Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers angered by controversial TD call against Seattle Seahawks
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 25/09/12 11:17am
The Green Bay Packers have been left fuming after one of the most controversial decisions in NFL history saw them lose to the Seattle Seahawks and saw most people in the league lose faith with the replacement referees.
The NFL Players' Association had already written to league owners asking them to end the lockout of the regular officials, pay them what they want, and get the controversial replacement referees off the field.
Just hours later, their point was made as Seattle won the game on a last second hail mary pass that looked for all the world like it had been intercepted by Packers man MD Jennings, only for the officials to give it as a touchdown to Seattle receiver Golden Tate.
Actually there were two different calls by the two officials in the end zone - one waving the game dead and the other indicating a score, as the two players wrestled for the ball on the ground.
Even after a video review looked to have shown Jennings grabbing the ball first and Tate making a second effort to steal it, the touchdown stood, and Twitter soon flooded with outrage at the call and the fact replacement refs had made another big gaff.
"Don't ask me a question about the officials," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "I've never seen anything like that in all my years in football. I know it's been a wild weekend in the NFL and I guess we're part of it now."
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked eight times in the first half by a ferocious Seahawks defence, was also in no doubt what the call should have been.
"It was awful," he said. "Just look at the replay. And then the fact that it was reviewed, it was awful. That's all I'm going to say about it.
"From my vantage point, the referee in the back, I saw him wave over his head, which means he was going touchback. No idea how the other guy said touchdown Golden Tate on the replay. Obviously, he takes his arm off whatever part of the ball he may or may not have had, and they reviewed it and it upheld."
Seattle coach Pete Carroll was obviously always going to have a different opinion on the matter: "From what I understood from the officials it was a simultaneous catch. Tie goes to the runner. Good call," he said.
There was also a blatant two-handed push from Tate that should have been called as offensive pass interference, which was also missed by the officials, but the Seattle man insisted he caught the ball fairly.
Golden Tate celebrates after the game
"I was just trying to keep possession of the ball," said Tate. "The guy who was fighting me for it, he's strong. I was just trying to hold onto it until our guys pulled them off of me. I didn't know if they called touchdown, interception, incompletion. I didn't know what was going on. Couldn't hear anything and I just tried to keep fighting for the ball."
Several Packers players took to Twitter to vent their anger, after a group of them watched replays in the locker room after the game and could be heard laughing at the call, and some of them could face sanctions from the NFL for their comments.
Wide receiver Greg Jennings was more reserved in his comments to the media, but still made it clear he thought the touchdown should not have stood.
"Just watching in the back room, I think if you asked Golden Tate to take a lie detector test and ask him did he catch that ball or did M.D. catch that ball, M.D. caught that," Jennings said. "It was clear as day - at least that is what my eyes saw."
One thing is clear, the controversy will only heighten the calls for the replacement referees to be sent on their way and the lockout of the experienced officials to be ended.