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Ear to the Ground

NFL Replacement Ref Outrage Grows After Botched Call Leads to Seahawks Win

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Posted on Sep 25, 2012

The Seattle Seahawks should send the NFL replacement referees officiating Monday night’s game a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates for the disputed call that gave the team a 14-12 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

In case you missed it, here’s video of the play in question:

On Tuesday, with the Internet all abuzz with outrage from the previous night’s game, the league released a statement admitting the officiating error but said the touchdown by Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate would stand.

USA Today:

In the statement, the NFL says the officials ruled on the field it was a touchdown and not an interception by Packers safety M.D.Jennings, though as anyone who watched the play knows by now, that was one of two rulings on the play. The other one was an interception. No conference between the officials was held to get a consensus final ruling announced by referee Wayne Elliot.

The statement admits the ruling of a catch should have been nullified because of the pass interference penalty that was missed when Tate shoved Packers defensive back Sam Shields in the back before leaping.

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This is the third week the league has been without its regular refs, who are embroiled in a labor dispute with the league. Following the botched call, the NFL addressed where it was in its negotiations with the league’s regular officials.

“There is broad agreement that the quality and consistency of officiating can and should be improved. How to accomplish that is a critical issue separating the two sides in this negotiation,” the NFL said in a statement. “While the officials’ union would like to turn this into purely an economic dispute, we have told the union and the federal mediator that we are prepared to make reasonable economic compromises and that we will invest more money in officiating as long as it assures long term improvement.”

Still, it’s not just the sports world that is weighing in on the replacement officials; the controversy surrounding the Packers-Seahawks game has also made its way into the political arena.

President Obama tweeted on Tuesday:

On this matter, union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker actually agrees with the president and wants the union refs back. Walker tweeted:

Meanwhile, Republican vice presidential candidate and Wisconsinite Paul Ryan used the occasion to once again slam the president, comparing Obama to the replacement refs that blew the call.

ABC News:

Ryan, who hails from Janesville, Wisc.,  made clear in Ohio today that he was unhappy with the controversial call as a Packers fan. But he went further, using the refs in a riff on the Obama White House that deviated from his traditional stump speech.

“I’m going to start off with something that was really troubling that occurred last night. Did you guys watch that Packer game last night? I mean give me a break!” Ryan complained. “It is time to get the real refs.”

Ryan then drew a parallel between NFL’s struggle with replacement referees and President Obama’s economic job performance during his term in the White House.

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—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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