Replacement Refs Spark Widespread Backlash
The NFL announced on Tuesday that they support the Seattle Seahawks' 14-12 victory over Green Bay in Week 3. The game ended on a controversial decision from a crew of replacement officials, the latest mistake that's fueling the fire against the league. On the final play of the game, Russell Wilson heaved a hail-mary towards the endzone. Amidst a crowd of Packers, Golden Tate pushed off one defender. Then, it appears that Green Bay comes down with an interception, but Tate wrestled for the ball on the ground. Initially, one referee called for time, while the other called touchdown. It never appears that Tate has complete control of the ball. The NFL rule says that if two players from opposing teams catch the ball simultaneously, the ball goes to the offensive team. However, many argue, Tate never caught the ball, he simply wrestled it away on the way down. The league said offensive pass interference should have been called and killed the play, however they cannot overturn the official's call on the field. The controversial finish sparked an ongoing discussion about the ineptitude of the replacement officials. The distaste was obvious from the Packers afterwards.
"It was awful. Just look at the replay," said Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"I'm not walking it, don't ask me a question about the officials alright, so we'll just cut to the chase right there," said head coach Mike McCarthy.
Legendary Raiders' coach and former player Tom Flores could not believe the call. "How ridiculous, I thought it was atrocious," said Flores. "They can't fine me, and it's just getting worse."
The Monday night play set off a social media firestorm. Fans and players alike took to Twitter to lash out at the replacement officials. Politicians even got involved. Wisconsin state senator Jon Erpenbach went as far as posting Commissioner Roger Goodell's phone number on Twitter. The president also got involved, posting this on his account: "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon."
While Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan may disagree with many of President Obama's policies, he agrees on football. "Give me a break, it is time to get the real refs."
The NFL and NFL Referee's Association resumed talks on Tuesday, and Flores believes a deal is coming soon.
"This thing's got to be done and settled by a week from today I think," said Flores. "Through the weekend I think is too late, but you need to get it done. I mean it's unfortunate."
If a deal doesn't come sooner, and the poor decisions persist, Flores worries about the future of the game that means so much to him.
"The integrity of the game it bothers me, because I'm very proud of the game and what it's been and to love the game as much as I do," said Flores. "It's hurtful to watch this going on."
Copyright 2013 Gulf California Broadcasting. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.