Hey NFL, Footlocker Called, They Want Their Clerks Back

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Jennings was convinced he had the ball pinned to his chest the entire time and would be awarded an interception to cap Green Bay’s comeback victory. A crew of replacement officials had other views—the ones that counted. The result is a bizarre ending that gave the Seattle Seahawks a 14-12 victory Monday night that capped a tough weekend for the replacement refs. “I was very shocked,” Jennings said. “But, the refs got the last say, so it is what it is.” Russell Wilson threw a disputed 24-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate on the final play of the game, a game that finally ended 10 minutes later when both teams were brought back on the field for the extra point. Wilson scrambled from the pocket and threw to the corner of the end zone as the clock expired. Tate shoved Green Bay’s Sam Shields out of the way, then wrestled with Jennings for possession. It was ruled on the field as a touchdown and after a lengthy review, referee Wayne Elliott came out from under the hood and announced “the ruling on the field stands” and CenturyLink Field erupted in celebration. It was nearly 10 minutes before the teams were brought back for the extra point. MORE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: It was one of the worst calls in the history of the league, yet it might turn out to be one of the best calls if humiliated Commissioner Roger Goodell was listening to the message it sent. Give it up. Settle this labor dispute. Settle it now. […] End this lockout before it further damages the season while indelibly staining your legacy. End it before Thursday begins a fourth weekend of madness. […] Less than a week after the NFL ordered its personnel to stop harassing the paper zebras because “everybody has a responsibility to respect the game,” one guy was still so angry he put it in writing. Brandon Spikes, linebacker for the New England Patriots, tweeted, “Can some 1 please tell these [expletive] zebras foot locker called and they’re needed Back at work!!!!” His hashtag was a perfection description of the situation. It read, #BreakingPoint. Even the game’s finest coach spoke. Bill Belichick was so upset after his Patriots lost to the Ravens on Sunday, he grabbed at one of the replacement officials in an act of rage rarely seen in a league where a head coach has never been ejected from a game. Want to know my favorite statistic of Week 3 before Monday? Sixteen of 20 coach’s challenges resulted in overturned calls, meaning officials made the wrong decision on 80% of some of the biggest plays. Think about that. Want to know my second-favorite statistic? When you crunch the numbers, if the NFL gave the locked-out referees everything they wanted, it would cost about $100,000 extra per team per season. That equals about four games’ pay for one of a team’s lowest-paid players. The owners are watching their sport burn because they won’t improve the officials’ compensation by about one-fourth the amount they would pay a backup guard? Think about that. OK, real quick, I’ve got a third-favorite statistic from last weekend. There were 13 penalty first downs in the game between the Patriots and the Ravens, which is only the most in the history of the NFL. MORE

NFL STATEMENT ON THE PLAY: 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. MORE