FanDuel - WFBC

September 25, 2012

Seattle Wins on What-the-Hell Mary: Snatching victory from the solid grip of defeat, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 with a last-play Hail Mary touchdown pass that looked to most of the world like an interception. As safety M.D. Jennings brought a Russell Wilson pass down to his chest, wide receiver Golden Tate got one arm and then both on the ball. One replacement ref called it a touchdown and another an interception. It was ruled a touchdown on the field and was not overturned in the replay booth.

posted by rcade to football at 09:15 AM - 109 comments

Wow.

That is a TERRIBLE call by the refs at the end of the Packers/Seahawks game.

Good luck, NFL, trying to explain how the replacement refs don't affect the outcome of the games.

I especially liked how they didn't call the most blatant offensive pass interference I've seen in football. The receiver literally (and I mean literally) shoved the defender to the ground as the ball was coming in.

posted by grum@work at 11:49 PM on September 24

Hilarious ending to the MNF game. Well, at least the replacement refs have not directly affected the outcome of a game.

posted by holden at 11:50 PM on September 24

And it's time for open revolt in the MNF booth against the call.

Oh, NFL. You are so fucked.

posted by grum@work at 11:52 PM on September 24

I actually feel kind of bad for the scab refs. They are just so completely out of their depth.

posted by holden at 11:53 PM on September 24

Monday Night F*ckwits.

posted by etagloh at 11:53 PM on September 24

Un-fucking-believable. That Packers/Seahawks game was fucking bullshit.

posted by evixir at 11:59 PM on September 24

What's the over/under for number of days before the NFL caves and the lockout is over? 7.5?

posted by grum@work at 12:02 AM on September 25

You know it's a bad call when the guy who coached the Raiders in the tuck rule game says it's the worst end of game call he's ever seen.

posted by feloniousmonk at 12:03 AM on September 25

It's over.

Open revolt by players and media on Twitter over the SEA/GB game ending call. The league should be able to make up enough money from the fines they'll be handing out to pay whatever the refs want.

I'm modifying my over/under to the new deal to 3.5 days.

posted by grum@work at 12:21 AM on September 25

I thought that happened.

One ref signalled no touchdown, the other signalled touchdown.

posted by grum@work at 12:30 AM on September 25

! ! ! T O U C H D O W N ! ! ! T O U C H D O W N ! ! ! T O U C H D O W N ! ! !

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:38 AM on September 25

Haha! Never mind. Mr. Bismark beat me to it.

posted by grum@work at 12:39 AM on September 25

Here's that winning touchdown...

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:53 AM on September 25

posted by phaedon at 12:55 AM on September 25

The league should be able to make up enough money from the fines they'll be handing out to pay whatever the refs want.

I was kidding about this, but I guess reality is stranger than fiction.

posted by grum@work at 01:49 AM on September 25

You know, watching it live, I think it was a bad call, and at minimum the replay refs should have required a review (within the two-minute warning, they're the only ones who can). However, from Mr. Bismarck's images, I can see where the refs would have thought it was a mutual catch- and thus credit goes to the passing team. And it looks like the ref with the best view called it a touchback while the other thought he was signalling touchdown and threw his hands up as well... which... what?

But regardless- it still should have been reviewed, guys!!! It's the last play of the game, you've nothing to lose to just double check- with a close enough play like that, why not review it as a default?!?

Like holden, I feel bad for the replacement refs: they're being asked to shoulder a heavy burden where normally they'd each get a chance to phase into the league by working in a crew with much more experienced refs. Let's be honest, they're making most calls fine, but usually on the questionable ones the refs will meet and make the right call, with years of experience to guide them; here, they don't have that, or don't think to confer, and you get 'rookie' mistakes like misplaced yardage (I wasn't watching that Titans game, but with stuff like that, how does the NFL not even have someone watching the broadcast on TV and able to talk to the refs in real-time "Hey, dude, you fucked up the football placement"? How were the TV crew and the opposing team not going apeshit about the placement?).

All this just to save what, the cost of a couple of players on one team, that the league somehow can't pony up? The NFL looks like a joke with this.

On preview: yeah, grum, the fines just from pissed off players will probably make up the difference, and if they just pre-emptively fined every player and coach in the league $5,000 each- a pittance for these guys- they'd have the money they needed, no?

posted by hincandenza at 01:50 AM on September 25

Okay, here is the full out revolt I was predicting.

It looks like the Packers team will pay for the original refs on their own...

posted by grum@work at 01:56 AM on September 25

You know, if they don't get the real refs back, we fans should really consider a one day boycott. Money seems to be the only thing they listen to and as long as we're watching, they're making it. Indeed, the owners are arguably the only ones not suffering.

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:28 AM on September 25

Someone could always go to change.org and start a petition to bring back the real refs if there hasn't been one started already.

Here's a petition about the blackout rule.

posted by beaverboard at 07:39 AM on September 25

You know, if they don't get the real refs back, we fans should really consider a one day boycott. Money seems to be the only thing they listen to and as long as we're watching, they're making it. Indeed, the owners are arguably the only ones not suffering.

