Replacement Ref Rage Reaches Fever Pitch; NFL Upholds Controversial Call
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — And you thought the commotion over the replacement referees was bad last week?
Yeah, Week 2 was ugly. But this weekend saw another flurry of questionable calls and longer-than-usual games, lowlighted by normally stoic New England coach Bill Belichick running and grabbing at an official after the Patriots’ loss on Sunday.
But it was the controversial ending to Green Bay-Seattle during Monday Night Football that had players, analysts and fans steaming and screaming overnight into Tuesday.
“Let’s just call it the way it is: the NFL is a sham,” WFAN co-host Craig Carton seethed. “The NFL has now become the XFL. Where is Vince McMahon when you need him? Where’s Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan roaming the sideline of what used to be our favorite sport?”
Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate was awarded the game-winning touchdown on Monday night. Many thought the desperation Hail Mary was clearly intercepted by the Packers’ M.D. Jennings, but Tate muscled his arm around the ball, just enough to get a simultaneous catch call from the replacement refs. Replay officials upheld the call.
The NFL said in a statement that it supported “the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.”
The league and its locked-out officials met Tuesday for labor talks, according to The Associated Press.
“The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone,” the NFL said Tuesday. “Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. … The result of the game is final.”
Carton has seen enough.
“A sport you could trust. A sport you could count on,” said Carton. “You can no longer say those things about the NFL, because Roger Goodell and the owners have decided that you and I don’t count, you and I don’t matter. … They are allowing these replacement refs to absolutely ruin the integrity of the sport that we love so much, to change the outcome of games, and enough is enough!”
Carton’s co-host, Boomer Esiason, called Seattle’s 14-12 win from the radio booth and said the fill-in refs missed a “blatant offensive pass interference on Golden Tate.” The NFL said in its statement that a flag should have been thrown, but that cannot be reviewed via instant replay.
As for the pass? Esiason said it was “clearly Jennings’ ball.”
“Everybody who’s ever played the game knows that it’s Jennings’ ball,” said Esiason. “Everybody who’s ever refereed the game knows that it’s Jennings’ ball. But lo and behold some replacement referee goes in there and raises his hands touchdown.”
Giants safety Antrel Rolle agreed it was the wrong call and added that perhaps players have been “pushing the envelope a little bit,” daring the replacements to throw the flag.
“Even if it’s not intentional, I think (players) are definitely getting away with a lot more, I think, on both sides of the ball,” Rolle told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Tuesday.
Green Bay Packers players vented their frustrations after the game on Twitter — some 140-character rants laced with profanity. And they weren’t alone. The overwhelming online sentiment from fans, analysts and current and former players was that the replacement officials got this one wrong.
Even President Barack Obama weighed in.
“NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon,” Obama tweeted.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone gets reaction from the fans
Meanwhile, with the regular officials still locked out, Carton called Goodell “the single worst commissioner in the history of the NFL.”
“He is now presiding over … an absolute travesty,” said Carton. “He’s allowing it to happen and is doing nothing to fix it. We are living in bad times, my friends. The NFL is not what we thought it was, and there’s nobody to blame but the owners and the commissioner that represents them.
“And last night’s game was another example that you cannot watch an NFL game the way you used to. It’s a joke.”
Packers G T.J. Lang: “Got f—ed by the refs.. Embarrassing. Thanks nfl.”; “F— it, Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.”; “Any player/coach in Seattle that really thinks they won that game has zero integrity as a man and should be embarrassed.”
Packers DE Johnny Jolly: “Who’s next to get f—–d by the foot locker refs.”
Packers LB Desmond Bishop: “BREAKING -JaMarcus Russell eyeing return to NFL after discovering games can be won by throwing interceptions.”
Packers G Josh Sitton: “The nfl needs to come to gb and apologize to us for f—ing us! These refs r bums!”; “Golden tate is full of s— too. Saying he clearly caught that is embarrassing! F—ing jokers!”
LeBron James: “I simply just LOVE the NFL to much to see these mistakes. I’m sick like I just played for the Packers.”
Dirk Nowitzki: “Not gonna watch another nfl game until real refs r back. What a farce.”
Troy Aikman: “These games are a joke.”
Reggie Bush: “These refs gotta go I’m sorry.”
Samuel L. Jackson: “These refs are in Over their heads!!! OBVIOUSLY!!!”
At what point will the replacement referees force you to turn the channel? Be heard in the comments below…