Monday Night Football ending brings more heat to replacement refs
By Jason Moon
(CNN) — The Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 Monday night in a game that ended with another controversial decision by the NFL’s replacement officials that could increase the outcry to get regular game officials back on the field.
The Seahawks, playing at home, trailed 12-7 before scoring their final touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate in the end zone as the clock expired.
On the play in the end zone, Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings appeared to intercept the pass, with both hands wrapped around the ball and pulled to his chest. Tate, the Seattle receiver, had one arm on the ball as they fell to the ground. [Click here for video highlights on NFL.com]
Two officials in the end zone gave competing signals: one signaled a touchdown and the other signaled a clock stoppage, indicating a change of possession and an interception.
The play was reviewed on video, but the play was ruled a touchdown.
In addition, before he made the catch in the end zone, Tate shoved Packers defender Sam Shields in the back, which would typically draw an offensive pass interference penalty.
“Those were two of the worst calls to end a game that I can recall,” said ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden, the former Super Bowl-winning coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
NFL games this season have been heavily scrutinized publicly, as the league is involved in a labor dispute with its officials and is using replacement officials in the games.
Games in the first three weeks of the season have routinely seen numerous penalties and a seeming lack of control by replacement officials.
Monday night’s game will provide more fodder for critics of the replacement officials, many of whom – including NBA superstar LeBron James – took to Twitter: “These replacement refs gotta go man!! Packers just got game took from them. I LOVE NFL football to much to see this type of work.”
Others were equally critical.
“The NFL is a Formula 1 race car. The replacement refs are the 3 year old behind the wheel. #mnf #nfl,” tweeted former quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
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