Monday night’s replacement ref defends call, works high school game

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Wayne Elliott has had a wild week.

On Monday night, he wore the white hat as the referee of the crew that bungled the Seahawks-Packers game.  On Friday night, Elliott worked a high school football game.

In the interim, Elliott says his phone has been ringing with calls from angry fans, telling him he should “commit suicide” and that he “should die.”

But he still believes it was the right call.

“The replay guy just said there is nothing here that we can use to overturn it. It’s going to stand,” Elliott told FOX7 in Austin.  (This confirm that, when it came to replay reviews during the lockout, non-replacement replay officials were actually usurping the authority of the on-field referees.)

As we recently explained, via the NFL’s rulebook and casebook, there was enough evidence to overturn the ruling on the field, because Packers safety M.D. Jennings had “control” of the ball before Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, which is the key factor regardless of what happens as they land on the ground and wrestle for the ball.  (Sorry, Seahawks truthers, but that’s the truth.)

Elliott also said he has “no regrets” about accepting the assignment as a replacement, and that it was “the most fun I’ve ever had.”

It was the most fun he’s had because he has been working as an official at the lower levels of the sport since 1978.  The fact that he hadn’t risen to the NFL or to a high-end college conference in the past 34 years tells us all we need to know about his overall skills.  As we’ve said time and again, if the replacements were among the best of the best, they would have been among those who were locked out.

Elliott declined to apologize to the fans of the Packers, explaining that if the call had gone the other way people would be asking if he should apologize to the Seahawks fans.

Scheduled to work the Vikings-Lions game in Week Four, Elliott said he wanted to “get the bad taste out of his mouth” from Monday night’s game — you know, the one for which he has nothing about which to apologize.

73 responses to “Monday night’s replacement ref defends call, works high school game

  1. It seems nobody wants to be accountable for this travesty and while the NFL knows it was a mistake doesn’t want to be “told” they need to make it right so, in effect, have flipped the fans off. It willl be interesting to see what kind of reception the Hags will get in St. Louis when they play. I would think Golden Tate would want this rectified as it is sure to follow him and tarnish his career…assuming he has one.

  2. I see you are going to continue to harass and ridicule the replacement refs untill the real ones screw up right? do you expect these guys just to listen to know it alls like your self crucify them at every turn and not defend themselves? they did the best they could and yea they sucked but they are gone now leave them alone already.

  3. Are you crazy? They can’t change a call a week later. Someone needs to define control for me. I don’t see control when rates left hand made contact with the ball first and never lost contact throughout the whole play. The first time I saw the play I thought interception but every replay and still photo I have seen looks like the right call. I even went and looked at the Austin and cromartie play and that looked more obvious of an interception and that went to the offense. I just don’t where everybody is getting “control”.

  4. Nobody would have asked him to apologize to Seattle fans if he called it the other way. 99% of Seattle fans know they got lucky, just won’t admit it.

    But I do agree with not handing the W back to GB. Then teams would end up petitioning every close call for a GW and trying to get it overturned as well. Too controversial.

  5. I thought Elliot was more or less fine. It was that baboon side judge Lance Easley who should be embarrassed. He called the phantom PI on Shields, then followed that up with the phantom TD for Tate.

  6. He had his dream come true kind of like a so called reporter from the sticks of W VA getting a shot at working for NBC.

    The out come as far as I can tell are about the same.

    The ref doing HS games will be same as when the great Florio goes back to working as a lawyer fight DWI and moon shine cases in the courts of who cares W VA.

    And yes I am standing up for the ref he was living the dream the one thing left out of this slam on the Ref is that he got the change and many many more did not.

    Why is he getting bashed he got the offer and he gave it his best shot would any of us refuse the chance to work at our profession at the highest level even if it was more then we could do?

    Yes we all know he was not an NFL ref but does that mean he did not give it his best.

    He can frame that NFL ref jersey like Florio can frame his NBC coffee mug.

