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updated: 9/25/2012 7:55 PM

Please, enough already with these NFL 'officials'

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  • Officials signal after Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pulled in a last-second pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on Monday night in Seattle. The touchdown call stood after review.

    Officials signal after Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pulled in a last-second pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to defeat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on Monday night in Seattle. The touchdown call stood after review.
    Associated Press


I said it last week, I'll say it again this week, and I'll continue to say it until Commissioner Roger Goodell grows a spine and a conscience and rids the NFL of the replacement officials that have given the game a black eye.

Monday night's travesty has to be the tipping point.

The current replacement officials cannot be allowed to officiate another game. Their total lack of competence cost the Green Bay Packers a victory in what was by many accounts the worst officiated NFL game in history.

The officiating has been a joke all season. Now that a game has been wrongfully decided by these cartoon characters in stripes, maybe the sanctimonious, phony commissioner and the arrogant owners will decide enough is enough.

It boggles the mind how it could have been ruled on the field that cheap-shot artist Golden Tate (check out his blindside block vs. the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2) caught the final pass in the end zone.

What's even more incredulous is that the call was upheld on review by league employees upstairs. Packers safety M.D. Jennings had both hands on the ball and had it clutched to his chest while in midair and then when he landed on his back in the end zone.

Even before Jennings made the "interception," Tate blatantly shoved Packers cornerback Sam Shields in the back, taking him out of the jump-ball equation as Russell Wilson's Hail Mary pass descended.

Unfortunately, that infraction is not reviewable. But it was so obvious it should have been called on the field, ending the game.

Not only did this across-the-board incompetence cost the Packers a victory, it eventually may cost them a playoff berth and conceivably a Super Bowl title.

How does Goodell explain that? How does that contribute to the integrity of the game that the two-faced Goodell is so fond of discussing?

How do Goodell and the other owners explain to the Packers and their fans that a league with revenues of $9 billion has undermined the entire legitimacy of that operation because of a $3 million discrepancy in pension money for the finest officials in professional sports?

The Monday night game was embarrassment to the NFL long before the final play.

Earlier, Shields was grabbed around the neck and dragged down by Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice. Incredibly, Shields was called for pass interference.

Had the replacement officials been working the Bears game in the 1980s when Packers defensive end Charles Martin tossed Jim McMahon headfirst into the ground after the whistle, they probably would have flagged McMahon for unnecessary roughness.

The replacement officials called 24 penalties Monday night for a total of 245 yards, many of them unnecessary. But they missed the most important one, the one that decided the outcome.

Those 245 yards in penalties were 7 more yards than the Seattle Seahawks had in total offense and just 23 less than the Packers accumulated.

Penalties accounted for 9 first downs Monday night, a number that's difficult to comprehend, unless you watched the Sunday night Ravens-Patriots game, in which 13 first downs were awarded by penalties. In that game, there also were 24 penalties called, totaling 218 yards.

These are not isolated instances. The Jets-Dolphins game featured 20 penalties for 173 yards. The Jaguars-Colts game had 17 penalties for 173 yards. The Cowboys and Bucs combined for 23 penalties and 174 yards in walk-offs.

Last season, with regular officials -- and by regular, I mean competent -- the average game had 12.8 infractions called and 108 yards in penalties.

Apparently, the replacements have been instructed that more is better.

They have been misled, just as all fans and players have been misled by a commissioner who has done more to damage the game in three weeks than any of his predecessors did in their careers.

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