Foul Ruling: Replacement Refs Blow Call and Gives Seahawks Unjustified Win Over The Packers

As many of you know, I was raised to root for two teams: the Chicago Bears and anyone playing against the Packers. However, I watched the Packers-Sea Hawks game last night and even I had nothing but sympathy for the Packers. It is clear that the final Hail Mary pass was intercepted by Packers safety M.D. Jennings and Seahawks receiver Golden Tate only belated got one hand on the ball. Yet one replacement ref called it a touchdown and the game was given wrongly to the Seahawks. We clearly need a team of high-trained lawyers on the field led by an endomorphic law professor from our nation’s capital.


A replay clearly showed the ref was wrong but the ruling was upheld. This followed a clearly wrong call on pass interference against the Packers.

We have all been discussing the errors by the replacement refs in the last couple weeks. I felt that people were being a bit harsh on the refs, but this game saw some of the most egregious errors, including handing the victory to the wrong team. It was a shame because it was a great game — much like the Patriots/Ravens game on Sunday. The Seahawks sacked Aaron Rogers nine times, but the Packers came back and played brilliantly. What is interesting is that one ref is calling the pass intercepted while the other is calling it a touchdown.

Normally I relish the legal disputes in these games, but this is a case where the rulings were not just wrong but threw the game to the losing team. Here is the video and you can decide.

What was also striking is how the teams had to be called back on the field after the Packers stormed off and many were already out of their uniforms. It was interesting to see the impact of the Seahawks rushing the field and celebrating the touchdown — a celebration that may have influence the refs in reviewing the game. The celebration may have been a bit intimidating at the thought of announcing that it was the Packers who had won the game after all. As upset as the Packers were (justifiably), most showed considerable restraint in the face of the bad call.

Here is the legal rule:

Rule 8 – Section 3 – Article 1 – Item 5: Simultaneous Catch. 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. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.

Now I am just a small country lawyer but that did not seem to me to be a simultaneous catch. The Packers had the ball and only then did the Seahawks grabbed a partial hold on it. What do you think?

Source: LA Times

29 thoughts on “Foul Ruling: Replacement Refs Blow Call and Gives Seahawks Unjustified Win Over The Packers”

  1. Don’t forget the offensive receiver pushing a defensive player to the ground in the instant before the catch, in an incredibly clear and it would seem irrefutable offensive pass interference violation.

  2. Sorry, Prof, you blew this call — partially. There clearly was offensive pass interference on Seahawk WR, Golden Tate, in the end zone that should have been called and ended the game in Green Bay’s favor. However, the simultaneous catch call (Rule 8 – Section 3 – Article 1 – Item 5) was correctly interpreted according to the Supreme Court of pro football, the NFL. Even the announcer called it “simultaneous.” Who gets it after the scrum is irrelevant because the play is over once possession is established (even if by both players) and both feet of the receiver(s) come down in bounds.Both players retained possession when they hit the ground according to the replay. So it seems you’re right but for the wrong reason.

    Bears Fan? Country lawyer? Propping up the Packers? Incongruous

    DISCLAIMER: Richmond (Va)’s Russell Wilson, Seattle’s QB, is a friend of my son, Mark, and played on lots of his baseball teams. I’m a Steeler fan and if you want to single out a poorly ref’d game take a look at theirs.

    BRING BACK THE REAL NFL REFs!

  3. I agree that the call was wrong, but defenders are not supposed to try to catch hail mary passes in the end zone; they are supposed to knock them down.

    And since the Packers couldn’t handle the Seahawks defense all game, they didn’t exactly deserve to win either.

  4. Swarthmore,
    I saw that Gov. Union Buster is even calling for the union refs! A little irony there.
    I did not see the game because I was watching my White Sox come from behind to beat the Indians and stay a game in front of the Tigers!

  5. Mr. Honest, take a closer look, Tate right hand wasn’t on the ball until Jenning already had both hands holding the ball, and yes his left hand clearly is not on the ball when Jennings had possession.

    In NFL and NBA there is a foul committed on almost every play by at least one player. The new refs are calling everything they see, while the old refs choose not to call a foul/penalty on every play. There is no more justice on the field than their is in our courts.

  6. I agree with those who say it was a close call, particularly MrHonest’s assessment. Also, I saw or heard that the play was not subject to reversal on replay.

    As to the pass interference (on the same play) prior to the catch: the announcers made clear that the regular refs ignore that type of foul. To me, both aspects of this play raise the question: how many of these “bad” calls are being blown out of proportion (v. what happens every other year) b/c these are replacement refs?

  7. A one handed catch is a catch. Everyone is focused on Tate’s outside right hand. The right hand let go and re-gripped, but if his left hand (against Jennings’s body) never lost control, its dual possession. Nothing in the rules says give it to the guy with the stronger grip. If the ref never saw Tate’s left hand lose it’s grip, its gotta be a TD. Tate could have had his right hand behind his back the whole time and it’s still a catch. If anyone does not like that, then they don’t like the rules.

  8. I think the question is about possession at the top of the leap for both players. Not as they come to the ground but at the moment of the catch. They are both facing each other. Tate appears to have his hand inside Jenkins’ arms and around the ball and tries to regrip as they fall to the ground. A better view would be about 180 degrees to the one in the video but that doesn’t seem to be available. I think the call could have gone either way and then would need irrefutable evidence that it was wrong to be reversed.

    I think the bigger lapse here is the non interference call by the refs. Tate pushes another Packer defender (37?) out of the way as he leaps to make the catch. THAT should have negated the touchdown.

    These refs are not up to the task of policing NFL games and the increases in skirmishes after the play without penalty flags are allowing the games to get out of control. There is a very real threat that someone will get hurt and that should be a primary reason to get the NFL refs back on the job.

    The officiating has cost one team a game they should have won. Will the real refs get back to work before someone loses a season or a career?

    T. Hunt

  9. The only thing making the call such that it “gave the game to Seattle” was that it happened at the end of the game. The regular refs blow calls too. Ask San Diego about Ed Hoculi. Both teams are judged by the same set of refs and the bad calls go one way as often as they do the other. How many bad calls did the Seahawks have to overcome earlier?

    Further, had Green Bay played up to its usual 23 points instead of the lousy 12 points it had, this call would not have mattered. One play does not make a game.

  10. It will be interesting to see the NFL respond to the officiating in last nights game. Apparently Roger Goodell has the authority to change the call and award the win to Green Bay.

  11. it sure looked like an interception to me. I think the owners need to fork over some cash and end this charade.

    Inexperienced refs, inexperienced president; the end result is the same; chaos.

  12. “As upset as the Packers were (justifiably), most showed considerable restraint in the face of the bad call.”

    All those guys have experienced bad calls on the field since they were 10 years old. It’s part of the game. However, in this case and in the face of such irrefutable evidence, the truth stands naked before all lying eyes. The game should be replayed or noted as a draw.

  13. I think the lawyer from DC might be better employed by the NFL to talk some sense to the two sides.

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