GREEN BAY - After a controversial ending to the Packers - Seahawks game Monday, the NFL says the referees' on-field ruling stands.
Tuesday morning, the league released its reasoning behind what took place, saying, "no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood," giving the Seahawks a 13-12 lead with no time left on the clock.
Facing a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 and seconds remaining in Monday night's game, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary pass into the end zone.
Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground.
Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings went up for the ball – where Tate can be seen attempting to wrestle possession away from Jennings.
In the statement, the NFL said the reviewable parts of the play were: 1) If the ball hit the ground? and 2) Who had possession of the ball?
The officials ruled the last play was a simultaneous catch.
In the field of play, such a call is not reviewable. But in the end zone, it is.
The NFL says it reviewed the video and supports the decision to let the call stand. After reviewing the play Monday night, referee Wayne Elliott determined there was not enough evidence to overturn the call.
"When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball," said the release. "Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown."
In the NFL rulebook a simultaneous catch is defined as (Rule 22.214.171.124): "If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control."
However, the league did say a penalty should have been called for offensive pass interference on Tate, which would have ended the game.
But because the pass interference wasn't called, it's not open for review.
But that hasn't stopped some from citing NFL rules saying Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to "investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures."
We did a FOX 11 Fact Check.
The NFL Rulebook says the Commissioner has "…the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which he deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game." –Rule 17.2.1
When asked about that rule, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, in an email, cited another rule saying:
"The Commissioner will not apply his authority in cases of complaints by clubs concerning judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials. Games involving such complaints will continue to stand as completed." –Rule 17.2.2
He finished his email with the sentence, "The result of the game is final."
FOX 11 requested an interview with Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. Our request was denied.
Calls in to the Packers Executive Committee members were not returned, or members declined comment, referring back to the organization.
There's not much NFL employees – including players – can do or say about the officiating.
NFL rules prohibit employees from criticizing officiating.
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