Westchester Reacts To NFL Referee Controversy

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Replacement referees in the NFL made a controversial call in the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.
Replacement referees in the NFL made a controversial call in the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. Photo Credit: Flickr user purpleslog

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – The replacement officials in the NFL took center stage at the end of the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

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Do you think the ending of the Packers-Seahawks game will be a tipping point in the NFL referee negotiations?

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On the final play of the game, with the Seahawks trailing 12-7, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings and Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate both went up for the ball, and Jennings appeared to have an interception. Tate managed to get an arm on the ball before the two men hit the ground, but after Jennings initially caught the ball.

The referees ruled the play a touchdown after a few moments of debate and confusion.

Replay official Howard Slavin called for a review, and referee Wayne Elliott upheld the call on the field. Seattle won the game, 14-12.

The NFL has locked out the regular referees thus far in the 2012 season and has used replacement officials, mostly from the high school and Division III collegiate levels, in the first three weeks of the season.

Salary, pensions and other benefits have been sticking points in the negotiations between the referees union and the league.

After Monday night, some people have had enough of the whole situation.

The result angered Dave Antonelli, a longtime high school official who now works as a Yonkers Recreation Department supervisor. He blames the team owners for the situation.

“The owners are set in their ways. This comes down to saving chump change in a multibillion-dollar business,” Antonelli said. “The end of that game (Monday) night was so hard to watch, and I had just a pedestrian fan interest in the outcome.”

Antonelli expressed fear about the Eagles-Giants game Sunday night and had some strong words for the league.

“The owners’ product is being adversely affected and they won't budge,” Antonelli said. “The NFL is as close to unwatchable as it's going to get.”

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As the old saying goes, "the sqeaky wheel gets the attention." Many fans are irate if you listen to talk radio because as one said, "This situation is now threatening the integrity of the game." I hope they go back son.

I watched four or five games (or parts of them) on Sunday and Monday, and the reffing looked OK to me. Solid, but sometimes a bit slow. Slowness is a part of the game.

Even the disputed final play on Monday was reviewed "upstairs" by NFL rules experts and the final call was theirs. A lot was going on, and it looks like the receiver was interfered with on the way down, anyway with all that they made the final call.

I think the replacements refs are getting better week by week and are already good enough. I can't respect the obviously one-sided comments by the players' union and most of the broadcasters.

People in general have difficulty in dealing with the role of chance in life. Sometimes dreadful loses are attributed to God's plan. Good outcomes come from God's smiles.

Football is a game, a wonderful one, because it tests skill, like the play of Tom Brady and luck, like the the catch by Tyree. A 'Hail Mary Pass" combines the aspects of skill, throwing a ball a long way and making a catch, with luck, who will come down with the ball or will the ball fall to the ground. Luck usually dominates "Hail Mary" passes by tautology.

Part of the game of football and other sports is the interplay of the skill of the officials and the chance of a wrong call. Nobody can prove that "regular" referees would have definitely got the call right on Monday night. Remember the ref who deprived a man of a no-hit game with a wrong call. The ref apologized profusely when replay proved his error. The pitcher accepted the apology and the game, another wonderful game, continues.

By golly, the union talking points are blaring away. My wife works hard for her roughly $20,000 gross pay as a home health aide. I have trouble emphasizing with the demand for more from guys who get $125,000 a year for part time work.

I would love to for this to be the tipping point, but I just cannot see the NFL conceding and giving pension to part-time employees. I hope I'm wrong, though. I mean, the NFL might be right in principle, but they are quickly losing leverage. They should probably just bite the bullet on this one.

The NFL owners are like an oil cartel -- they have a monopoly and will never give in unless they have the advantage on both ends of the deal. But the officiating is a little scary.