Starting in 2014, the league will be making more than $4.4BILLION a year in TV contracts.

As well, there isn't much in walk-up ticket sales as part of the overall revenue.

It wouldn't make much of a dent in their wallets.

posted by grum@work at 08:22 AM on September 25

et's be honest, they're making most calls fine, but usually on the questionable ones the refs will meet and make the right call, with years of experience to guide them; here, they don't have that, or don't think to confer, and you get 'rookie' mistakes like misplaced yardage (I wasn't watching that Titans game, but with stuff like that, how does the NFL not even have someone watching the broadcast on TV and able to talk to the refs in real-time "Hey, dude, you fucked up the football placement"? How were the TV crew and the opposing team not going apeshit about the placement?).

A rookie mistake is placing a ball a couple yards one way or another and occasionally causing a first down in the process. Missing it by 12 yards is pure incompetence, as have been a number of the calls made. Last night's phantom TD catch where a clear push and a pretty clear interception occurred was another one that suggests that these folks don't even understand the rules, let alone have the experience to enforce them.

As a Pats fan, I'm not particularly jazzed up about the field goal to win, because let's face it, that was a 50/50 call no matter what crew you put out there. What does jazz me up is the phantom calls all night on both teams and the stuff they let go. Matt Schaub lost part of an ear on a foul that didn't get called. Someone is going to get seriously hurt if the proper rules are not enforced and games are being decided by the referees which is hurting the game and my ability to watch it.

posted by dfleming at 08:27 AM on September 25

It wouldn't make much of a dent in their wallets.

But it's the principle of the thing! You give Bob Cratchit a break and suddenly every clerk wants a Christmas!

Phantom calls, nothing. These owners need spectral visions dragging them out of bed on sightseeing tours of their miser's harvest instead.

Yeah, I know, it ain't even October yet. 'Tis the season, NFL.

posted by Hugh Janus at 08:42 AM on September 25

"But regardless- it still should have been reviewed, guys!!! It's the last play of the game, you've nothing to lose to just double check- with a close enough play like that, why not review it as a default?!?"

It was reviewed and the call on the field was upheld.

I believe that once the Refs called touchdown, the only thing that the booth is reviewing is whether "the catch" was made, not who made it.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:31 AM on September 25

Former NFL referee Gerry Austin said a simultaneous possession call is not reviewable. So once touchdown ref overruled interception ref, that was the whole ballgame.

Here's the Packers radio call and Seahawks radio call.

I don't understand why more hail marys are not tipped out of the back of the endzone. That seems easier to me than pulling the ball down into a scrum.

posted by rcade at 09:33 AM on September 25

That call has a huge impact on the NFC playoff seedings if Green Bay and Seattle are in the mix as expected.

I don't understand why more hail marys are not tipped out of the back of the endzone.

The Packers' db is certain to get his arse chewed in practice this week. Fundamentally he's been taught to knock the ball wherever possible and not catch it in that situation. It was a selfish play. If he makes the right play there's no possibility of the officials deciding the outcome.

posted by cixelsyd at 09:36 AM on September 25

So once touchdown ref overruled interception ref, that was the whole ballgame.

Actually once the clown with the white hat didn't huddle up with the clowns with the black hats and make his judgement call one second after the play ended, that was the whole ballgame.

posted by smithnyiu at 09:43 AM on September 25

On "the most blatant offensive pass interference ever", the 1975 Vikings would like a word with you about that.

posted by TheQatarian at 09:51 AM on September 25

These replacement refs aren't clowns. They're doing as good a job as anyone could expect of an official from Division II, Division III, high school or Lingerie Football League suddenly thrown into the impossibly fast and complex NFL game.

This debacle rests entirely on Roger Goodell and the owners.

posted by rcade at 09:57 AM on September 25

The Packers' db is certain to get his arse chewed in practice this week.

Agreed. I only played to JV level and as a DB, I was told never to come down with the ball on a hail mary. Even if, for some reason, you cleanly pick the ball off, you run the risk of fumbling it post-catch and the field position even in a touchback is worse than where you get it on a turnover on downs (if it's 4th down and time is still on the clock.) There's no reason, other than pride, to come down with a ball unless it's forced on you by circumstance.

If he had've batted it forward, backwards, or sideways, that would've been an incomplete pass.

posted by dfleming at 10:01 AM on September 25

I thought that happened.

One ref signalled no touchdown, the other signalled touchdown.

Actually, ref #84 is not signalling incomplete, he was waving his hands above his head to signal the end of the play. You can see it in the Packers call that rcade linked above.

posted by bender at 10:06 AM on September 25

"There's no reason, other than pride, to come down with a ball unless it's forced on you by circumstance."

Or a line in your contract that gives you a bonus for interceptions.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:10 AM on September 25

Sometimes, batting the ball down does not lead to the best outcomes.

Slightly less comical, but see this play from this week as well.

posted by holden at 10:20 AM on September 25

Or a line in your contract that gives you a bonus for interceptions.

