It finally happened. Much of the early-season NFL conversation has centered around the lacking performance of its replacement officials, and they finally cost a team a victory. Most NFL observers and pundits believe that the end of the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers clash on Monday Night Football set a new low for the league and commissioner Roger Goodell in 2012. The Seahawks ended the night with a 14-12 victory after the refs botched the call on a ‘Hail Mary’ pass from Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to Golden Tate on the final play. Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball, but then two different officials had conflicting calls on who had possession. After a botched review, Tate and the Seahawks were awarded a controversial touchdown.
The critical mistake was the latest and most egregious of many blown calls by the replacement referees this season, and the Packers-Seahawks controversy set off a massive reaction on Twitter and other social platforms centered on the desire from fans and players to see the NFL end the labor dispute immediately with the regular league officials. Everyone from Packers players to celebrities to media and fans were incensed at the incompetence of the replacement crew, and the league’s credibility is definitely being ruined by missed calls like the one on Monday night.
The Seahawks fortunate victory sends them to 2-1 on the season, and Seattle heads to St. Louis next Sunday. The Packers were dropped to an alarming 1-2 on the year, making their upcoming battle with the 0-3 Saints a must-win for both teams. Unfortunately for NFL fans, the talk around the league after the Monday night debacle is not about the football on the field. Instead, most of the current NFL dialogue is focused on the league’s stubbornness and its damaged product as a result of more mistakes by replacement officials.
--By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)