25

September

Packers-Seahawks: Replacement refs take NFL to all-time low

"Touchback," signals one. "Touchdown," signals the other. Apparently.

“Touchback,” signals one. “Touchdown,” signals the other. Apparently.

There’s nothing funny about it. The NFL’s replacement officials have officially cost a team a win that they rightfully earned.

“It was awful. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Aaron Rodgers was dumbfounded following the Packers’ 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night football. While the Packers quarterback and head coach were able to keep their composure at the postgame press conference, fellow NFL players and fans of the sport reacted differently.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King called the game “one of the great disgraces in NFL history.”

The play in question was, of course, the last play of the game. As Seattle faced a fourth-and-ten on the Packers’ 24 yard-line, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson kept the play alive with his legs and fired the ball towards the endzone.

Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pushed Packers cornerback Sam Shields to the ground, but the ball hit safety M.D. Jennings right between the numbers. Jennings cradled the ball to his chest, while Tate tried to wrestle the ball from him.

But nonetheless, two officials walked over towards Jennings and Tate, who are wrestling for possession of the ball. One official waves his arms, suggesting the pass was intercepted and the game was over. The other official, who ignored Tate’s “Shields shove,” rushes to the scrum and signals “Touchdown.”

The play was reviewed, and the call stood as called. Touchdown.

Seahawks win.

The pass was clearly intercepted by Jennings. At one point during the fight for possession, Tate’s right arm is completely off the ball while Jennings maintains possession throughout. In reality, Tate had more possession of Jennings than he did of the, you know, football.

The NFL rule book states the procedure in which a simultaneous catch should be handled, “If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control.”

The latter part of the rule clearly suggests that Jennings should have been granted the interception. He gains control, before Tate fights for possession. So, there you have it. By NFL rules, Jennings intercepted the pass, and the Packers won the game.