Or that there are a bunch of players from the other team right near you who practiced the tip drill every day of their life for a few years. I think in a scrum like that trying to pick the ball off isn't a sin.

posted by yerfatma at 10:24 AM on September 25

Batting it into the field of play is risky. But it seems like hitting it out of play is possible on many of those passes.

Looking at the GIF above, it seems like Jennings might have lacked an opportunity to bat it away. The ball reached his hands as it reached a bunch of others.

posted by rcade at 10:26 AM on September 25

it seems like Jennings might have lacked an opportunity to bat it away

Hard to say. What is clear is that his intent was to catch the ball ... his focus was not on preventing his opponent access to the ball as it should have been. Defensive fundamentals every player learns prior to high school level football.

/thread hijack .. A shout for Russell Wilson who is quietly (thanks to other distractions) making a name for himself. Considered both too short and physically small to be a NFL QB he has been steady for the Seahawks.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:02 AM on September 25

From the linked thread of Packers tweets, Tom Crabtree says:

Imagine you make a painting. It isn't perfect by others' standards, but it's your painting. You are proud. Then someone takes a shit on it.

posted by fabulon7 at 11:17 AM on September 25

ESPN's got wayyyy too many ex-players and ex-coaches commentating on the "integrity" of the "shield." How long has the coach's challenge been around - ten years? 10 years ago, McCarthy wouldn't have been able to challenge the spot of the ball and Green Bay arguably wouldn't have scored that touchdown.

Watching Trent Dilfer and Steve Young squint into the camera and try to describe the significance of this bad call on the game was a fucking joke. And Jon Gruden, God how butt-hurt was he. Get over yourself, loser.

I thought the game was entertaining as shit. Horrible reffing is a great element. Watching Jennings get popped at the end of his route and wrestle a Seahawk wide-receiver in the end zone? I'm fucking tuning into that, my friends.

posted by phaedon at 11:19 AM on September 25

Irrelevant but humorous side note question: Did any of you have any bets placed on that game?

posted by NerfballPro at 11:28 AM on September 25

Batting it into the field of play is risky. But it seems like hitting it out of play is possible on many of those passes.

Seems like it would be easier to just catch it or knock it down. I don't think there's any one correct answer for all plays. I would trust my players to make a judgment call on how to best defend the pass.

posted by tron7 at 11:45 AM on September 25

These replacement refs aren't clowns.

I have to respectfully disagree.

I am a pilot but not checked out in an F-16. Should I try to fly one because someone asked me to replace someone that refuses to fly?

posted by smithnyiu at 12:01 PM on September 25

Should I try to fly one because someone asked me to replace someone that refuses to fly?

Well, according to NFL logic, the answer is "yes" if the owner of the F-16 stands to lose a shit ton of money if you don't. Godspeed, sir.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:12 PM on September 25

I am a pilot but not checked out in an F-16. Should I try to fly one because someone asked me to replace someone that refuses to fly?

If you were a Division III referee, would you turn down a chance to officiate an NFL game? These people are the best replacements available to the league. Division I officials weren't allowed to do it.

posted by rcade at 12:16 PM on September 25

If you watch the reply from a head on angle, Tate clearly gets his left arm between the ball and the defensive players chest. When the ball comes in and the defensive player wraps his arms around the ball AND Tate's left arm, was that enough for the officials to say Tate caught the ball. Having his right arm wrapped around the ball didn't hurt either.

posted by dbt302 at 12:29 PM on September 25

I am a pilot but not checked out in an F-16. Should I try to fly one because someone asked me to replace someone that refuses to fly?

You should totally do this.

posted by tron7 at 12:37 PM on September 25

I thought the game was entertaining as shit. Horrible reffing is a great element.

There are a bunch of people saying this over at Deadspin. I don't get it. It first requires you don't have a rooting interest. Even then I find it hard to imagine enjoying the Pats/ Ravens game (I didn't see much of last night's) as it stopped every other play for a penalty. You enjoy that? The line for accepted penalties was like a decent QB: 24/ 200 yards or so. Why not play Strat-o-matic in that case?

Further, it ruins the "integrity of the game" in a different way from what commentators are talking about: it breaks continuity with the history of the sport. If you can't compare teams, players and results across years, a sport isn't really a sport. How would you feel if a team went 16-0 this year due to multiple incidents like last night's?

posted by yerfatma at 12:37 PM on September 25

Having his right arm wrapped around the ball didn't hurt either.

Look at the freeze frame. His right arm was over Jennings' right arm, which hurts his case considerably.

The only argument I can think of for Tate is that he caught the ball on the way down before he and Jennings hit the ground. Two hands on the ball with Jennings, both feet down, touchdown. But that theory relies on magic happening in that scrum the cameras don't show.

posted by rcade at 12:43 PM on September 25

You enjoy that?

Most horrible officiating is horrible to watch, but that ending was spectacular. People will remember it for years for all the wrong reasons.

posted by rcade at 12:44 PM on September 25

It's probably enjoyable until your team is the one that loses because of it.

posted by drezdn at 12:52 PM on September 25

Further, it ruins the "integrity of the game" in a different way from what commentators are talking about: it breaks continuity with the history of the sport.

