves are happy to see the situation taken care of.

“I’m glad,” head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Thursday. “It’s a tough situation for anybody to be in and I’m glad that the NFL and the referees association got it worked out and they’re back at work.”

The Cardinals were nearly victims of an officiating gaffe in Week 1 against Seattle when replacement referee Bruce Hermansen granted the Seahawks an extra timeout on what would have been the go-ahead scoring drive. The Cardinals defense held, and the NFL issued a statement the next day admitting the error.

Arizona safety Kerry Rhodes commended the job the replacements did under adverse conditions.

“I think everybody’s happy to see those guys back but we don’t want to discount what the replacement guys did,” he said. “For them to come out and have to be put in that situation to ref an NFL game — just the speed of it for them had to be different so, I think they did a good job for the most part. They had some not-so-great moments, but I think that’s just part of it.”

Some players, like Larry Fitzgerald, are glad to see the labor issue solved, but are more focused on the big picture for the undefeated Cardinals.

“I’m more happy to be 3-0,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to keep the positive momentum going, but it’s nice to know that the games probably won’t be as slow and calls will be made right.

“As a player, I’m happy to see the guys back to work.”

Arizona Sports’ Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report

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