The NFL backed its replacement officials Tuesday on the Seattle Seahawks’ controversial touchdown catch Monday night, announcing that it would not overturn the outcome of the team’s last-second win over the Green Bay Packers. But it said the officials botched a call on the same play that would have ended the game with a victory by the Packers.
In a written statement, the league said it agreed with the decision by an on-field replacement referee that there was “no indisputable visual evidence” to reverse the ruling that Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate and Packers safety M.D. Jennings caught the ball simultaneously.
The play almost immediately intensified calls for the NFL to put its regular officials back on the field. Replacement officials have worked the first three weeks of NFL games, with the members of the NFL Referees Association locked out by the league in a labor dispute.
The league did say the game-winning touchdown should have been nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty on Tate for pushing Green Bay defensive back Sam Shields prior to the catch. A flag for that infraction would have ended the game. But the failure of replacement officials to make that call is not reviewable and the result of the game will stand, the league said in its statement.