Mass hysteria has broken out in the NFL after last night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers and the botched call that cost Aaron Rodgers team the game.
While many fans, coaches and critics are blaming the blown call on the replacement referees, the day after Monday night’s game is playing host to an all-out bashing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on social media and sports network television.
Players and celebs have taken to sights like Twitter and Facebook to express their frustration with the commissioner who some say is standing around while the most popular sports league in the country is being made a mockery of.
@nflcommish should hold a news conference tomorrow and apologize to #Packernation for this abomination,” tweeted CNN analyst Roland Martin.
“Goodell's NFL is a mess right now. A joke. A punch line," wrote sports columnist Dan Wetzel.
In one of the most popular tweets, Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach tweeted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's office phone number, saying in a separate tweet that if the ending Monday did not spark an end to the lockout "this season will be a joke."
The last straw in the dissatisfaction of refereeing in the 2012 season thus far came on Monday night as the Packers beat the Seahawks at in a 14-12 win that featured one of the most bizarre finishes in the history of the game.
In a game that came down to one and final play, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Golden Tate. While Tate shoved one Green Bay defender out of the way and wrestled another for the ball after it had already been caught by Packers safety M.D. Jennings, The crew of replacement officials agreed that Tate caught the pass.
"We both had possession of it. I don't even know the rule but I guess the tie goes to the receiver," Tate said in press conference after the game.
Asked later if he got his hands on Wilson's pass first, Tate wasn't so sure.
"I think so. ... Oh, well maybe he did. But I took it from him," Tate said.
The now infamous pass was initially ruled on the field as a touchdown, but reviewed even after the play. Referee Wayne Elliott eventually came out from under the hood and announced "the ruling on the field stands." CenturyLink Field erupted in celebration.
"Don't ask me a question about the officials," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said in a press conference after the game. "I've never seen anything like that in all my years in football."
"I know it's been a wild weekend in the NFL and I guess we're part of it now," he said.
The mockery of a call came after a frantic drive in which Seattle had previously missed on a fourth-down attempt from the Green Bay 7 with 2 minutes left. The turnover on downs had seemingly sealed an impressive second-half comeback for Rogers, who had been sacked eight times, and the Packers.
"I was just trying to keep possession of the ball. The guy who was fighting me for it, he's strong. I was just trying to hold onto it until our guys pulled them off of me," Tate said. "I didn't know if they called touchdown, interception, incompletion. I didn't know what was going on. Couldn't hear anything and I just tried to keep fighting for the ball."
According to ESPN, Elliot told a pool reporter after the game that the play was ruled as simultaneous possession that was confirmed by the replay official.
"They both possessed it," Elliott said.
Seattle players ran with the call by celebrating instantly and even running off the field before they went for the extra point.
"From what I understood from the officials it was a simultaneous catch. Tie goes to the runner. Good call," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Rodgers had quite a different opinion.
"It was awful. Just look at the replay. And then the fact that it was reviewed, it was awful," he said. "That's all I'm going to say about it.
"We shouldn't have been in that position."
Several Packer players including offensive guard T.J. Lang vented their frustration with the call via Twitter, even challenging the NFL to "fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs."
“Any player/coach in Seattle that really thinks they won that game has zero integrity as a man and should be embarrassed,” Lang tweeted not long after.
Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman tweeted "These games are a joke," while NBA MVP LeBron James tweeted "I simply just LOVE the NFL to much to see these mistakes. I'm sick like I just played for the Packers"