Lance Easley, the replacement side judge who ruled that Seahawks receiver Golden Tate and Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings simultaneously possessed the final pass of the game on Monday night — handing Seattle an undeserved win — stands by his call.
“It was the correct call,” Easley told TMZ. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Unfortunately, in defending the call, Easley seemed to indicate that he still doesn’t understand the NFL’s rules on simultaneous possession.
“You have to not only have the ball but have either two feet or a body part on the ground, and that never happened,” Easley said.
But that’s not what the rules of the NFL say. The rules say, “It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control.” So Jennings didn’t need to have possession with either two feet or a body part on the ground. He just needed to have control of the ball first and then possession.
Easley also said he isn’t pleased that he has become the focal point of all the complaints about the officiating in the NFL.
“I don’t appreciate the negative stuff,” he said.
In that respect, I’m sympathetic to Easley’s point of view. For starters, it should be noted that Easley isn’t the only one who deserves blame. He was one of two officials right on top of the play, and the other official didn’t signal either that it was an interception or that it was a touchdown. Just because the other official was too timid to call anything doesn’t mean Easley deserves all the blame for making the call. And, of course, the referee chose not to reverse the touchdown call on replay. The NFL has backed the ref’s decision, but few outside Seattle and the league office agree with that.
More importantly, the reality is that the replacement officials were thrown into a difficult job with inadequate training. If you’ve got a problem with that (and I do), you should have a problem with the people who put the officials in that position (and I do).
Overall, Easley defends the work that he and his fellow replacements did.
“We did a damn good job . . . for the most part,” Easley said.
Maybe. But good for the most part is not good enough.