September 25th, 2012
10:28 PM ET

Chorus for regular NFL referees grows

Even the leader of the free world had time Tuesday to comment about the National Football League after Monday night’s controversial Seahawks-Packers game.

Replacement referees, standing in for regular officials who are locked in a labor dispute with the NFL, controversially ruled that a Seahawks receiver caught a game-winning touchdown pass as time expired. The referees also missed what the NFL says was a penalty against that same receiver a penalty that, had it been called, would have rendered the catch controversy moot and given the win to the Packers.

Airwaves and social media were buzzing with reaction Monday and Tuesday from NFL players, fans, and yes, President Barack Obama, who says he wants to see the regular referees get back to work.

Discussion of the call virtually took over Twitter in the United States, with the game generating more than 1 million tweets, the social media company said Tuesday. Already disappointed in missed and botched calls since replacements began working in the preseason, many fans and players called for the NFL to quickly settle the labor dispute.

NFL: Refs missed penalty, but Seahawks’ win stands

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez told CNN that after Monday night’s 14-12 Seahawks victory over the Packers, “it’s becoming embarrassing.”

“We all work for the NFL shield, and it’s unfortunate for the game to get called the way it did last night. And especially that situation. I don’t even understand it, honestly. How you could miss a call like that?” Gonzalez said.

“Hopefully that is the tipping point, and I do believe it is,” he added. “I would like to think that they’re going to get something done by the end of this week or early next week, because it’s getting to a point now where you can’t have that. It’s a black eye. Everybody’s talking about it.”

Packers guard T.J. Lang issued a series of profanity-laced tweets accusing the replacement referees of taking the game from his team.

“Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs,” Lang tweeted minutes after the game.

Here’s another from Lang:

Packers coach Mike McCarthy declined to specifically address the call in his post-game news conference but said later that he had "never seen anything like that in all my years in football."

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers called the officiating "awful."

Coming away with a close win, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was less critical.

"From what I understand from the officials, it was a simultaneous catch, that's how they called it," Carroll told reporters. "Tag goes to the runner. Good call."

But he said it's sill time for the dispute to end.

"It's a very, very complex process to handle these games and make the decisions, and there's nothing easy about it," he said. "And it takes years and years of experience to pull it off properly and in a timely fashion and to keep the flow of the game alive and all of that, and it's just time for it to be over."

The Seahawks receiver who scored, Golden Tate, had this to tweet:

A celebrating Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t address the controversy directly in this tweet:

Some Seahawks fans weren't appreciating any notions that their team, whose defense sacked Rodgers eight times, didn't deserve the win. Some said the Packers benefited from bad calls, too.

Still other Seahawks fans didn't want to hear about blown calls by replacement referees, saying that they believe regular referees made questionable calls that helped the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Seattle in the 2006 Super Bowl.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney weighed in, saying he would introduce legislation against holding sporting events officiated by replacement referees.

"This past weekend in the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety," Sweeney said in a statement released by his office Tuesday morning. "We wouldn't allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees. Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?"

Here are some more Twitter reactions from NFL players and other athletes and celebrities:

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees:

Packers receiver Greg Jennings:

Packers tight end Tom Crabtree:

Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders:

NBA star LeBron James:

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban:

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit:

Golfer and 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson:

Comedian Frank Caliendo:

Comedian Julian McCullough:

Singer Pete Yorn

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Smuck7

    It's too many rules in the game as it is . it has become a game of penalty flags. Soon the game will become a game on which ref looks good at throwing the most flags

    September 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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