A national debacle occurred last night on Monday Night Football, when the Seattle Seahawks came away with a last second win with a Hail Mary throw to defeat the Green Bay Packers in one of the worst calls in NFL history.
On the last play of the game, with the Seahawks trailing 12-7, quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a last second desperation pass towards the end zone.
Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings caught the ball and seemed to secure possession, clinging the ball to his chest, but Seahawks receiver Golden Tate managed to get his hands around the ball as well.
One replacement referee raised his arms to signal touchdown, while another official waved his arms signaling a touchback, indicating an interception.
After a booth review, the initial call on the field was upheld… SEAHAWKS TOUCHDOWN!
ESPN play-by-play commentator and MNF host Mike Tirico said:
“This is the most bizarre sequence you’ll ever see at the end of the game.”
His MNF partner and former Super Bowl winning coach John Gruden was disgusted by the last second call and said it left a bad taste in his mouth.
No doubt the replacement referees have been raked through the coals, but this latest call has directly affected the outcome of a game and could possibly change the course of NFL when it comes to wins and losses.
This is the game that will define the NFL season as it pertains to the replacement refs. This is the biggest call they’ve fumbled during the 2012 season and it’s only Week 3.
So how did we get to this point?
The NFL Referees Association was locked out in early June and talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have gone nowhere. Late night meetings to get the real refs back to work have fallen through the cracks.
Here’s the skinny: the refs just want a little more money, but the owners will have to pay for it and they are not having it.
The average pay for NFL game officials last season was $149,000. Under the NFL’s last proposal, that would increase to more than $189,000 by 2018.
A regular game official in his first year in 2011 made an average of $78,000. Under the NFL’s last proposal, he would make more than $165,000 by the end of the new agreement.
Of course there are other stipulations that the refs and owners can’t go along with. For instance, many of the refs want to be paid throughout the year and not just during the season.
It’s an ongoing debate that will prove to muck up the rest of the NFL season unless both sides reach an agreement.
Here are a few other bad calls the replacement refs have made thus far.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey got knocked unconscious by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ryan Mundy on a clear helmet-to-helmet hit, which was not penalized by the replacement refs, but was an obvious foul.
Pass interference has been one of the biggest issues with the replacement refs, as they don’t seem to know when to call or throw a flag on the foul. Here Pittsburgh Steelers Cornerback Ike Taylor #24 was called for pass interference without touching the N.Y. Jets receiver Santonio Holmes.
Here we see a replacement ref throwing his hat right in the path of a Dallas Cowboys receiver, costing him the catch and a potential touchdown.
Refs are only allowed to throw their hats to indicate or mark a spot on the field when the ball is in play. Here we see the ref just being aloof and throwing his hat for no apparent reason.
Here we see Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate hitting Dallas Cowboys defensive player Sean Lee viciously without notice, while Bruce Carter gets called for a hit out of bounds. The refs completely missed the blatant hit and decided to call the penalty on another play, which had nothing to do with the original play.
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was given an unsportsmanlike penalty when he was just trying to call a timeout. The Ravens fans started to chant “Bullsh*t” after the call.