They'll be welcomed back by fans: Regular NFL refs will be on the job again starting tonight. (2006 file photo.) Shaun Best/Reuters /Landov hide caption toggle caption Shaun Best/Reuters /Landov The Two-Way We Have A Ruling: NFL Referees Are Returning To The Field September 27, 2012 NFL fans' nightmare is over. The league and its referees have reached a tentative agreement on a new, eight-year contract. So replacement refs — who have been blamed for botching calls and giving at least one team a victory it didn't deserve — have been sent to the showers.