Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/25/12

Yes, the NFL is using replacement referrers – but at least they have not made a bad call that decided the outcome of a game…oh wait.

The Seattle Seahawks escaped with a 14-12 victory over the Green Bay Packers when a final-second, Hail Mary attempt was ruled a touchdown. Russell Wilson heaved the ball to the corner of the end zone where it was intercepted by the Packers’ M.D. Jennings – except it wasn’t. Even though Jennings clearly had the ball, Golden Tate ripped the ball away and was given the game-winning score.

According to the NFL rulebook: Rule 8, Article 3, Item 5, “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.”

Jennings appeared to be the one who controlled the ball first and then Golden Tate came in after the fact to pull it away. By rule, the Green Bay Packers should have been given the interception and a 12-7 victory.

The problem is, who caught the ball is not a reviewable play. Even though one referee signaled turnover and the other referee signaled touchdown, the ultimate ruling on the field was a Seattle touchdown. The referees were unable to overturn their own bad call via instant replay.

But what will be overshadowed by the final call is the fact the Green Bay Packers actually picked off Russell Wilson earlier on the drive. A tipped pass was caught by a Packers’ player, but an extremely questionable roughing the passer penalty gave the ball back to the Seahawks, and afforded them the opportunity to make the controversial Hail Mary play.

The ending to the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers Monday-night game may just be the final nail in this replacement referee experiment. Surely the NFL has to immediately head back to the negotiating table and get down on the their hands and knees, begging the real referees to return to work as soon as possible – don’t they?



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