Has there been a more bizarre finish in the history of Monday Night Football?
Before we get to that, let us look at one statistic.
The Seattle Seahawks were penalized 14 times for 118 yards. Fourteen times. One hundred eighteen yards.
When your team is penalized a distance that is longer than a football field, you have a big problem. An honest fan recognizes that the Seahawks had a number of mental errors. The offensive line cannot commit false starts and get whistled for holding calls throughout the game.
However, there were also the much-discussed questionable calls from the replacement referees. In the end, a bad call may have changed the outcome of the game.
Leading up to that final play, the “pass interference” call against Kam Chancellor midway through the fourth quarter was absolutely dreadful. If that is not called, the Green Bay drive ends and perhaps the final play does not even happen. Instead, the Packers get to keep going and they drive down the field and score a touchdown.
You also suspect the replay official that made a determination on Aaron Rodgers’ first-down run near the goal line was looking at the computer-generated yellow line. What if Green Bay had settled for a field goal? Obviously, you can imagine different scenarios all day, but the point is that it is not just about one call.
To be fair, the roughing-the-pass call on the Packers in the fourth quarter was pretty weak. Russell Wilson did get hit, but I have a feeling that the regular referees would have allowed that one to slide.
Should the final play have been ruled a touchdown or an interception?
In addition, the pass interference call against Sam Shields of the Packers was also a questionable call. Sidney Rice probably should have been flagged for offensive pass interference. I think Jon Gruden said it best when, in reference to some of the calls, he said, “I just don’t see these.”
When will the real referees return?
Here is the problem. The announcers of Monday Night Football talked about how the owners need to step in. However, if your team is winning games, why would you complain? Sure, there have been some bad calls but are they benefiting any one particular team? After this game, you might hear some louder cries.
Of course, you have to look at the last play of the game. As a fan, I am happy to see the Seahawks win. However, do I believe that Seattle actually came down with that touchdown? Should Green Bay have been credited with an interception?
There seems to be some video evidence that Seattle got a fairly significant break. I have a feeling that this may become the poster play for getting the regular referees back.
Ultimately, you could argue that the referees impacted the outcome of this game. Still, is it about the last play or the entire performance that led to that chaotic finish? Would the regular officials have made a different call or reversed the decision on the field? We will never know.
Despite the drama surrounding the last play, there is the overall performance of the team. If you are the Seahawks, you cannot put yourself in a position where a poor call or two determine a win or a loss.
Can you remember a stranger finish?
Do you think this fateful clip is going to be replayed a few times over the next few days?