New York, NY (Sports Network) - The NFL issued a statement Tuesday that
supported its replacement officials following the controversial finish in
Seattle's 14-12 win over Green Bay on Monday.
While the NFL said Seattle receiver Golden Tate should have been called for
offensive pass interference before being credited with a catch for the winning
touchdown -- a call that would have ended the game in Green Bay's favor -- the
league supported the field officials' ruling of simultaneous possession and
the decision to uphold the on-field call upon video review.
On the final play of the game, Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings appeared
to corral Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson's desperation heave to the back
of the end zone, with Tate also getting his arms on the ball.
One official ruled it a touchdown on simultaneous possession, which is always
awarded to the offensive player, although another official appeared set to
call it an interception and a touchback. The touchdown ruling stood, but the
referee never conferred with the two officials in the end zone and went to a
The league's statement follows:
"When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined
that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball," the league wrote
Tuesday. "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."
The rule of simultaneous catch states that it is not considered simultaneous
if one player "gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint
Replays appeared to show that Jennings first had control and Tate quickly
followed, but it was not ruled that way on the field.
Monday's bizarre conclusion, along with several other notable gaffes during
the first three weeks, has fueled the call from players, coaches and fans for
the NFL to end its lockout of the regular officials.
Reports have indicated that the league and the Referees Association met over
the weekend without coming close to a resolution.
The Sports Network