NFL stands by review, but says call was wrong

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NEW YORK — The NFL put its stamp of approval on the still-smoldering outcome of the Green Bay-Seattle game:

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Green Bay defender M.D. Jennings (right) goes up for the interception on the final play of the game. Officials ruled that Seattle's Golden Tate scored a touchdown.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Green Bay defender M.D. Jennings (right) goes up for the interception on the final play of the game. Officials ruled that Seattle's Golden Tate scored a touchdown.

Wrong call.

Right review.

Wrong team still wins.

Seahawks 14, Packers 12.

With frustration mounting among coaches, players and fans, the worst fear finally materialized: a mistake by a replacement official would decide the outcome of a game.

It came while the NFL and its regular officials, locked out since June, were in resumed talks in an attempt to resolve the impasse.

That was still a day late for the Packers.

The fiasco, which unfolded on the prominent stage of Monday Night Football, was deconstructed by the league Tuesday in a way that surely rendered little comfort for Cheeseheads.

The NFL said Seattle’s last-second touchdown pass should not have counted because Seahawks receiver Golden Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference, ending the game with Green Bay winning.

Instead, officials ruled it a touchdown, and penalties either way are not reviewable.

That left it to whether Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings both had possession of the ball. The officials said they did, but the Packers insisted Jennings had clear possession for a game-ending interception. The NFL agreed that the replay was inconclusive, upholding the touchdown and giving Seattle the victory.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, normally a soft-spoken player who didn’t say much after the loss, lashed out on his radio show Tuesday..

“First of all, I’ve got to do something that the NFL is not going to do: I have to apologize to the fans,” he said on ESPN 540-AM.

Even President Obama got in on the conversation Tuesday, tweeting: “NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon.”

The controversy began on the final play when 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 he and Jennings got their hands on the ball.

“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.

“The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review,” the league said in a statement.

Saying there was no indisputable evidence, though, is not the same as confirming the initial call was correct.

Fans in record numbers stayed with ESPN to watch the highlights on SportsCenter after the game: 6.5 million viewers, the most for the full-length show since records started being kept in 1990.

On his weekly appearance on Seattle radio station 710 KIRO-AM, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made no apologies Tuesday, saying, “The league backed it up and game over. We win.”

“It was just heartbreaking to have a game taken from us like that,” Green Bay guard T.J. Lang told 97-FM The Ticket in Detroit.

“We put way too much effort, and blood, sweat and tears into these games to have one absolutely stolen from us.”

REACTION TO CALL ON TWITTER

A look at some of the Twitter posts from players and celebrities following the controversial ending to Monday night's game in Seattle:

• “Got (robbed) by the refs.. Embarrassing. Thanks nfl” – Green Bay offensive lineman T.J. Lang

• “Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.” – Lang

• “13th man beat us tonight.” – Green Bay tight end Tom Crabtree (The Seahawks refer to their crowd as the “12th man”)

• “I simply just LOVE the NFL to much to see these mistakes. I’m sick like I just played for the Packers” – Miami Heat star LeBron James

• “These games are a joke.” – Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current NFL broadcaster Troy Aikman

• “Not gonna watch another nfl game until real refs r back. What a farce” – Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki

• “Maybe they will actually start to think the regular refs are important. How many games can they screw up before people think its important.” – Atlanta Braves pitcher Paul Maholm

• “All nfl fans watch the Ryder Cup this week, we got no refs.” – Masters Tournament champion Bubba Watson

• “These refs gotta go I’m sorry” – Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush

• “These refs are in Over their heads!!! OBVIOUSLY!!!” – Actor Samuel L. Jackson

– Associated Press

CALL COSTLY TO MANY BETTORS

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas oddsmakers say $300 million or more changed hands worldwide on a controversial referee call that decided the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.

The Glantz-Culver line for the game opened favoring the Packers by 4½. Had the final play been ruled an interception – as many players, analysts and fans believed was the right call – Green Bay would have won by 5 points.

Gambling expert RJ Bell, of Las Vegas-based Pregame.com, said an estimated two-thirds of bets worldwide were on the Packers, with about $150 million more bet on Green Bay than Seattle.

– Associated Press


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