By Kevin Cowherd
The Baltimore Sun
9:30 AM EDT, September 25, 2012
Ho-hum, another game, another PR Hindenburg for the NFL. And this'll shock you. It had to do with the replacement refs again.
Of course, it's not like this one was nationally-televised or any -- oh, wait. Last night's Packers-Seahawks game WAS nationally-televised. Which makes that officiating debacle at the end of the Seahawks' debatable 14-12 win over Green Bay even more embarrassing.
And the NFL is worried that Ravens coach John Harbaugh bumped an official in Baltimore's flag-marred 31-30 win over New England the other night? And that Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared to grab a ref after the game?
Are you kidding? At this rate the league had better worry about coaches strangling officials over some of these calls.
My favorite part of the controversial final play, when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary pass that Packers safety M.D. Jennings appeared to intercept, only to have Seahawks receiver Golden Tate wrestle the ball from his grasp, was the comical sight of two officials converging on the play and giving two different hand signals.
One official ruled it a touchdown. The other waved his arms over his head in the time-out signal. And they were standing about a foot from each other. It would be funny, if it wasn't so pathetic.
The post-game reaction was predictable, too: angry tweets from the Packers, warnings of apocalypse from the pundits, calls for the immediate reinstatement of the former officials and blah, blah, blah.
But at NFL headquarters in New York, it's business as usual. The games are exciting, the stands are packed, TV ratings are great, so what's the big deal? That seems to be the league's approach to the appalling officiating we've seen the past three weeks.
The integrity of the game? Hey, let's not get all worked up over a little thing like that!
Just when you think the calls can't get any worse, you watch a game like last night's and sure enough, they get worse.
Maybe this was the game that makes the league come to its senses and bring the real refs back.
But I'm not holding my breath.
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