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Controversial call wrapup: Rodgers calls NFL's support of winning TD "garbage"

The SportsXchange

The NFL ruled Tuesday that the result of Seattle's controversial 14-12 victory over Green Bay on Monday will stand, even saying it supported the ruling of the replay official who confirmed the game-winning touchdown.

The NFL's statement elicited another round of reactions, including Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers calling the NFL's explanation "garbage" during a radio program Tuesday, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll saying it was "cool" the league confirmed the catch.

Replays seemed to indicate that Packers cornerback M.D. Jennings had possession of the game-winning pass in the end zone, but referees awarded the catch to Seattle's Golden Tate after the two wrestled for the ball on the turf. One official signaled touchdown, the other signaled timeout, indicating an end to the play.

Although the replacement referees are being blamed for the gaffe on the field, the replay officials who reviewed the play were not replacements but rather full-time league employees.

In any case, the NFL issued the following statement on Tuesday:

"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."

Rodgers was careful in his choice of words after the game, saying only it was "awful," but he was more outspoken on his weekly radio show on ESPN Milwaukee on Tuesday, according to NFL.com.

"I think first of all, I've got to do something that the NFL is not going to do and apologize to the fans," Rodgers said on the radio program. "The product that is on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials. The games are getting out of control. Like I said in the first week, I'm OK with the replacement refs as long as they don't have a direct impact on the game."

After reading the NFL's Tuesday statement, Rodgers said, "I call bull on that. Because they say 'officials.' No. There was zero communication between them."

Regarding the league's rationalization of a simultaneous catch, Rodgers said, "That's garbage, obviously ... They're covering their butt here."

Meanwhile, Carroll had a very different reaction in an interview with the NFL Network.

Asked whether he thought Tate made the catch, Carroll said, according to NFL.com, "Yeah, and I think it's cool that the league thought that, too. It's very questionable, it's a very questionable call to make. But it's simultaneous when they hit the ground. Up in the air, it looked like the DB had the advantage, but when they got to the ground, it's a matched-up catch, and it's a very hard one to call. We were fortunate the call went our way. But you've got to say the league reviewed it and said they agreed with what was called on the field, they just missed the pass interference."

The NFL and representatives from the NFL Referees Association held face-to-face talks in a fourth straight day of negotiations on Tuesday. But according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, a chasm remains between the locked-out officials and the NFL over pension and the number of reserve crews on watch as replacement optional replacements should any official be rated as underperforming.

The controversial touchdown resonated in a big way with gamblers.

The Packers were 3 1/2-point favorites who would have covered the spread and won by five without the final touchdown.

With the Seahawks winning by two, the estimated money swing according to one sports book was as much as $200 million to $250 million worldwide, ESPN.com reported.

Some estimates from online services believe the impact was even greater.

New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney has seen enough controversial officiating in the NFL and will introduce legislation to ban replacement referees from professional sports the wake of Monday night's controversial ending to the game in Seattle.

He was certainly not the only one upset.

Packers guard Josh Sitton could be in hot water with the league after he didn't hold back with tweets strewn with R-rated language.

"The nfl needs to come to gb and apologize to us for (expletive) us! These refs r bums!" and "That was (expletive). This is getting ridiculous! The NFL needs to get the (locked-out) refs back bfr we strike and they make no money!"

Sitton told "The Jim Rome Show" on Tuesday that the NFL isn't concerned about players, or player safety, and feels little urgency to end the lockout.

"I don't think they care," he said. "They know the type of business we have and they know fans are going to keep showing up. There needs to be something done. I wish I had an answer. If I could go on strike, I fricking would just to end this crap. I don't know if we can, we probably can't because of the CBA, but I wish there was an answer. I don't think they care, they flat-out don't care."

President Barack Obama even weighed in saying on Twtter, "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon. -bo"
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