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NFL upholds disputed call in Seahawks’ win over Packers

Updated: September 25, 2012 11:05PM

Advantage: Locked-out NFL referees.

Even with a mass of voice and e-mails sent to the league offices in the wake of the controversial 14-12 Seattle Seahawks last-second win over Green Bay, the NFL came out on Tuesday and reaffirmed the ruling that the Hail Mary catch by Seattle receiver Golden Tate should not have been overturned.

They did concede that Tate should have been called for pass interference before the catch, but that did little to change the fact that if there weren’t questions about the replacement referees and the league continuing to use them before the Monday night fiasco, there were now.

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

It was on the final play of the “Monday Night Football’’ game that Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw the desperation pass to the corner of the end zone with his team trailing 12-7. Packers safety M.D. Jennings jumped up with Tate, and appeared to have full control of the football when he hit the ground.

“It was pinned to my chest the whole time,’’ Jennings told reporters afterward.

Two officials came in on the play, and while one seemingly was signaling for the clock to stop on a change of possession touchback, Lance Easley signaled touchdown, giving Seattle the win.

The NFL did admit on Tuesday that Easley had four years of officiating experience, but none above the Division III level.

The outrage of the players and fans were felt on Tuesday, with Ravens safety Ed Reed telling Baltimore reporters, “It’s an integrity part of the game that they expect the players to uphold – protect the shield. They don’t protect the shield when it comes to the owners and everybody else getting the money.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did meet with representatives of the locked-out officials on Tuesday, but that meeting was scheduled before the chaos of Monday night.

As it stands right now, the two sides are still holding firm, which means a fourth week of replacement refs is on the docket. Coincidentally, the next Monday night game is when the Bears travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys.

Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was asked about the replacement referees last week, and with there being very few standout moments in the three games the Bears have played, Urlacher wasn’t about to add gas to the fire.

“I don’t want to be one of those guys that talks about it because I’m tired of hearing about it,’’ Urlacher said. “But they’re doing the best they can. We haven’t had any issues in our games. I think there are less penalties called this year, from what I’ve been hearing on TV, but I think they’re doing the best they can. It feels like the games are going on longer because there are so many reviews. There were like eight reviews against Green Bay, but they’re getting them right, they’re trying to get them right, which is all you can ask for.’’

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