Who Really Blew It in Last Night’s Seahawks-Packers Game?

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So, um, football. By chance, I tuned into last night’s Packers-Seahawks game with six seconds left to play. And that turned out to be plenty! One Hail Mary later it was the blown call heard round the world, leading to an improbable Seahawks victory and a million outraged tweets about the incompetence of the replacement refs and the greediness of the NFL.

All of which I agree with.1 But I do have a question here. The call on the field2 didn’t seem wildly outrageous to me. The two refs were far enough away from the scrum that they couldn’t see who caught the ball first, and by the time they ran over it probably looked like simultaneous possession to them and therefore a Seattle reception. That’s a mistake, but frankly, it’s hardly the worst on-field mistake I’ve ever seen. These things happen.

But in replay, it was obvious that it was a Green Bay interception. So the real problem here is with the replay official who didn’t overturn the ruling on the field. But the replay officials aren’t replacement refs. They’re the same folks as always.

As it happens, I don’t care much about pro football, and I definitely don’t care much about the Seahawks and the Packers. So maybe I’m viewing this whole thing with more equanimity than it deserves. But I’m curious: who really blew it here? Seems to me it’s more the replay official than the replacement refs. What am I missing?

UPDATE: OK, I see my problem. In college ball, there’s a separate replay official who reviews calls. That’s what I’m used to. In pro ball, the replay official merely signals the referee on the field, and it’s the referee who reviews the play. So it was replacement refs who blew the initial call, and a replacement ref who blew the replay call. Sorry about the confusion.

1Seriously, I do. This is just a question about the blown call at the end of last night’s game.

2I’m talking only about the question of who caught the ball here. For the time being, I’m ignoring the missed offensive interference call.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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