The controversial play that ended the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks September 24 Monday Night Football game created so much publicity that even those who aren’t attracted to gridiron madness were drawn into the fray. It seemed that just about everyone – in and out of football circles — had some sort of opinion or comment regarding what appeared to be a Green Bay interception but was ruled by the replacement officials a winning TD catch by Seattle’s Golden Tate.
In addition, the temp referees also failed to issue an offensive pass interference citation against Mr. Tate that occurred right in front of them, and that was probably noted by every football playing youth above the age of 10. Tabloids – among other print/online media outlets — referred to the last minute “Hail Mary” aerial as a “Fail Mary”, and a number of electronic media talking heads were beside themselves out of concern for the sanctity of pro football. While their concern is understandable – although the ESPN SportsCenter anchor saying she was depressed seems to be taking things a bit too far — it appeared that the general outrage regarding the fill-in officials’ calls and miss-calls made for great theatre. This production, as it were, significantly added to the sport’s ability to entertain us and divert our attention from the trials and tribulations of everyday life and challenges.
There’s nothing better than watching folks jump up and down in sheer glee or disgust in reaction to the fun and games that entertain us. With apologies to those who lost a sum of money betting with the Packers, this is hardly the end of the world as we know it. In addition, don’t believe for one moment that fans of the NFL were considering a boycott of their favorite teams, players, or game day watering holes or restaurants. The league was never in danger of losing a large number of fans.
So, the demise of the National Football League remains a rumor, especially now that the league has come to terms on a new contract with the regular referees. But even if the “replacement refs” were to continue suiting up, we all would have continued to follow this pro football season to its logical conclusion at the Super Bowl. In fact, the regular officials’ return to the gridiron has cost us an intriguing, if bothersome, story line to this 2012 pro football campaign. Not to mention a potentially explosive summary to a handful of games.