This is a totally made-up problem. New rules that affect hitting the quarterback and hitting defenseless wide receivers also ruins the continuity of the sport. Today's quarterbacks are racking massive stats as a result of it. I can't imagine you complaining about those rule changes.

Second of all, I put a lot of money on the Seahawks Monday morning, I totally called this one. So I'm happier than a pig in shit.

Thirdly, the problematic refs have re-introduced a certain grittiness to the NFL. What can you get away with is the name of the game. I absolutely love it. Combine that with the ability to review and challenge calls and you have this game right now that is really up and down. Crowds cheering and then booing. It's totally nuts. Can you imagine these refs in the playoffs? People will be freaking the fuck out. I'm really curious to see how players respond. Add to the mix Goodell's seemingly unilateral ability to punish players for hits, etc. and I'm really curious to see where the NFL draws the line in what is appropriate and inappropriate.

posted by phaedon at 12:59 PM on September 25

It's probably enjoyable until your team is the one that loses because of it.

Watching Tennessee run the "Music City Miracle" play this weekend sure brought up some fun memories for this Bills fan.

And by fun, I mean angry.

And by angry, I mean FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

posted by grum@work at 12:59 PM on September 25

I can't imagine you complaining about those rule changes.

Those are rule changes.

These are mistakes.

People can get over changes, but they can't abide mistakes.

posted by grum@work at 01:00 PM on September 25

So what? Mistakes are part of the game. If this game took place in 1998, Green Bay would not have been able to challenge the spot of the ball on the Seahawks 1 yard-line. I don't know what to say. Obviously I agree with you that this is a step backward in terms of quality, but it is an overall decline of quality that doesn't necessarily favor any one team. So, it's enjoyable, very competitive, and nice and shitty. I don't know what else to say.

posted by phaedon at 01:04 PM on September 25

Obviously I agree with you that this is a step backward in terms of quality, but it is an overall decline of quality that doesn't necessarily favor any one team.

Las Vegas seems to think it favours the home team more than the visitors, so they've been adjusting their betting lines accordingly.

posted by grum@work at 01:05 PM on September 25

Las Vegas seems to think it favours the home team more than the visitors, so they've been adjusting their betting lines accordingly.

Well, let's look at the stats. Week 1 - half the away teams won. Week 2 - only two away teams won. Week 3 - half the away teams won. I dunno! Not very conclusive. Maybe you're referring to the line.

Having said that, I'm not going to lie, part of thinks that ref did a huge "GULP!" before announcing that the call on the field stood. Like he was almost afraid of what the fans would do if he reversed the call. Anyone else get that impression?

(edit: sorry grum obviously you were referring to the line)

posted by phaedon at 01:12 PM on September 25

Gregg Easterbrook recalls some other officiating debacles in NFL history.

posted by rcade at 01:17 PM on September 25

If you were a Division III referee, would you turn down a chance to officiate an NFL game? These people are the best replacements available to the league. Division I officials weren't allowed to do it.

Well, the ones who hadn't been fired from Div I for poor performance weren't available.

posted by Etrigan at 01:18 PM on September 25

NFL admits error, but not the one you think.

posted by rcade at 01:19 PM on September 25

This decision by the league will not make the Interwebs explode. Much.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:34 PM on September 25

posted by phaedon at 01:48 PM on September 25

Obviously I agree with you that this is a step backward in terms of quality, but it is an overall decline of quality that doesn't necessarily favor any one team.

If I buy a Ford and it is a lemon, it's not really useful or interesting to me that other people have the same car and it's a lemon too. I want a quality product, and the fact that historically products have been bad does not excuse a dip in current quality that can easily be avoided.

posted by dfleming at 02:14 PM on September 25

Obviously I agree with you that this is a step backward in terms of quality, but it is an overall decline of quality that doesn't necessarily favor any one team. So, it's enjoyable, very competitive, and nice and shitty. I don't know what else to say.

What? How is that enjoyable? Games are being affected by random decisions by replacement refs instead of by the actions of the players. It's chaos, not football. We might as well just get a penalty wheel on the sidelines that a lucky fan could spin at random times throughout the game.

posted by tron7 at 02:21 PM on September 25

It was an expensive error. For Vegas.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 02:28 PM on September 25

You should totally do this.

Yeah, bad analogy. I totally would.

posted by smithnyiu at 02:37 PM on September 25

It's chaos, not football.

Look, you guys are totally entitled to your opinions, so it's not like I'm going to chime in every time somebody responds to me from here on out. But I think you're employing a false dichotomy here - football is chaos. Players miss passes. They get injured. Coaches put too many players on the field. Refs miss calls. So it's not fair to compare the "product" that NFL gives you on the weekend to say, buying a car.

If "chaos" like this is bad for the NFL, then Tim Tebow should be fucking banned. Instead, he's undoubtedly last year's biggest story. And so the refs are this year's biggest story.

