Officials' organization leader says Packers call influential in NFL, refs deal

MADISON -- Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League said Thursday, September 27th the Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks game-ending call was not a major factor in the deal that came late Wednesday night to end the NFL referees' lockout. However, a Racine man with inside knowledge to negotiations told FOX6 News what many call a blown call did help seal the deal.

The lockout between the National Football League and the referees' union ended late Wednesday night, September 26th after the two sides were able to come to an agreement.

Replacement refs had officiated games during the first three weeks of the NFL season, after talks broke down regarding referees' contracts.

What most say was a blown call to end Monday night's Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks game and leave Seattle with the win was followed by outrage from football fans across the country -- some calling for a boycott of the NFL until the regular referees returned to the field.

Thursday night, for the start of the NFL's Week Four, those refs will be back on the field.

Barry Mano's perspective of Monday night's call is unique. Mano serves as the president of the National Association of Sports Officials. Based in Racine, his group publishes a magazine for referees and advocates on their behalf.

With a profession unbiased in nature, Mano's group has more incentive for an unopinionated eye. N.A.S.O. has both NFL and replacement refs as its members.

"The end of the game was not properly officiated. There you have it," Mano said.

Mano told FOX6 News the replacement refs should have never been on the field on the professional level. Grossly unprepared in a league crossing its fingers -- it just didn't work.

"It wasn't going to work. It could not work. I've never seen anything like it. I mean, the thing that happened Monday night I characterize as the three-mile island of officiating. It led to this meltdown," Mano said.

As NFL Commissioner Goodell said Thursday Monday night's call had little effect on the eventual deal, Mano told FOX6 News he's heard differently from friends on the other side of the bargaining table.

"Really, Monday night had a lot to do with this.  Make no mistake about it," Mano said.

Mano says Monday night's loss for Green Bay won't go down in vain. The replacement refs are now home, and the regular NFL refs are set to take to the field starting Thursday night. Mano said Thursday a profession used to complaints is finally getting a good review.

"The public has come to understand the extraordinary value that the regular officials bring to these games. Even the NFL found out just the value that these men bring to the game," Mano said.

The N.A.S.O. has about 19,000 officials in its membership.

The referees' new contract is set to last for eight years.

CLICK HERE for additional coverage on the replacement refs controversy following Monday night’s Packers game.