NFL Releases Statement on Controversial Game-Ending Call in Packers vs. Seahawks

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2012

The NFL released a statement on Tuesday following the controversial game-ending call made by replacement referees in Monday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.


UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 3:36 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

Aaron Rodgers has seen the NFL's statement, which tries to put reason to the Monday night debacle, and he is not buying.

Rodgers has a weekly radio show on ESPN Milwaukee. And luckily for us all, this show is on Tuesdays.

CBS Sports' Josh Katzowitz passed along this reaction to the statement from Rodgers.  "That's garbage, obviously. They're covering their butt here."

Katzowitz went on to note that, "Rodgers also said he was apologizing to the fans because the NFL wouldn't and that the league cares more about money than about its integrity."

This condemnation of the league goes quite a bit further than what he had to say in the postgame press conference. It will be interesting to see if the league hands out any fines. 

They would be wise to just let this one slide and hope people stop talking about it. 

---End of update---


Here's the statement from the league (via

While the ball is in the air, (Golden) Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.

Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. 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.

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 NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.

All hope that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would overturn last night's result and give the win to the Packers was lost as well. It can't happen according to league spokesman Greg Aiello via's Marc Sessler:

Goodell does not have authority to change the outcome of a game when it concerns judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials.

If you missed any of the drama on Monday night at CenturyLink Field, here's what happened. 

Trailing 12-7 on the final play of the game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaves a pass into the corner of the end zone. Then all hell breaks loose. 

First off, how can anyone in charge of making calls in a football game miss Golden Tate's blatant offensive pass interference before the catch?

After the missed push-off, it looks obvious that Packers safety M.D. Jennings secures the ball first and brings it to his body. The official closest to the play looks to be signaling a touchback when all of a sudden, another referee runs up from nowhere near the play to call a definitive touchdown.

Seahawks win 14-12. Seattle moves to 2-1, and Green Bay falls to 1-2 on the irresponsible call.

Afterwards, of course, the Packers made their frustration known. Green Bay's players left the field after the call was made, and it was then somehow upheld on replay. They were classy enough to send some players back on the field for the meaningless extra point.

Once it was over, some Packers went to Twitter to rip the NFL and the replacement refs, while head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers had few words to describe the game-changing call in their postgame press conferences.

Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings was sarcastic but truthful in his assessment of the replacement referee's decision.

Most anyone who witnessed the series of events before the end of Monday night's game realized right away that something was wrong, and that for the first time in three weeks the NFL's arrogance and stubbornness to keep the real officials locked out had finally cost a team a game.

Perhaps the NFL's statement is the first step in helping the league recover from the black eye it gave itself on Monday night in Seattle. But unless the NFL is going to reverse the call and give the Packers the win they earned, this will stand for a long time as one of the worst injustices in the history of the game.


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