SEATTLE – I think it’s safe for all of us to undoubtedly agree that the NFL needs to handle the
situation with its locked-out officials. After two months of waiting, the moment finally came where one of the replacement refs calls directly affected the outcome of a game. With the credibility of the league in question, the embarrassing display of officiating has football fans outraged.
There was only one appropriate reaction after watching the final play of the Seattle Seahawks 14-12 win over the Green Bay Packers, Monday night. I’m more than confident in saying that every officiating mistake that happened early in the game was easily debatable. From inconsistent pass interference calls, to fourth quarter mistakes that directly affected both teams, like failing to remove a ball from the field on the Packers’ two-point conversion attempt. But without debate needed, Monday night’s officials completely blundered the call on the most important play of the game, and then clearly lost control of both teams, making for one of the most bizarre endings to a game in recent NFL history.
It is evident that the NFL’s sloppy attempt to find competent officials for the season has failed. After Division I college officials turned down the offer, it was clear that recruiting low-level college officials would not cut it. Anyone that knows football knows that not only is the NFL rulebook extensive, but the pace of a professional game is fast, and requires more than Pee-Wee part-timers.
Now, I’m not putting all of the blame on the league for the issues with the regular officials. Both parties deserve a piece of the blame for being unable to reach a new working agreement.
The spotlight is on the NFL for believing that the replacement refs would be good enough for the time being. Obviously, they are not. But the willing continuation of the current arrangement has exposed the economic arrogance of the NFL. With ticket sales remaining consistent and TV ratings setting records, there is no incentive for the league to give into the regular referees demands.
So what will come out of Monday? I can say that after Seahawks receiver Golden Tate’s catch was ruled a 24-yard touchdown to win the game, people will continue to watch football. Regardless of the officiating issues, more people are watching and talking about the NFL than ever before, and I don’t see that subsiding. Replacement refs or regular refs, good publicity or bad, people are going to continue to watch football.
The entire country saw the Green Bay Packers lose last nights game due to the in capabilities of the replacement refs. Tate committed a flagrant offensive pass-interference penalty on Packers cornerback Sam Shields, and safety M.D. Jennings clearly had possession of the ball, which should have made the final call an interception and gave the Packers a win.
After the initial chaos on the field, one official ruled the play a touchdown and the other a touchback, and neither looked as if they wanted to make the final call, the play was reviewed and the ruling on the field remained a touchdown.
A game that will surly go down in history, the NFL finally got what’s been coming to them, and the Green Bay Packers were caught in the middle.