WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – NFL fans were losing their minds across the country immediately following a highly controversial, game-changing decision made by replacement referees in the final seconds of Monday Night Football.
The 14-12 Seattle Seahawks victory was ultimately decided by the overwhelmed and vastly inferior replacement referees, filling in during the official lockout.
In case you missed, the Green Bay Packers and Seahawks took it to the wire in Seattle Monday night, putting the referees in a situation to have to make a game-deciding call after time expired.
Seattle was trailing by five with less than 10 seconds left with just 24 yards between them and victory. Quarterback Russell Wilson took the snap on 4 & 10 after three failed attempts to put the ball in the endzone. He launched a rocket to the back left of pay dirt which would be highly contested for the next 20 televised minutes and the entire next day on sports talk radio across the country.
As the ball sailed down, third-year wide receiver Golden Tate gave himself a hard push off the defenders and reached for the ball, just as the prying hands of Packers safety M.D. Jennings did. The two came clunking to the ground as time expired, four hands across the pigskin.
But who had it?
Well, upon first glance they both did. But the modern advances of replay technology quickly sorted out the mess, at least for the game’s commentators and those watching at home.
The initial ruling on the field by one ref was touchdown, and by another – touchback. What would happen over the course of the remainder of the broadcast still continues to boggle the minds of millions of witnesses. With the outcome hanging in the balance and a pivotal decision in their hands, the replacement refs finally stumbled backwards into the nightmare scenario they’d narrowly avoided in the preceding 47 games this NFL season.
For once they couldn’t just go with a no-call or wait for viewers to flip to a game on another channel. It was Monday Night Football and every football fan still awake was watching, and they blew it.
Replays from every angle imaginable clearly showed Jennings had possession from the time the ball hit his gloves to the time his back hit the turf of the endzone, and the replacement refs still missed the call.
The touchdown ruling on the field was upheld and the Packers were sent home packing — cold, bitter and defiant amidst the swirling winds of CenturyLink Field.
To add insult to injury, NFL rules state a point-after-attempt has to be made after a game-ending touchdown. After being slapped across the forehead with a hard-to-take ‘L,’ Green Bay had to march 11 guys back onto the field to watch a meaningless PAT split the uprights.
As television controversy in 2012 usually dictates, the Twitter world exploded. Fans from every city slammed the refs, bashed the league and called for Roger Goodell to end the referee strike – all rightfully so, and the latter for which the commissioner has the power to do.
The replacement referees crossed a line last night they had been dancing along all season, and it was unmistakable to everyone.
Even Robert Griffin III was watching, tweeting his admonishment after the call, saying he was “speechless.”
Speechless after that...—
Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 25, 2012
The referees definitely got this one wrong. There’s no doubt about it, and for the first time this season everyone can definitively say the NFL vs. Referees dispute is affecting the outcome of games.
The NFL is scheduled to address the controversial decision sometime Tuesday.
For a more detailed account of player reactions to the blown call from around the league, click here.
By: Chris Lingebach