  7. The fact that he hasn’t risen higher is utter crap written by somebody who doesn’t know how that happens! Please learn before writing such drivel! I’m sure he’s successful in his career & is an accomplished HS official & he is to be commended. They were over their heads as they had noBody on the crews who were veterans to lean upon. True pawns in every sense of the word. And I’m a Packers fan!

  8. Come on, Mike. Stop saying it is only Seahawks fans who believe that the regular refs wouldn’t have made that same call. They did last year in the Jets-cowboys game. I’m not a fan of either team, and thankfully did not have a wager on that particular game ,but I’ve talked to lots of fans who don’t believe it was a terrible call.

  9. Oh I forgot travesty. Seriously? A week three regular season game. If the packers can’t recover then it just wasn’t meant to be. Go talk to steelers fans. They still call us whiners about SB 40. That was a SB and those were the regular refs. I would offer you some of my sour grapes wine that I had leftover from SB 40 but I drank the rest of it on Monday night.

  10. Threatening the man’s life is over the line. He’s still wrong about the call, but apparently karma works well as he’s back calling high school games where he belongs.

  11. That game should be overturned as much as the tuck rule game, giants-49ers 2003 game, or giants packers game last year. In any of those games the leauge didn’t overturn the calls and the teams in question didn’t feel sorry for a darn thing as they shouldn’t. That’s what happens in this leauge. The refs make bad calls that decide the games and the fans are forced to live with it. So please everyone at ptf, quit whining. You sound as bad as the packers players who only wanna boycotte games when the refs don’t call in favor of them

  12. We all know high school games is where these guys should be officiating, but threatening lives and tossing the idea of suicide around like its a joke? Pathetic.

  13. Just remember the NFL agreed to terms with these refs before the season started, don’t be upset with the refs. Be upset with the league, it’s there own fault any of this ever happened.

  14. If he would have huddled with the back judge and got the call right the real refs would have still been locked out and my Raiders will still be on a even playing field with their opponents.

    Now the idiot real refs are back and now we’re back to watching flags being thrown after every other play…smh

  15. It’s over. There’s no reason to pile on this guy, who was simply well meaning, but in over his head. Unfortunately, in today’s world, piling on when people are down is what the media does best. It’s low hanging fruit for lazy reporters.

    Let’s all move along, and enjoy the rest of the Eason

  16. No one seems to pay enough attention to this play. Do you not see Tates LEFT hand between Jennings chest and the ball? That discredits any statement claiming Jennings had the ball against his chest. Therefore he didn’t have full control of the ball. Maybe 90% but even 10% gives the receiver a window of opportunity.

  17. I think it was the wrong call BUT Jennings didn’t have what the rulebook considers control before Jenkins wrestled with him and gained simultaneous possession.

    That’s why the REAL reviewers couldn’t overturn it.

    The real refs are back now and Tom Brady will determine when flags should be thrown.

  18. It’s ironic really. We have a bunch of journalists saying over and over to anyone who will listen how the replacement officials didn’t have the experience and credentials to officiate NFL games. And they are correct in this regard.

    But then without pausing for breath they give their ‘expert’ opinion on what constitutes control, possession and a catch and then give an unwavering opinion on exactly how these terms should be interpreted in a given situation.

    The replacement officials may not have the credentials to make these kind of calls at the highest level, but you know who have even less credentials? Journalists! Oh the irony, the bitter irony that I am being told that the last play of Monday nights game was an no-brainer, 100% interception by someone with far, far less knowledge about the rules of football than the person they are accusing of not having enough knowledge of the rules of football to make that call.

    The fact is I have read all the relevant rules and watched the replay over and over again and I still don’t know what the correct call is. Neither do all the fans up in arms about the call. And neither do you.

  19. Maybe he was having a ton of fun because last year he was doing radiation and chemotherapy in a fight for his life.

    But feel free to keep dehumanizing these guys.

  20. Elliott also said he has “no regrets” about accepting the assignment as a replacement, and that it was “the most fun I’ve ever had.”
    Ask him that in ten years.

  21. “Elliott declined to apologize to the fans of the Packers, explaining that if the call had gone the other way people would be asking if he should apologize to the Seahawks fans.”

    umm, negative on that. Do you want to know why? Because it was obvious even to my dogs that Jennings intercepted the ball.

