The ire around football at the struggles of the replacements had been steadily building this season, and it reached an apex Monday with what everybody had feared would happen: a highly questionable call deciding a game.
Even President Barack Obama got in on the conversation Tuesday, tweeting: “NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon.”
On his weekly appearance on Seattle radio station 710 KIRO-AM, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made no apologies Tuesday, saying, “The league backed it up and game over, we win.”
“Golden makes an extraordinary effort. It's a great protection; it's a great throw. It's a great attempt at the ball and he wins the battle,” he said. “They were right on the point looking right at it, standing right over the thing and they reviewed it. Whether they missed the push or not — obviously they missed the push in the battle for the ball — but that stuff goes on all the time.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy and players were stoic after the loss, though some vented on Twitter. Offensive lineman Josh Sitton tweeted sarcastically Tuesday: “So…according to the NFL the refs got the call correct?”
The NFL locked out the officials in June after their contract expired. Unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, the league opened the season with replacements, most with experience only in lower levels of college football.
Las Vegas oddsmakers said $300 million or more changed hands worldwide on the call. The Glantz-Culver line for the game opened favoring the Packers by 4 1 / 2. Had the play been ruled an interception, Green Bay would have won by 5.
The call also found its way into Wisconsin political debate, with Republican Gov. Scott Walker tweeting for the regular officials to return. Opponents noted that he seemed to be supporting the referees union after going after public employee unions last year, though Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach added: “we're all fans, first and foremost.”