Ex-NFL referee reacts to Seahawks' win over Packers

September 25, 2012 (CHICAGO)

With Seattle trailing and needing a touchdown, the Seahawks' quarterback heaved the ball into the end zone. Many thought it was a Green Bay interception, but not the officials.

The replay seemed to show Seattle's receiver pushing a defender and then wrestling for the ball after it was intercepted. But officials ruled it a simultaneous catch which goes to the offense. And after reviewing the tape, the Packers couldn't believe it.

"It was awful. Just look at the replay," said Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback.

In a statement, the NFL acknowledged the Seahawks receiver should have been flagged for interference.

However, "The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today," said the league, "and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review ... The result of the game is final."

Retired referee Jerry Markbreit spent 20-plus seasons as a head NFL ref.

"It tarnishes the entire officiating community in every sport," said Markbreit. "They have as imposters come in and tried to do the job that these guys have spent their whole adult life learning how to do."

The on-field controversy has shined a spotlight on off-the-field contract talks between the league and its union referees who've been locked out all season over pay and pension issues.

"The heat got turned up. Now there's a lot more pressure on the NFL, but I don't know that it's enough pressure for the NFL now to back down," said Eldon Ham, sports law attorney.

President Obama wrote on Twitter, "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon."

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a Packer fan, also weighed in. "Unlike the Seattle Seahawks last night, we want to deserve this victory," he said.

In a statement, the NFL Players Association said the league's decision to lock out union refs jeopardizes the health and safety of players. It's also affecting those who bet on NFL games.

It's estimated $300 million gambling dollars changed hands as a result of the Packers losing and Seahawks winning.

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