    I’m sure the other replacement refs just love this guy. He cost them at least a couple more weeks of big paychecks. We all know that if it wasn’t for his horrible call, it would have taken at least 2 more weeks for the NFL and regular refs to come to an agreement.

  22. I’m not a Seahawks fan.

    It appears that, when the ball first touches the group, it lands on Tate’s hand. He CLEARLY closes his left hand on the ball. This happens a split-second before Jennings closes his hand on it. (There is a YouTube video showing all of this, slowed down and zoomed in.)

    There is NO RULE that states two hands are needed to establish control.

    There is NO VIDEO EVIDENCE that shows Tate’s left hand coming off the ball.

    He touches it first. He grabs it first. Jennings’ two hands do NOT negate Tate’s one hand. The call on the field should NOT have been overturned, and the call on the field was a split-second judgement call. You know, the calls that the “real” referees miss on a regular basis.

  23. This guy doesn’t need to apologize. He and all the other refs were put in a situation where they couldn’t know the intricacies of the rule book. He made the call he thought he should make. And he certainly doesn’t deserve to be told to go kill himself (horrible). The apologies should come from the league (the owners) for destroying the integrity of the game, the coaches like Jim Harbaugh who tried to cheat by using the replacement refs lack of knowledge to their advantage, and any players who decided to play dirtier or well outside the rules because they knew it wouldn’t be called. And the ref doesn’t even need to take the time to look up the rule to see if his call was right…because thankfully the real refs are back.

  24. The announcers said simultaneous catches were not reviewable (in terms of it was really simultaneous or not). They said all they could review is if the ball was caught.

    Idk if they were right, but if they were, that would explain why the replay guy told him theres nothing he could do to overturn it, because it def never touched the ground.

  25. The replacements did the best they could.The NFL is the bad guy here,hiring guys who had been fired from the lingerie league? what did they expect to happen? These guys did the best they could! if you want to blame somebody,blame the tight a$$ed team owners!

  26. Give it a rest. The replacements slowed the game down, but didn’t destroy the game. The packers call was wrong, but it was close (upstairs didn’t overturn it–why not address that?!?). Sore losers always think the refs screw up when close calls go the other way. I’m starting to think that a lot of sports writers had money on the game.

  27. as a life long packer fan, (56 years and counting), all i can say is get over it. every year there are at least 3-4 games that have bad calls. it is part of the game. live with it. the pack should have not been only 5 pts ahead at that point. they lost that game with their play, not with the refs

  28. You can’t say for certain that Jennings gets “control” first. Maybe more “control” initially but the rule book says nothing about degrees of control. Petty journalism at its finest …..Florio ladies and gentlemen

  29. “It was the most fun he’s had because he has been working as an official at the lower levels of the sport since 1978. The fact that he hadn’t risen to the NFL or to a high-end college conference in the past 34 years tells us all we need to know about his overall skills.”

    Wow, did you really just write that? What a douche bag comment to make about someone. I’m sure he’s not some RANDOM high school ref the NFL found on the street. I’m sure he is great at what he does, and for you to make that assessment about someone is just plain asinine.

  30. Wayne Elliott won’t apologize because he never actually made a call on that play.

    Two refs from his crew made different calls and it was his job to figure out what the right call actually was and make a call on the field.

    He never did.

    His call was, “the previous play is under review” but he never said what the call on the field actually was. He effed it up right at that point because no one knew then whether they were trying to overturn a TD or overturn an int.

    He presumed the one ref was right over the other. If he had conferred with them and come to a conclusion then it wouldn’t have been such a clusterfock.

    Sorry Wayne but you do need to apologize because you didn’t fulfill your responsibility and the entire officiating process on a game deciding call was screwed and that is on you.

  31. Vikings fans everywhere thank the Pack for taking the hit that got the refs back before the Vikings-Lions game! Most of us will even take that hit into consideration if it affects the season’s outcome. The Pack won that game. Very sorry guys. That really seems more like the decades long heart break of the Vikings!