So, while we can debate endlessly about who is right here, the real question is, will yesterday's episode cause the owners to cave in their negotiations with the ref union? And my feeling is no. I think it's entirely possible that the NFL might stick with these guys for the rest of the season. How do they navigate those murky waters in the following weeks? That's a really great question.

I do not, for example, think the NFL believes it's good for the brand to have players use expletives to rebuke the refs on Twitter. We have seen players fined for that. I do not believe the NFL thinks it's good for the brand if players get injured as the result of poor penalty-calling. We have seen players get fined for that too, regardless of whether or not there was a penalty called.

But on the other hand, this poor reffing isn't ruining the demand for football. And it's a little much to say it's ruining the integrity of the game. As a fan, I don't remember giving a shit about integrity. We're talking about big beef-heads slamming into each other to try to move the ball forward. That's football. So when Jennings gets leveled at the end of his route, does that ruin the game? Not for me.

As fans, you guys act like there is something of value lost when the game falls deeper into chaos. I guess, for hardcore Packer fans, they can go ahead and boycott the next game. But for a lot of people, tuning into the NFL is about watching a spectacle. To more or less quote the head of NBC sports Dick Ebersol, to you and me - ie the tv audience - the NFL is about unlimited unscripted drama. It's not about integrity. Me and millions of other Americans can't wait for Thursday to see how bad the refs screw up. Now how long the owners can ride that horse until things fall apart, we shall have to wait and see.

posted by phaedon at 02:46 PM on September 25

Since you don't have a very high impression of pro football, you don't mind the quality of the product deteriorating because of replacement officials.

I think most fans have higher expectations of the NFL than you do and this debacle is hurting the game more than you think. Fans live and die with this sport. Why get so invested in it when the people running it don't seem to care that they're making a mockery of this season? There are other sports that could be followed instead.

posted by rcade at 03:16 PM on September 25

If I buy a Ford and it is a lemon, it's not really useful or interesting to me that other people have the same car and it's a lemon too

It is if you're racing against somebody in a lemon Ford. Just sayin'

Kidding aside. While the replacement refs' mistakes were mildly amusing for about one quarter three weeks ago, I fail to see how it can possibly be entertaining to watch highly-paid, finely-tuned athletes take the field and work their asses off, only to see the outcome of the game determined by incompetent officiating. Maybe in 20 years, a "highlight" reel of the worst calls will make us laugh. For now, it is fucking up a great game.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:23 PM on September 25

I hope, when all of this is resolved, someone does an analysis of blown calls by the real refs vs. blown calls by the replacement refs. There are certainly bad calls every week by the real refs--some even bad enough that they make the news outside of people who watched that particular game or that they have changed the outcome of games. Who of you has never felt cheated out of a game by the referees? Hating on the refs is a time-honored-tradition in all sports.

My gut feeling says that there are more bad calls with the replacement refs, but I can appreciate that there is also a built-in story with an expectation that the replacements will make more mistakes, and that may just result in a bigger deal being made of their mistakes than we used to hear about blown calls. There's also a lot more scrutiny this season, as it's fun to find mistakes by the refs. Take that 33-yard penalty the Titans scored on Sunday. I can only assume that the coaches didn't even notice, as that would seem to be an easy error to correct. Who's to say that this exact same thing didn't happen last season, but since a bunch of writers' eyes weren't trained on looking for reffing blunders, we never even noticed?

For the play last night, I have a hard time objecting to the double-possession call, as the play was close enough for that to be the way it was seen in real time. The offensive pass interference penalty was certainly an egregious oversight, but that's not the first time that pass interference hasn't been called, and it won't be the last.

posted by bender at 03:31 PM on September 25

As a fan, I don't remember giving a shit about integrity.

Well, we enjoy football in very different ways then.

then Tim Tebow should be fucking banned.

Tebow has self-imposed a fucking ban.

posted by tron7 at 03:36 PM on September 25

Well, the ones who hadn't been fired from Div I for poor performance weren't available.

Perhaps Ron Cherry is, though? I thought he'd retired recently. And he's always great with replay situations.
(yes, it should be noted he has a website named after him. Or at least, with his name and the word "sucks" after it as the website name).

Ben Dreith certainly is available, for the record.

posted by Bonkers at 03:46 PM on September 25

But for a lot of people, tuning into the NFL is about watching a spectacle.

I think you're extrapolating your own position as the position of a lot of people. Boxing, for example, would follow your rule of chaos, except that it's been marginalized more than ever because it's tainted by scandal, abuse and questionable officiating. People care about that stuff. You might not, but on the whole, people do care that what's unfolding in front of them is fairly judged.

posted by dfleming at 04:00 PM on September 25

Well, if football for you is an escapist fantasy where things must be pure and financial disagreements and contractual disputes should not factor in, then I can see why you are disappointed.

