Green Bay Packers Are Sleepless in Seattle After Being Robbed by Replacement Ref's
Style News Wire | 9/25/2012, 7 p.m.
The NFL upheld the Seahawks' disputed 14-12 win over the Green Bay Packers and resumed meetings with its locked-out officials in an attempt to resolve an impasse that has prompted torrents of criticism against the replacement refs.
The NFL said Tuesday that Seattle's last-second touchdown pass should not have been overturned -- but conceded Seahawks receiver Golden Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference before the catch.
Two people with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the two sides were meeting Tuesday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were not made public.
In light of Monday's controversy, the NFL issued a statement on the labor dispute with the referees.
"There is broad agreement that the quality and consistency of officiating can and should be improved. How to accomplish that is a critical issue separating the two sides in this negotiation," the statement read. "While the officials' union would like to turn this into purely an economic dispute, we have told the union and the federal mediator that we are prepared to make reasonable economic compromises and that we will invest more money in officiating as long as it assures long term improvement.
"We have made a number of specific proposals to accomplish that, including by developing a deeper, more diverse talent pool that is trained in NFL officiating earlier and more intensively."
While not mentioning the ending of the Packers-Seahawks game, President Barack Obama weighed in on the dispute between the locked-out officials and NFL via twitter, writing, "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon."
The ire of coaches, players and fans at the struggles of the replacements had been steadily building this season, and it reached an apex Monday with what everybody had feared would happen: a highly questionable call deciding a game.
On the final play of "Monday Night Football," 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 that 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.
"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.
During his weekly radio appearance Tuesday morning on KIRO-AM in Seattle, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he understands why there is so much outrage about the call that awarded Tate a touchdown. But he said the call ruling it a simultaneous catch, which awards the reception to the offense, was correct.
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.