Nothing Like A Bad Call To Speed Up NFL Referee Negotiations

The missed call in Monday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers was a big deal.

Was the Seahawks being gifted a 14-12 victory against the Packers one of those, “I’ll never forget where I was” type of moments? Probably not. But it’s a big story regardless, with quite a few layers to it.

I won’t go into great detail since most of you have probably watched the play at least 1,500 times on ESPN or NFL Network over the last couple of days.

Seahawks were down 5. Final play from scrimmage. Russell Wilson tosses lob into end zone. Seahawks receiver Golden Tate battles a few Green Bay Packers defenders for the ball. Refs rule simultaneous possession, giving Tate a game-winning TD.

Was the catch really simultaneous? Should the call have been overturned by the replacement refs? Was it understandable that pass interference wasn’t called on Tate?

But the most important question: Would it have played out any differently if the NFL’s regular officials weren’t locked out?

In this Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, file photo, an official, rear center, signals for a touchdown by Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate, obscured, as another official, at right, signals a touchback, on the controversial last play of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle. The Seahawks won 14-12. The NFL referee strike puts the spotlight on a nebulous notion that is often overlooked when it works as it’s supposed to: the question of expertise. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

One things is for sure. The wide gap that once existed between the league and its referees during this labor dispute has shrunk dramatically. Many outlets are reporting that the NFL’s regular officials will be back on duty as early as Thursday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

The debate over this call took place at my workplace, and I imagine the same scenario played out at other job sites across the country.

Despite what the NFL’s letter in defense of the replacement refs said on Tuesday, I just don’t see how – after replay – that the refs could continue to stand by that catch as a simultaneous one, which by rule the tiebreaker goes to the offense.

Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings established possession for an interception early, and there was very little if any time after that in which Tate was able to get both arms on the ball until the two players hit the ground. But that’s my two cents, and everyone seems to have their own take on it.

I don’t think the regular refs would have noticed the pass interference by Tate. Hail Mary plays are chaotic, and in real time it’s a little more understandable that call being overlooked.

Would the regular refs have overturned the simultaneous possession portion of the play? The NFL says no, but I’m not so sure.

The NFL has been piled on over the lockout ever since Monday’s infamous play in a manner that isn’t much different from the pile of players that created it.

But I can understand the NFL’s stance too. Its officials get paid a lot of money, and while the NFL makes a lot of money, should part-time officials really receive the type of benefits (pensions, etc.) that the average full-time employee might struggle to receive? Again, I don’t have the answer to that, but it’s certainly something I go back and forth on.

It’s a great job at the NFL level if you can get it. Actually, after Monday’s turn of events, maybe it’s not.

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