Why the NFL Had No Choice but to Back Horrible Call Made by Replacement Refs

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent ISeptember 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the media during a news conference ahead of Superbowl XLVI on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NFL just released its statement regarding the Monday Night Football controversy between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

Per the NFL's official website:

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.

Note: Video courtesy of NFL.com.

Should we have expected anything different?

Of course the NFL was going to back its replacement officials.

The league didn't have a choice but to support the decision because this is all about leverage against the real referees union.

Had the NFL come out and changed the ruling on the field in that statement, every competitive advantage regarding negotiations would be lost. And unsurprisingly, this entire atrocity that has occurred since the preseason can be boiled down to one thing: money.

Money is power, unfortunately, and when it comes to the discrepancy between the NFL and its locked-out officials, leverage is the only thing capable of trumping cash. With regards to the travesty of penalties called on Monday night, the real refs did gain some leverage.

The downside is that this lockout still doesn't appear to be ending soon. According to Judy Battista of the New York Times:

After a weekend of negotiations between the N.F.L. — including Commissioner Roger Goodell — and its locked-out game officials, significant economic and noneconomic differences remain between the sides, according to a memo sent to the teams by Jeff Pash, the league’s general counsel and lead negotiator.

So, it seems that we're going to be stuck in this frustrating situation for a while.

To that end, we might as well forget about the NFL's concerns regarding fans, player safety and the game's future.

Everything that the league has preached since Goodell became commissioner is virtually non-existent right now. Yes, these replacement referees are officiating to their best abilities. And we have no choice but to commend them for that.

However, if the NFL were to change the ruling then that's the league admitting it was wrong.

Sure, the NFL did recognize the offensive pass interference that wasn't called: Too bad that aspect of the controversy cannot be reviewed. So pride, if anything, is the kernel of truth here as it takes a lot to own up and acknowledge being wrong. 

This is just the way life works, because it's impossible to be perfect.

And no one person or entity is exempt from this. Pro football simply can't afford to become this transparent, however. Doing so would cost the NFL a crucial amount of leverage that it desperately needs to get what it wants from the real officials.


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