  32. It’s called a game because it’s supposed to be a fun diversion from life. Death threats and encouraging suicide is just deplorable. Florio railing on a man in a public forum for not rising above HS level referee, though not nearly as bad, also deserves ridicule. HS referees are simply guys who love football making part time money while helping in their community. What was this replacement ref supposed to do when the NFL opportunity came along? Let this guy just fade back into obscurity without treating him like a pariah.

  33. I agree that threatening these guys lives is WAY over the top, but I’m also not buying into some of these ‘get off their back! They did the best they could!’ stuff. Florio’s right. It does say a lot that this particular ref never made it above high school ball in 34 years. And save the excuse that maybe he didn’t want to move above high school. He did or he wouldn’t have ran to the opportunity to call NFL games. Either that or it was a money grab. Either way they sucked. End of story. Thank god it’s over.

  34. The fact that two calls were made and a true call never made until the review is overrated. It’s gonna get reviewed anyway, its the last play of the game ! Duh.

  35. You can be a Packer hater..a Seahawk fan..whatever u are…you cannot legitimize the catch because you think Tate has his left hand on the ball and say he had “control” of the ball..put it this way…if MD was the receiver in this there would be NO doubt that he caught the ball with no control by Tate

  36. Just admit that you made a horrible call and move on! In my opinion, I believe that he made this call because he saw the official next to him raise his arms and he thought he was giving the TD signal! We teach our children to admit when they make a mistake but yet he won’t do it. I would respect this guy (he’s not a man) if he just admitted that he was wrong!

  37. Otis, go read the rulebook clown. You’ve obviously haven’t watched enough NFL games to realize one handed catches are made all the time . Who’s MD???

  38. Green Bay had possession of the football and the Seahawks had possession of the Green Bay player.

    That’s the only way to justify it – and the ref didn’t signal TD until he thought the other ref was about to do the same (which he didn’t)

    That being said, let’s not vilify these guys for taking the job that was offered. If they didn’t take it someone else would have and the start of the season could have been even worse. Hold Goodell and owners like Woody Johnson responsible for the impasse – not the replacement refs.

  39. Ed Hoculi-Broncos/Chargers Pat Moorelli – Troy Polomalu’s “Non”-INT vs Colts(IN THE PLAYOFFS) Vinny’s Green and White Helmet scoring a TD and knocking the Hawks out of the playoffs(play which brought Instant replay to the league) Super Bowl 40 Defensive PI not called against 9ers vs Giants-IN THE PLAYOFFS(cost the Giants chance to win with 30 yard field goal) All sorts of horrendous game/season ending/changing calls made by the “real” refs.

    These refs were in over their heads and did the best they could given severely limited prep time and no game experience. The blame goes squarely on the owners and “real” refs for their unreasonable demands on this one.

    As a Hawk fan, I can only say that it takes VERY thick homer glasses to see that play as anything but an INT. As soon as the Giants line up for that game winning field goal, I will start lobbying hard to get this W reversed.

  40. Some people are so stupid. REally wishing death on someone over a game? Morons out there. Anyway this ref is taking it in stride, and while they were in over their head they were put in an impossible situation. Thank the greedy owners for all this not the refs.

  41. Go to Cold Hard Football Facts and get some actual facts.

    Lobbing vitriol at a back-to-high-school ref from the upper floors of 30 Rock — one who’s receiving death threats in fact — is the real travesty, especially when you consider it was not too long ago that bloggers were considered the replacement refs of the sports journalism world.

  42. When I saw the play I thought it was a no-brainer interception, but after viewing the video and the breakdown at CHFF, I have to agree that it was probably the right call…I think it was accidentally the right call because in real time, it sure looks like a pick. However, Tate had his left hand on the ball before Jennings touched it, and it never moved off his left hand. One-handed catches do happen, you don’t need two hands to have control. As the player were falling, one of Jennings hands came off the ball and the only reason the ball didn’t fall to the ground is Tate’s left hand was holding against Jennings forearm. As crazy as it sounds, if you look at the case made by CHFF, you have to come away thinking it was a TD.