You got that out of me saying we enjoy football in different ways? Sheesh. Did you take my comment as an insult? It was meant as concession that we would not see eye to eye on the issue. The integrity of the sport is integral to my enjoyment of the game. I can see where if you see football as just entertainment then it wouldn't really matter as much but I get off on the competition. So, when the game isn't fair it's not as interesting to me.

on edit: Did the comment I was responding to disappear or have I finally gone mad?

posted by tron7 at 04:37 PM on September 25

Do the NFL players union and coaches union feel solidarity with the referees' union? Some of the heat in this controversy is being driven by players and coaches actively undermining the replacement officials and publicly criticizing their performance.

posted by rcade at 04:39 PM on September 25

on edit: Did the comment I was responding to disappear or have I finally gone mad?

The replacement comments... :)

posted by phaedon at 04:43 PM on September 25

Sorry for the name-calling. I was mad and showed poor self-control.

posted by Hugh Janus at 04:45 PM on September 25

I'm sorry too. *hugs* My name-calling is sadly entrenched in the early 90's.

posted by phaedon at 04:46 PM on September 25

The offensive pass interference penalty was certainly an egregious oversight, but that's not the first time that pass interference hasn't been called, and it won't be the last.

Ticky-tack arm grabbing or bumping for position? That might be missed.

Actually seeing a player push another player from behind with both hands with enough force for the pushed to go to the ground, and to do so right where the ball was about to be received (so most of the officials should be looking in that direction), and not be spotted?

That's a first.

Take that 33-yard penalty the Titans scored on Sunday. I can only assume that the coaches didn't even notice, as that would seem to be an easy error to correct. Who's to say that this exact same thing didn't happen last season, but since a bunch of writers' eyes weren't trained on looking for reffing blunders, we never even noticed?

Somebody always notices things like that. It's like when people call into golf broadcasts to point out that a player kneeled on a towel to take an awkward shot, therefore breaking the rules. There are enough people watching the game to notice odd things like that, and with the rise of HD PVRs, rewinding plays repeatedly to spot issues is even easier than before.

posted by grum@work at 04:47 PM on September 25

Do the NFL players union and coaches union feel solidarity with the referees' union?

"But the NFL Players Association's collective bargaining agreement with the NFL limits any strike action the players can take to help the refs."

There's probably some level of personal feelings of solidarity, which will increase team-by-team as the scabs screw up more games. We'll see how far the NFLPA is willing to go, given that any injury attributable to officiating will have been inflicted upon one of its members by another.

posted by Etrigan at 04:47 PM on September 25

Following a labour dispute with its own servers, you can now enjoy Replacement Google.

I replacementGoogled "sportsfilter" and got a list of accountants in Texas. Which in no way affected the outcome of my search.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:01 PM on September 25

Ticky-tack arm grabbing or bumping for position? That might be missed.

Actually seeing a player push another player from behind with both hands with enough force for the pushed to go to the ground, and to do so right where the ball was about to be received (so most of the officials should be looking in that direction), and not be spotted?

That's a first.

Yeah, when those two guys are the only two trying to play the ball, that's easy to spot. When six guys go up for one ball, with a seventh flying in from the side, and all of them end up on the ground, it might be a little more difficult to see who pushed whom if you are not in the right spot. I'm willing to go out on a limb and suggest that if I were to review footage of a bunch of Hail Marys with several players going for the ball, I could find another one with un-called pass interference.

Somebody always notices things like that. It's like when people call into golf broadcasts to point out that a player kneeled on a towel to take an awkward shot, therefore breaking the rules. There are enough people watching the game to notice odd things like that, and with the rise of HD PVRs, rewinding plays repeatedly to spot issues is even easier than before.

I'm sure somebody does, but that doesn't necessarily mean that several columns get written about it, it becomes an FPP here with a hundred posts, and it is suggested that all of the referees be replaced.

posted by bender at 05:15 PM on September 25

As a Seahawk fan I had to come back here just this once to see if any Steelers fans or Jets fans were around so that I could say....ahem......

Neener neener.

Yes, the Pack got jobbed. But they shouldn't have let the game be in a place where it would come down to the last play and be decided by an official. There were some bad calls that kept Green Bay scoring drives alive (as well as some moronic play on the part of the 'Hawks). As a totally biased observer I could also note that the Seahawks pass rushers were completely molested during the second half and nary a yellow flag flew. To go from 8 sacks in the first half to zilch in the second cannot be attributed to fantastic halftime adjustments by Sherman alone.

So in honor of the rest of the league I award a signed Vinny Testaverde helmet to the Replacement Officials. Game used. With authentic goal-line smudges. Delivered by Dennis Erickson in person.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:33 PM on September 25

That's a first.

When was the last time you recall pass interference being called on a final-play Hail Mary?

posted by rcade at 05:34 PM on September 25

When was the last time you recall pass interference being called on a final-play Hail Mary?

I don't, but at the same time I haven't seen a player get mugged like that BEFORE the ball gets there. I mean, the receiver had time to push him down and THEN jump up for the ball. It wasn't during the melee of the catch that it happened.

posted by grum@work at 05:56 PM on September 25

Sorry, didnt need to read all 82 comments. my only beef is they went to the booth where they have a "real" ref and he didnt overturn it. The real refs messed up too. If this had been real refs and the same blown call, would we be as mad?

