It’s not about integrity. It’s not about player safety. It’s about money, greed, and ego. Shocking I know. This side show hit a low Monday night. A legitimate and earned win was taken right out of the Packers hands. The Seahawks were given the ultimate gift. They can’t even feel good about the win this morning. The Seahawks were the beneficiary of a blatant wrong call that gave the Seattle Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Green Bay Packers on the last play of the game. The Hail Mary pass was intercepted by the Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings. It was an obvious interception. Nobody that has watched the game, or has seen the replay, would disagree. The official ruled Seattle receiver Golden Tate had possession of the ball and called it TD.
The NFL has been walking the plank with the replacement referees for weeks now. The viewing audience has been subjected to flagged-filled games with little or no flow. Sunday saw more red flag challenges than one can remember.
Some lowlights from Sunday’s action:
* The 49ers were wrongly given two challenges against Minnesota
* In the Lions-Titans and Bengals-Redskins games the referees incorrectly marked off yardage on penalties
* No call on a blatant helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey by Steeler Ryan Munday. Heyward-Bay was carried off on a stretcher, but he is expected to make a full recovery
* The Patriots-Ravens nationally televised Sunday night game which featured 24 accepted penalties and a phantom pass interference call on Patriot Devin McCourty which set up the winning field goal
The replacement officials are not to blame. They are in over their head. The speed and rules of the game are in a different stratosphere from the Division II and III, NAIA, and yes the Lingerie Football League where they are trained to officiate. The NFL owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell garner full responsibility for this mess. Goodell, the often abrasive Commissioner, and the guy that people love to hate works for the owners. While he is the voice and the face of the NFL, the ownest to get this rectified lies on the NFL owners shoulders. Was the call that changed the outcome of game a big enough black eye for the owners?
The referee’s union did not strike. The NFL owners forced this lockout back in June. At the heart of the dispute is the long-standing pension plan. The owners want to freeze the pension plan and move the NFL Referee Association to a 401(k) plan. The Union has communicated to the NFL that they would accept a grandfather clause where current referees stay under the pension system and new refs would receive the 401(K) plan. This isn’t good enough for the owners. The NFL is a multi-billion a year cash cow, and has a brand and popularity not matched by many organizations. They are not hurting. The amount in dispute here is essentially pocket change. The owners believe the referees are a commodity. I think we’ve all learned this year capped by the travesty the last night, that they are far from a commodity. It’s time to do the right thing Roger and NFL owners.