Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NFL Screws the Packers and the Fans

By: Matt Bove
I hope Roger Goodell is happy with himself. He and the NFL owners have managed to turn the most popular sport in the U.S. into a sport with as much integrity as the WWE right now.

The Green Bay Packers got screwed out of a hard earned win on Monday night in Seattle. There is no other way to put it. Wins are very hard to come by in the NFL and in a sixteen game season one loss can make a huge difference. It can be the difference between a division title, a home playoff game, a playoff bye or the difference between making or missing the playoffs.

Goodell and his billionaire owners have been willing to ruin the integrity of the NFL over a few million dollars when their league is worth billions. They were waiting until a team got screwed out of a win to get back to serious negotiations and the Packers drew the short straw and were that team. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that a deal with the referees could happen soon and they could return as early as Sunday That is great but it makes it seem like the Packers were just pawns and what happened to them made the NFL cave. 

I am normally not one to complain about officiating and say it is the reason as to why the Packers lost. However, in this case there is no question that it was, and what infuriates me is that it could have been avoided if Goodell and the owners weren't greedy pigs.

Obviously, you all know what play I'm referring to that cost the Packers the game. On the last play of the game Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson fired a prayer from the Packers' 24 yard- line that fell right into the hands of Packers safety M.D. Jennings, with Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate trying to rip it out. There was a point on the ground when Jennings had the ball pressed up against his chest and Tate had one arm in the air and the other around Jennings' neck. One official with a good view of the play called it a touchback, while the other official, who was fifteen yards in front of the play with not view of it, overruled him and called it a touchdown. The officials didn't even have a discussion on the field about it and the replay official was probably to scared of the home crowd's reaction to change the call.

The argument that if the Packers played better in the first half they would have won is flawed.  Their are two halves of football and the Packers completely dominated the second half. They scored on three of their four drives and dominated time of possession. The Packers out gained the Seahawks 217-90 in the second half and we know that 24 of Seattle's yards were bogus.

Seattle is a very hard place to win and you are not going to just go in there and blow them out. Yes, they were brutal on offense in the first half. Mike McCarthy waited way to long to make adjustments. He needed to keep extra blockers in, call shorter pass patterns, run the ball more, and work in more screens and draws to slow down the pass rush. With all that being said the Packers did more then enough to win the game and the officials took it away from them.

The Hail Mary "catch" was not the only egregious call that cost the Packers the game. On the drive before that, Wilson threw what would have been a game ending interception to Jerron McMillian, only to have the refs call it back on a phantom rushing the passer call on Erik Walden. Then, later in the drive on 1st and 25, Sam Shields played textbook defense to break up a pass intended for Sidney Rice, only to be called for pass interference when Rice was the one mugging Shields. That call gave Seattle the field position to set up the Hail Mary on their next drive.

The NFL was not the only thing I was sick about after the game. Watching Pete Carroll jump up and down like he won the Super Bowl next to the ref as he made the call was a joke. During his weekly radio appearance on 710- KIRO in Seattle Carroll said, "They called it and the league backed it up, and game over, we win." Nobody would expect anything less from Carroll, as everybody knows he is just a flat out imbecile. He was in charge of a cheating program at USC and left right when he knew they were going to get busted. It would be nice if him or some of his delusional players would man up and come out and say that they caught a break, but apparently that will never happen.

There was a lot of chatter on Twitter about Goodell possible overturning this call. That was never and should never have happened because of the Pandora's Box it would open. However, it would have been nice if the NFL had admitted that their was a mistake instead of releasing the garbage statement that they sent out.

Here is their statement: 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 NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.

You would have to believe that pigs can fly in order to buy this statement. It would have been nice  if the NFL had apologized to Green Bay, but the bigger deal is how they try to make you believe that it was a simultaneous catch. It is a pretty cowardly move and now their actions of trying to get the real refs back onto the field speak louder than those words. 

One of two things will happen to the Packers in the aftermath of this travesty. Either they will let this linger and crash and burn or they will use this as motivation and go on to have a great season. We now get to see what the Packers are really made of. The biggest screw you the Packers can give to Goodell and the owners is to go on and win the Super Bowl. Let's see what they got.

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