....But yeah, these guys do kinda suck.

posted by Debo270 at 07:08 PM on September 25

Can the players strike, or refuse to play until this situation is resolved? Fans really don't care enough to boycott games because of replacement officials, but if there are no players, everything comes to a grinding halt. And I seriously doubt replacement players would be supported in this day and age.

posted by dyams at 07:38 PM on September 25

I wish the opposing head coaches had been Buddy Ryan and Woody Hayes.

The grounds crew would still be cleaning the CenturyLink rug, trying to remove all the zebraic bodily fluids.

posted by beaverboard at 07:43 PM on September 25

Can the players strike, or refuse to play until this situation is resolved?

No. Their CBA has very strong language preventing strikes.

posted by yerfatma at 07:47 PM on September 25

There is one thing the NFL loves more than all others. Boycott that and I really think we can move them. It is our only chance to pressure the owners.

The NFL Network is their baby, their one hope to further enhance their revenue stream. Give the Thursday night game this week a significantly lower rating and the owners WILL notice.

posted by gradioc at 09:17 PM on September 25

Refusing to listen to Rich Eisen comes very naturally to me already.

posted by beaverboard at 09:26 PM on September 25

Yes, the Pack got jobbed. But they shouldn't have let the game be in a place where it would come down to the last play and be decided by an official.

This doesn't make any sense to me. If someone were pointing to a single blown call, even that one, and saying, "And that's why we lost the game!", I would say that that's incorrect, in a game where you stumbled around and made a lot of mistakes. But hard-fought, well-played games sometimes come down to a single play, too -- that's just how it goes, there's no "letting" about it. It's one thing to call out a team that had plenty of opportunities and blew them and wants to pin it on one bad call, but I don't think your reasoning holds in general.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:33 PM on September 25

I know I state the obvious when I say that there have been many more blown calls in these first 3 weeks than one should expect with the regular referees on the field. It's not so much the blown calls that has me upset, it's the lack of consistency in the officiating. With the regular referees there were differences from crew to crew, but by the time the preseason was done, the players and coaches had a pretty fair handle on how the various crews officiated. One crew might tend more than others to call pass interference, while another might tend to call a lot of offensive holding. The differences were there, but it was predictable and coaches and players could adjust to it.

The replacements have no such track record, and even worse, are inconsistent from series to series, play to play. Holding infractions will be ignored, then suddenly called; defensive pass interference will be called for the flimsiest of reasons, then will be ignored on a critical play. No single call can be said to change the outcome of a game, but the cumulative effect of the inconsistency is to make the game nearly impossible to play at the NFL level of skill and expertise. Even though both teams on the field have to put up with the same officials, it somehow seems that one team suffers more than the other.

In any sport, the officials must be neutral, capable, and consistent. Consistency is probably the most difficult of these attributes to develop. The best way to do so might be to make the NFL referees full-time employees of the league. This would be an excellent topic to debate here, but at a later time after there is some settlement in the present situation. I have read that the regular referees do not want to become full-time because the pay for a full-time referee would not be as great as what they now make between their regular jobs and per-game referee money. Since the NFL is offering close to $200K for a year for a part-time referee, one has to wonder just what sort of jobs these regular guys have. Anyway, I'd love to hear a debate on full-time vs part-time.

posted by Howard_T at 11:57 PM on September 25

people do care that what's unfolding in front of them is fairly judged.

I think the word fairly is incorrect. The games are being poorly judged, but I would bet they are indeed being fairly judged. These refs aren't the same as boxing judges in that they aren't on the take making these bad calls (most likely). I don't watch boxing because I know some guy may have it made up in his head before the match who is going to win regardless of what happens. I also agree with phaedon that the bad calls make an interesting story. It isn't ruining anything for me.

posted by Ricardo at 09:46 AM on September 26

These refs aren't the same as boxing judges in that they aren't on the take making these bad calls (most likely).

One replacement ref mentioned to LeSean McCoy that he had him on his fantasy team and needed him to have a good day. I wonder what happens when that ref spots a McCoy fumble and a 50/50 decision on who recovered it?

posted by dfleming at 10:02 AM on September 26

As I remember, the NFL states refs aren't allowed to play fantasy football and this was going to be investigated. I hadn't heard any outcome after that, but I'm guessing if he were indeed playing fantasy football, he wouldn't be reffing any longer.

And having everyone bagging on the refs is poor. None of this is their fault. They're doing as good a job as can be expected of them. The fault here lies with the NFL and the regular refs.

posted by Ricardo at 10:17 AM on September 26

These refs aren't the same as boxing judges in that they aren't on the take making these bad calls (most likely).

Why assume that a short-term hire like a replacement ref would be immune to manipulating a game? Millions of dollars are being wagered on NFL games. These guys all know their time with the league is short.

posted by rcade at 10:43 AM on September 26

Tim Donaghy's thoughts on the subject.

posted by beaverboard at 10:56 AM on September 26

NFL/Officials reach agreement in principle

posted by tommytrump at 12:28 PM on September 26

NFL/Officials reach agreement in principle

It might be the only time in our lives where the crowds will give referees a standing ovation when they take the field.

posted by NerfballPro at 12:37 PM on September 26

As I remember, the NFL states refs aren't allowed to play fantasy football and this was going to be investigated. I hadn't heard any outcome after that, but I'm guessing if he were indeed playing fantasy football, he wouldn't be reffing any longer.

