It’s a great thing for football and the NFL when the league’s nationally telecast games like the long-running Monday Night Football ones are competitive and down to the wire. It’s not so good when the team that should have won the game is cheated out of a victory because replacement referees made a bad call.
In case you missed it just watch the video above and you can see Russell Wilson’s last second heave into the end zone and the referees award Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate the touchdown. Watch it again and slow it down a little and you can see what really happened.
Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings looks like he intercepted the ball in the air and was contested by Tate. As the pile up people comes down you can see Jennings appear to be turned slightly away from Tate. Jennings appears to have control of the ball while Tate looks to be holding it from behind Jennings.
Simultaneous possession was ruled on the field. For that to happen both players are believed to have gone up for the ball and caught with neither having an advantage over the other. In cases like that the offense is awarded the ball.
However, where the rule does not apply is when the defender (or receiver) catches it first and then the other player comes in and tries to grab the ball away.
Seattle fans will stick their story much like Tate did after the game that it was a simultaneous catch, but the video doesn’t lie. While the exact point of possession may be arguable since it is difficult to see exactly when the catch was completed from either person by time the extra bodies rolled away Jennings does appear to be in control with Tate just trying to hang on.
While the loss for the Packers is a travesty in itself; Seattle’s defense did a great job of beating up the Packers offense all game long. The real injustice will come in the next few days when the NFL levies fines against all the people that have expressed their extreme displeasure with the officiating. It’s nice that the league is concerned about the replacement officials, but what about the game itself?