Issue 3- October 5, 2012
A controversial call in the NFL can certainly cause a riot. The subject of replacement referees and the final call of the Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks game enraged fans all the way to the white house.
In the endzone, Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate and Packers safety M.D. Jennings appeared to both have a hand on the ball. Was it an interception or a touchdown? One referee called a touchdown, and the other decided it was incomplete. After review, the final call—a simultaneous catch, sending the ball to the offense—gave the Seahawks the winning touchdown. The other half of this controversy happens just before the catch. Tate shoves Packers cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. If this was called, it would have been offensive pass interference, sending the ball to the original line of scrimmage and then 10 yards back, but the referees overlooked this penalty.
The discontent with the NFL centered around the fact that, because the referees were on a lockout, replacement referees were chosen. These referees were completely insufficient on the biggest stage in football.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers responded to the call that cost his team the loss.
“First of all, I’ve got to do something the NFL is not going to do, and I have to apologize to the fans. The game is being tarnished by an NFL that obviously cares more about saving some money than having the integrity of the game diminished,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show. “This is an NFL who gambled on some low-level referees, including the guy who makes the most important call last night, who has never had any professional experience.”
This controversy also caused a stir in the presidential campaign. Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan used this opportunity to call out the Obama administration.
“Did you guys watch that Packers game last night? I mean, give me a break. It is time to get the real refs,” Ryan said. “And do you know what? It reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out. I half think that these refs work part-time for the Obama administration in the budget office.”
Obama also weighed in on the call. He described it as “terrible.”
“I’ve been saying for months, we’ve gotta get our refs back,” Obama said.
The last seconds of the Packers and Seahawks game helped to decide the end of the lockout. The referees reached an eight-year agreement on Sept. 26, and were back on the field Sept. 27.
“We look forward to having the finest officials in sports back on the field, and I want to give a special thanks to NFL fans for their passion,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “Now it’s time to put the focus back on the teams and players—where it belongs.”
This latest altercation showed the intensity of fans, and the NFL heard loud and clear. Football is more than just a game on Sunday afternoons. It’s something to get fired up about.