Wouldn't be reffing any longer? Why was he reffing at all? How bright do you have to be to realize that when you bring in replacements who are two or three tiers below those they're replacing, you can't take for granted that they know how to conduct themselves at this level? Wouldn't involvement in fantasy football be a rather obvious conflict of interest that was likely to happen and should have been anticipated?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:57 PM on September 26

That may or may not have happened. We can't assume it didn't. For all we know, this ref was simply making a joke, albeit an inappropriate one.

posted by Ricardo at 01:15 PM on September 26

This doesn't make any sense to me.

This statement hardly surprises me. In McCarthy's post game presser, even though he was righteously P.O.'ed, he said that his team shouldn't have let it come to that in the first place. It doesn't take a genius to understand what he was referring to: the close score.

You see, if his team had been more productive on offense and had been able to convert more of their possessions into scoring drives, worrying about what happens on a last play hail mary isn't an issue. That had nothing to do with blown calls and was actually an issue of poor execution; something the Packers have had trouble with in the first three games thus far.

As for the topic of going on some sort of strike against the NFL by not watching games, yeah right. Good luck with that.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:29 PM on September 26

Meet Phil Luckett.

posted by phaedon at 02:43 PM on September 26

As for the topic of going on some sort of strike against the NFL by not watching games, yeah right. Good luck with that.

The notion that NFL fans will watch the sport no matter what isn't flattering. Goodell must believe it to trot out these refs in the regular season.

posted by rcade at 03:11 PM on September 26

The notion that NFL fans will watch the sport no matter what isn't flattering. Goodell must believe it to trot out these refs in the regular season.

But we have to be honest with ourselves about it. Does any of us actually believe that NFL fans will come together to not attend or watch games being played and televised in any sort of impactful numbers? Not a chance. Check the numbers from the upcoming Thursday games if replacement refs are used. If anything I bet the ratings will go up, if just to see what sort of debacle takes place.

And about this notion about this not being flattering to fans, this is the NFL. The "F" doesn't stand for "flattering".

posted by THX-1138 at 03:35 PM on September 26

Does any of us actually believe that NFL fans will come together to not attend or watch games being played and televised in any sort of impactful numbers? Not a chance.

In the short term, an impactful decline is unlikely. In the long term, who knows? Our big three sports used to be baseball, horse racing and boxing.

posted by rcade at 04:17 PM on September 26

The league supervisor now sits in the replay booth. Which means that Luckett was change-purse deep in the decision to not overturn the ruling on the field of a touchdown.

There was nothing Luckett could do. He can't overrule the "possession" call, and the only thing he could review was to see if one of the people with their hand on the ball actually stepped out of bounds when they came down (as it would be ruled incomplete at that time).

The one guy who is blameless in this situation is the replay official.

posted by grum@work at 04:21 PM on September 26

Does any of us actually believe that NFL fans will come together to not attend or watch games being played and televised in any sort of impactful numbers? Not a chance.

It has as much of a chance of working as "gas station boycotts" I keep getting sent by my not-so-bright friends. The idea of an organized-through-the-internet boycott of a single corporation for a single day is ridiculous for things that are essential (gasoline) or free (watching TV).

I'm reminded of this. (If the image is too small/fuzzy, it's the "Boycott Modern Warfare 2" Steam group, and most of the members on that page are playing "Modern Warfare 2".)

posted by grum@work at 04:26 PM on September 26

I think I might change my opinion and call it a catch. I posted an interesting take to the huddle.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:06 PM on September 26

THX-1138:

This statement hardly surprises me. In McCarthy's post game presser, even though he was righteously P.O.'ed, he said that his team shouldn't have let it come to that in the first place. It doesn't take a genius to understand what he was referring to: the close score.

Yes, I got that part. Believe it or not, I'm not utterly stupid ("This statement hardly surprises me"? Really?) and quite capable of understanding what "close score" means in the context of football. And, speaking of context, it's unfortunate that you chose to cherrypick and ignore the context of my post, in which I said:

If someone were pointing to a single blown call, even that one, and saying, "And that's why we lost the game!", I would say that that's incorrect, in a game where you stumbled around and made a lot of mistakes. But hard-fought, well-played games sometimes come down to a single play, too -- that's just how it goes, there's no "letting" about it. It's one thing to call out a team that had plenty of opportunities and blew them and wants to pin it on one bad call, but I don't think your reasoning holds in general.

Added emphasis so it won't be overlooked this time (except by an act of sheer dogged determination, perhaps).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:57 PM on September 26

A guy I coached with always said, "In a game of evenly matched teams, 3 plays will determine the outcome." That was one.

posted by Debo270 at 09:31 AM on September 27

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