    This is not the first time a questionable call has decided a regular season football game. The Packers had many opportunities to put this game away and it’s their own fault that they didn’t. They shouldn’t have let Seattle hang around until the end.

    Go back to the Pittsburgh-Miami game in 2010 and see what happened at the end of that game. The referee in that game was a Pittsburgh native and the end result could have changed the landscape of Miami’s season and ultimately their Head Coach’s job.

    The beauty of a game-ending hail mary is that ANYTHING can happen, even a “blown call” by a ref. The Packers are 100% to blame for being in that position.

    As for the play itself, I have been looking for this “control” of the ball scenario that Florio keeps talking about and have yet to find it. The photo in the original post clearly shows MD Jennings DID NOT have control of the ball. If you watch the replay, you will clearly see the ball still moving after Jennings allegedly gained control of the ball. All before he gained possession with both feet inbounds.

    Packers fans will see what they want to see. Having a questionable call go the other team’s way is not unique, but for some reason, it’s such a major offense if it happens to Green Bay.

    And to dogpile on these replacement refs is ridiculous. They did not create this situation. The greedy regular refs did. If not for these replacement refs, we would have all had to wait until this week for the NFL seadon to begin. Blame the regular refs for that.

    And most importantly, blame the Packers for giving away the game.

  44. The “analysis” at “cold hard football facts” is an absolute joke. Obviously, there are a lot of Seahawks fans on here touting it, but the guy who wrote it is way, way, way off base. There are several other still shots which support a clear and decisive interception, and were available (I’m assuming) to him, and he failed to use them….

    Reading his “analysis” was more like reading a paper by someone looking for points to support a pre-determined conclusion.

    So, if you’re a Seahawks fan looking to read something favorable about the catch, go over their an read his take. Everyone else, I’d recommend avoiding it like the plague. It’s that bad.

  45. Sure, the replacement refs were terrible.

    BUT Packer fans are pathetic in they hypocrisy. The replacement refs gave the Packers two major bogus Pass Interence calls against the Seahags, with one of the penalties leading directly to the Packers only TD. Why do we not hear about that side of the lousy refs making calls in favor of the Packers?

    Packer fans are clueless since as Rogers said, the game should never have come dow to that one play. The Packers should have scored many more times to in order to win instead of playing so poorly that a bunch of errors by the replacement refs could have decided the game.

  46. I thought the catch/possession is not complete until the player completes the process. That being said its not a catch until the player hits the ground and maintains control….right? Can’t have possession in mid air. The problem is that the NFL needs to change some of the rules in regards to the replay. If its obvious that the wrong call has been made then they should be able to overturn it…just sayin.

  47. It was the correct call when you see the local tv angle fox 13 got in Seattle, sorry America, you are wrong

  48. you can neither have ‘control’ nor possession while the football is moving. if we have to go to super slow motion just to try to determine if the football is moving, and we are arguing over 1 hand vs two hands being control, then how can anyone possibly say with 100% certainty that its a interception? as the ref stated, not enough to overturn it. and yes i do believe if if was called an interception they wouldnt have over turned that either.

    whats so funny is that all of these fans screaming its an interception, if the Losing team had been the Patriots or Steelers, they would be siding with refs and saying, yep definite catch, i saw the ball moving, and you can have a one handed catch.

    i think that this is just like our jury system, where if theres reasonable doubt, then you have to go with what the ref called. and there is reasonable doubt jennings had “FULL” control, that the ball “wasnt” moving, BUT the two main facts we do have is both tate and jennings simultaneously had their left hands on the ball, and then both tried to put their other hand on it.

    It was just a perfect storm, and a perfect reason to get rid of the replacement refs.

    Like I said earlier, make the losing team the Pats or Steelers, and fans would scream it was the right call.

  49. They did review the play, but there wasn’t enough evidence to over turn the call. Teams get screwed by refs all the time, and any sportsman knows not to leave it in their hands. Most teams don’t act like giant babies wearing number 70 jerseys, even after being screwed.

