NFL backs replacement refs' TD call

Sept. 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The NFL said Tuesday replacement referees missed a pass interference but made the right call on a last-second touchdown in Seattle's 14-12 win over Green Bay.

Game officials -- working in place of union officials locked out by the league -- ruled Golden Tate made the catch in the Monday night game on a 24-yard pass in the end zone from quarterback Russell Wilson. The ruling came only after some on-field confusion.

One official ruled it a touchdown on simultaneous possession while another appeared set to call it an interception and a touchback. The referee went directly to video review without consulting the two officials.

In a statement Tuesday, the NFL said officials missed a pass interference call on Tate, which would have resulted in a Packers' victory, but the league said when Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings "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."

The league statement said video review of a simultaneous catch in the end zone is permitted under NFL rules, while such a call in the field of play is not reviewable.

"The result of the game is final."

The Seahawks-Packers game featured numerous calls that drew scrutiny from the broadcast booth during ESPN's telecast and the controversial call at the end prompted many NFL players to vent frustration that has grown during the lockout.

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson tweeted: "Com'on can we please get the real refs back. Destroying the game that we all grew to love. WOW!!!!!!"

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted: "I love this league and love the game of football, but tonight's debacle hurts me greatly. This is NOT the league we're supposed to represent."

The outcome had a significant effect on gamblers' fortunes as well. The Packers were 3 1/2-point favorites and would have covered the spread with a five-point victory.

"Most of the customers in the sportsbook were not happy with the final call," John Avello, director of the race and sportsbook at the Wynn in Las Vegas told

Avello estimated the call affected about $150 million in total bets.

Danny Sheridan, oddsmaker for USA Today, estimated the call may have affected as much as $1 billion in bets.

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