NFL: Officials' ruling at end of MNF game between Packers-Seahawks was correct

A pair of NFL referees give conflicting signals in the back of the end zone on the final Hail Mary play in Monday’s Seahawks-Packers game. The controversial TD call was upheld Monday by the NFL

A pair of NFL referees give conflicting signals in the back of the end zone on the final Hail Mary play in Monday’s Seahawks-Packers game. The controversial TD call was upheld Monday by the NFL

NEW YORK — The NFL conceded Tuesday that a bad call cost the Green Bay Packers the game — yet still upheld the Seattle Seahawks’ victory.

While coaches, players and fans — even athletes in other sports — ripped the use of replacement refs, the league met with its locked-out officials Tuesday in an attempt to resolve the impasse.

The NFL said Seattle’s last-second touchdown pass of the “Monday Night Football” game should not have been overturned in the 14-12 victory — but it acknowledged Seahawks receiver Golden Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference before the catch.

Frustrations over the replacements have mounted through the first three weeks of the season and reached an apex Monday when a highly questionable call decided the outcome of a game.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, normally a soft-spoken player who didn’t say much after the game, lashed out on his radio show a day later.

“First of all, I’ve got to do something that the NFL is not going to do: I have to apologize to the fans,” he said.

Even President Barack Obama got in on the conversation Tuesday, tweeting: “NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon.”

The controversy began on the final play when Russell Wilson heaved a 24-yard pass into a scrum in the end zone with Seattle trailing 12-7. Tate shoved away a defender with both hands, and the NFL acknowledged Tuesday he should have been penalized, which would have clinched a Packers victory. But it was not called and cannot be reviewed by instant replay.

Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings then both got their hands on the ball, though the Packers insisted Jennings had clear possession for a game-ending interception. The video replay supported the claim.

“It was pinned to my chest the whole time,” Jennings said.

Instead, the officials ruled on the field that the two had simultaneous possession, which counts as a reception. Once that happened, the NFL said, the referee was correct that no indisputable visual evidence existed on review to overturn the touchdown call.

“The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review,” the league said in a statement.

Saying there was no indisputable evidence, though, is not the same as confirming the initial call was correct. Simultaneous possession can be reviewed only on plays in the end zone.

On his weekly appearance on Seattle radio station 710 KIRO-AM, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made no apologies Tuesday, saying, “The league backed it up and game over. We win.”

“Golden makes an extraordinary effort. It’s a great protection. It’s a great throw. It’s a great attempt at the ball and he wins the battle,” he said. “They were right on the point looking right at it, standing right over the thing and they reviewed it. Whether they missed the push or not — obviously they missed the push in the battle for the ball — but that stuff goes on all the time.”

But Rodgers, in a reference to referee Wayne Elliott not seeing indisputable evidence, said: “I mean, come on, Wayne. That’s embarrassing.”

The NFL locked out the officials in June after their contract expired. Unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, the league opened the season with replacements, most with experience only in lower levels of college football.

Coaches and players began griping about the replacements in the preseason, but the frustration seemed to boil over in Week 3 this past weekend.

Scuffles after the whistle were frequent with players appearing to test the limits of the new officials and coaches were fined for berating them.

Las Vegas oddsmakers said $300 million or more changed hands worldwide on Monday’s call. The Glantz-Culver line for the game opened favoring the Packers by 4½. Had the play been ruled an interception, Green Bay would have won by 5.

The call also found its way into Wisconsin politics, with Republican Gov. Scott Walker tweeting for the regular officials to return. Opponents noted that he seemed to be supporting the referees union after going after public employee unions last year, though Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach added: “We’re all fans, first and foremost.”


VSU 1 year, 7 months ago

I know these replacements are making bad calls, but in all fairness even the regular officiating crews missed calls as well in the past.


USTPC 1 year, 7 months ago

You are right. In my mind this is one union (players) making an issue out of every call so that another union (refs) can get more from the owners. The offer on the table last I heard was that experienced refs could be making $200k a year for working 16 games. Not bad wages for part time work. I would take it in a heartbeat.


VSU 1 year, 7 months ago

Right on, I could quit my job and work 16 days out of the year and be in real good shape.


Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 7 months ago

These officials are not permanently employed ergo they should be compensated justly for their work. I'm not saying we should be shedding any tears for the officials, but they need to send a message to Goodell.


Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 7 months ago

In my mind this all reflects poorly on Goodell. His hypocritical stance on "protecting the Integrity of the league " and ensuring "player safety" is contradicting his actions in regards to how he is handling the lockout. His main concern seems to be protecting his role as, "the most powerful man in sports."


Tonto 1 year, 7 months ago

Think I'd rather watch 16 weeks of our own Panther's football and the suitably qualified refs we have in this league than wait for any more 'game-turning/career ending calls or hits" that have turned the NFL into a hugh CSI knockoff. too many suspects that should be guilty to guess who really is.


VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree some hits are uncalled for. I like hard played football, but some of those players go after their target like a guided missle with the intent to destroy.


tywebb 1 year, 7 months ago

i was really trying to give the refs the benefit of the doubt in these early season games, but, to NOT overturn that TD call is just gross negligence. I'm sure they were just trying to get the refs out of seattle alive, but come on! I just hope these coaches and players who keep whining and crying about the scabs give the "professional" refs just as much hell (if not more) when they come back


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