Just when I was starting to think the discontent with the current referees couldn't get much worse throughout the league, the Seahawks' Monday Night Football game against the Packers made things much worse.
The Seahawks had the ball at the 25-yard line with four chances to put the ball into the end zone. Unlike what happened in Arizona, the Seahawks got the job done. Kind of.
On the final play of the game, with eight seconds left on the clock, quarterback Russell Wilson bought himself all kinds of time before hurling the ball toward the northwest corner of the end zone. Golden Tate, who caught the team's only other touchdown, looked to have come down with the football for the game-winning score. It was a catch that officials said was shared with a Packers defender, and tie goes to the offense.
It was a circus on the field following the play. After the officials put their arms up, players and media members took to the field as if the game were over, even as coach Pete Carroll motioned for his team to line up for the extra point, which was unnecessary considering the team now led 13-12.
The officials went under the hood and confirmed what they had called initially. It was a catch with dual possession and the Seahawks had won. Fans and CenturyLink field went crazy. Packers fans were in disbelief.
While the calls by the officials will be the focus of national media attention on Tuesday, lost in that discussion will be the outstanding play of the Seahawks defense. Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin and the rest of the defense combined for eight sacks on Aaron Rodgers—in the first half.
They didn't get to him in the second half, but kept the Packers' running game in check throughout the game and came up with big stops to hold Green Bay to two field goals and a touchdown. The second-half performance was enough to give Wilson and the offense one last opportunity with just over a minute to play.
Wilson didn't have a great performance against the Packers, but he didn't need one. As Wilson said in the postgame press conference, he didn't need a great performance with a great running back like Marshawn Lynch. Lynch got tough yardage on the ground all game long, giving Wilson time to make passes when he needed. Wilson took only one sack the entire game.
Following the game, Packers players took to Twitter to call out the officials. A Wisconsin politician went as far as to post Roger Goodell's office phone number on Twitter to give fans an avenue to complain (as if people participating in social media need additional avenues to voice complaints). For some reason, the Packers' offensive line, the same guys who gave up eight first-half sacks, seemed to be the most vocal about their displeasure with the officiating.
The situation with the replacement officials just got a whole lot more messy, and seeing the reaction of Commissioner Roger Goodell to the Packers' act following the game, especially in regard to Matthews, will be interesting to say the least. Expect a strong reaction, because if this level of animosity continues, the situation with the referees will only continue to get worse.
Some fans are even going as far to call for Goodell to reverse the win by the Seahawks and give it to the Packers. Not likely. To do that would give a huge advantage to referees negotiating for a new contract.
While the officials are a big part of the game, they're not who the fans are showing up on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays to see. This is the reality, and this time Seahawks fans were fortunate to come out on the winning end.
Brandan Schulze is a Navy veteran and member of the Military Sea Hawkers, the military chapter of the official booster club for the Seattle Seahawks. For more information on the chapter, visit www.militaryseahawkers.com. Membership is free for all military service members and veterans.
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