Even before Monday night’s Packers-Seahawks game, the officiating lockout had reached a tipping point. Casual, Super-Bowl-only fans were buzzing about the brouhaha, and the NFL’s “remain calm . . . all is well . . . ALL IS WELL!” mantra was regarded as laughable.
But the NFL had been lucky. No game had been decided by a bad call in a decisive moment.
So much for that.
The Packers lost a game they should have won because the replacement officials failed to call what happened on a last-second Hail Mary an interception by the Packers. Instead, the officials deemed it to be a Golden Tate touchdown — and all hell broke loose thereafter.
The call was so shocking that few are even mentioning the blatant push-off from Tate, which immediately preceded the arrival of the ball.
It amounts to anarchy in the NFL, and it will get worse as Tuesday unfolds. Even employees of the NFL’s in-house media company have started to break ranks, with NFL Network fantasy football analyst Adam Rank tweeting, “Well, now it’s time for WWE RAW, where at least I know what I’m getting from the officiating.”
The NFL’s official Twitter account actually retweeted Rank’s rip — and then deleted it.
We’ll have much to say about this one as the day unfolds. But there’s really nothing the NFL can say, or do, at this point other than to work out a deal with the locked-out officials, bring them back to work, and move on.
The league took a calculated risk, and it failed. The sooner the NFL owns up to its mistake, the sooner the league can begin to scrape off the shield the stuff about which Ravens fans were incessantly chanting on Sunday night.
In Green Bay, bringing back the officials may not be enough. A vocal and spirited and zealous fan base has been stirred up by last night’s debacle. Anything other than an apology from the league office could make Commissioner Roger Goodell as popular in Wisconsin as he is in Louisiana.
And then there’s the question of whether the NFL will change the outcome of the game. During last Friday’s PFT Live, an astute reader asked via Twitter if the NFL would wipe out a game-deciding error by the officials. I explained that it would be possible only if a horrible call that determined the outcome occurred on the final play of the game.
That’s what happened last night — and the next question becomes whether the NFL will consider doing what everyone except Seattle fans would consider the right thing and wipe the touchdown off the board and call the final score Packers 12, Seahawks 7.