Refs get standing ovation at Lambeau, but appreciation short-lived
GREEN BAY -- The Green Bay Packers were back home at Lambeau Field Sunday, September 30th -- one week removed from the "Fail Mary" botched call incident in Seattle that many believe cost the Pack a victory over the Seahawks. This week, the NFL's referees were back on the field, after an agreement was reached between the NFL and the referees' union Thursday, and a contract was ratified Saturday.
Monday night's call in Seattle is a call many Packers fans at Lambeau Field said they'll never forget.
In Monday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone. Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.
While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.
When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.
Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.
Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood.
The result of the game is final.
"We all saw what happened. That was just a really bad call. Terrible call," Packers fan Terry McNamee said.
"How many of us were ready to break our TV set?" Packers fan Kirk Stallsmith said.
The anger prompted by the game against Seattle seemed to have subsided a bit by Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Jeff Pistone and six others were tailgating in the Lambeau Field parking lot -- dressed as refs! The group from Appleton -- much like Monday night's replacement refs, drew plenty of attention!
"People are like crazy, waving to us, telling us good luck, and then they`re yelling at us and all that -- everything you would expect," Terry Whittmann said.
The appreciation for the returning refs was obvious around Lambeau Field Sunday.
"I think it`s a good point to show that you can`t underestimate, sometimes, the experience that people have. I don`t think I`ve ever been to a Packers game where I`ve cheered for a ref, so that`ll be a little interesting," Maureen Pistone said.
Many fans welcomed the refs with a standing ovation, but it didn't last long, as the refs missed an offensive interference call with 3:33 left in the first quarter, giving the Saints a touchdown.