    One of the first things athletes should learn is don’t leave it to the refs to decide the game. No Single Play is More Important Than The Others.

  50. The fact that this article states that it has been conclusively shown that Jennings had control first is complete garbage. This fact is in dispute. The call on the field said TD. Therefore, the video had nothing indisputable to overturn it.

    For one to say that Tate’s control wasn’t enough or insufficient, is coming to a disputed conclusion. Fact is the refs really didn’t mess up the call of simultaneous possession. Remember they made the ruling at real speed and the replay isn’t conclusive.

    Nothing the author of this article wrote tells me otherwise and the fact that there is a well thought out alternate view point written is pretty telling that simultaneous possession arguably occurred, thus unable to be overturned.

  51. Everybody’s tired of watching the Packers in the playoffs. I’d like to see the Seahawks get in for a change. Thanks to the replacement refs.
    And thanks for the bad call that got our regular refs back.

  52. ihatestupidpeople says: Sep 29, 2012 8:26 AM
    Cold hard football

    That site is an oxymoron to its name. They are only good at one thing, spinning statistics to whichever point of view they want (kind of like both Presidential campaigns)

  53. scoobaj says: Sep 29, 2012 4:16 PM

    It was the correct call when you see the local tv angle fox 13 got in Seattle, sorry America, you are wrong
    You have got to be kidding. Seattle is right and the nation is wrong? Is that what you are trying to tell yourself? Get a clue.

  54. Do all the cheeseheads who are in a lather over that call intentionally ignore the fact that one of the Packer’s earlier scores was largely due to another bad call – this one in Green Bay’s favor? What would have happened if Green Bay had won the game – would you Pack of hypocrites who are sending this man threatening phone calls be sending thank you notes instead ??

  55. The real travesty of this deal is the NFL’s attitude. They were/are willing to overlook bad calls during the game. The fact is that games can turn on one play. Bad calls on O-holding (mostly non-calls) give O-lines an advantage over D-lines. Non-calls on pass interference give D-backs an advantage. Players soon figure out what refs are watching and adjust their games to take advantage of it. These replacement refs made poor calls throughout nearly every game, but the NFL was willing to ignore bad calls until a “perfect storm” happened. A call on the last play of a game that determined who won or lost, on a prime-time game (MNF). What a way to respect the game and its fans.

  56. “It was the most fun he’s had because he has been working as an official at the lower levels of the sport since 1978. The fact that he hadn’t risen to the NFL or to a high-end college conference in the past 34 years tells us all we need to know about his overall skills.”

    You could be dead wrong in that one. I could easily triple my income by being an executive at a huge multinational corporation, but I’ve grown rather fond of my wife and kids and want to see them more than twice a week.

    You know what happens when you ASSUME, right? 🙂

  57. “The fact that he hadn’t risen to the NFL or to a high-end college conference in the past 34 years tells us all we need to know about his overall skills.”

    Wow… So I guess the fact the author of this article never got a judicial appointment, has not been offered a job to do journalism beyong commentary on someone elses reporting nor a won a Pulitzer is all we need to know about his skills in his last 2 careers?

    The cheap shots make you look petty Mike… Just stop

  58. Go to Cold Hard Football Facts and get some actual facts.

    The writer on that site spins an interesting tale, but it doesn’t match with reality. For one thing, he quotes the definition of a COMPLETION from the rule book and then tries to apply it to POSSESSION, which are two very different things. Touching the ground does not establish possession. The rule book actually states that a player must MAINTAIN possession until they touch the ground. MD caught the ball with two hands, brought it to his body, and held it there throughout the process of going to the ground. During that entire process, all Tate managed to do was touch the ball with his left hand, while flailing his right hand as he tried in vain to strip the ball from MD. Touching a ball does not equal possession, let alone control, otherwise 1/3 of all receptions would have to be ruled “simultaneous” because the defender managed to touch the ball as it was caught. At no point did Tate demonstrate any control over the ball until after they were already on the ground and wrestling for it. Conclusion: There was no simultaneous catch. A clearly blown call, regardless of what the hack at coldhard feels about it.

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