Seahawks “Beat” Packers on Worst Call Ever
I’m not trying to pump more air into this than there really is. This isn’t hype. I’m not bringing music, extra noise, or coming in on fumes. The NFL as we knew it died on Monday night, as the Seattle Seahawks “beat” the Green Bay Packers, 14-12.
What was actually a pretty darn good game between the Packers and Seahawks was inevitably decided by the league’s replacement officials. Not a little bit. Not kind of. Not arguably. Literally decided by the officials.
Not only were there several bad calls, some horrible calls, some ticky-tack calls and some non-calls. But the worst call I have arguably ever witnessed came on the game’s final play, and decided the night’s winner.
In an age where social media reigns supreme, Twitter and Facebook and the rest of the web for the most part had it right. The fix was in. The refs blew it. Pay that ref his gambling money. The Packers got screwed. And on and on.
The Monday night analysts weren’t shy about it. Neither were the post-game guys or anyone else with common sense. The Packers got hosed, and NFL fans got robbed. Seattle got a heroic rookie quarterback, an unbelievable ending against a formidable opponent, and the national spotlight in ways they could never imagine. But it was all a joke.
A sad, pathetic joke.
In case you were under a rock and missed the biggest play of 2012, the call in question was a last second hail mary from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, that fell into M.D. Jennings hands, and was intercepted. But instead of being ruled as an interception as it should have been, two refs approached the play and offered different rulings. One signaled for a touchback, while the other signaled touchdown.
One was absolutely right, and the other was absolutely wrong. Jennings had full possession of the football. He had it pinned against his chest. He fell to the ground, fought Golden Tate off, while his body was on the ground and his feet actually slid out the back of the end-zone. Not only had Jennings picked off the pass and had full possession, but he was actually down with the ball, and should have also ended the play by having part of his body out of bounds.
Instead, the refs allowed the “play” to continue, as Tate tried to keep on hand on the ball throughout the struggle, even though at one point his hand actually was removed completely from the ball. But the beauty was that the first time Tate actually had possession of the ball in any form in relation to NFL rules was after Jennings got up, and well after the play had been ruled an offensive touchdown.
Straight out of the NFL’s rule book:
“If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both 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”.
This wasn’t a simultaneous catch. Jennings had both hands on it, against his chest, and went to the ground. Tate never had both hands on it or against his chest. In fact, at one point he wasn’t even touching it. The play should have been blown dead. Interception. Touchback. Whatever. Packers win, and the replacement officials live to mildly screw up another week of pro football.
But it gets even better. Even though it was an interception and the conversation ends there, this play should have never even happened. Not only did Tate never have possession for a true touchdown, but before he ever went for the ball, he blatantly shoved a Green Bay defender away from the play. He placed both of his hands on his back, and pushed him to the ground. Then he made a play on the ball, and somehow came away with a score.
This was a sickening display of just how bad it has gotten for the league with the replacement officials. I know the smart ones out there don’t need me or anyone else to break it down for them. They know a touchdown from a turnover. Or a catch from an interception. But maybe I broke it down in written form so I can hold onto my own sanity until the work day restarts on Tuesday.
This tweet pic by Rachel Nichols really says it all.