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The End

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I love the Seattle Seahawks. But they just won the worst refereed game in the history of the National Football League. After bogus call after bogus call, affecting both teams equally for most of the game, the final blow against the NFL lockout has just happened.

In a last second pass, Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw a pass that was “caught” by Golden Tate. By “caught” I mean the ball was obviously intercepted. But the refs called it for Seattle, end of game. Green Bay just lost a game because of scab referee incompetence.

This is a complete joke. Laughable. I know I thought the NFL wouldn’t let it get this far. And some have repeatedly pointed out I was wrong, even trying to say the scab refs weren’t that bad. And so who knows, the NFL leadership is so ideologically committed to not paying the referees a pension, that they could let their product go to complete shit. But this has gone way, way too far. This is now the story of the NFL season. If the Packers don’t get home field advantage in the playoffs, if they get a wildcard instead of a division championship, if they don’t make the playoffs by a game, the referees just cost the Packers.

PC: Check out this still frame of the “game winning touchdown catch.”

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  • Stan Gable

    that was awesome.

    • Nom de Plume

      I’m with you. Professional sports is seldom interesting to me anymore. I need something like this to get my interest. Fucking hilarious.

  • bobbyp

    Yes. At least when the Hawks were jobbed out of a Super Bowl, it was done by professionals.

    But truly awful refereeing…joke level. The commentators were really down on the refs. I posit what it will take to end this farce is more media darlings (Green Bay, Dallas, New England, et al) getting their asses handed to them by the scabs.

    You left out a “not” in your post. Check it out.

    • Jonathan

      New England’s recent loss to the Ravens was equally due to bad calls. There just wasn’t such a glorious, crowning, bad call to top off the game.

  • That was ludicrous.

    Most of that game was unwatchable. Most of the late game yesterday was unwatchable.

    Look, IANAE (I am not an economist), but if your LABOR is not IMMEDIATELY REPLACEABLE then management’s hand is forced.

    I can’t believe it has come this far. That was clearly the wrong call, and everyone knows it (except Russel W., who was “sure” it was a TD because he “felt” it).

    This is ruining their product for me. Fuck.

    • I will not watch another NFL game until the scabs are off the field. I am done.

      • Stan Gable

        I gotta think that’s the end of this. Folks arguing is one thing. Laughing is another matter altogether.

      • I am trying and failing to figure out how to contact the commissioner’s office. I’m sure they’re flooded with angry emails already, but I don’t care.

        I am about *this* close to where you are, Erik. Fuck!

        • Why watch such a clearly inferior product? I have a lot of other things I can do with my time.

          • I may have to more or less at random select a college team to root for and run errands on Sundays instead of Saturdays.

            I would hate that.

            It’s not just that the product’s inferior, it’s that the league (read: commissioner’s office) clearly has so little regard for the game, fans, integrity, history, player safety, and long-time refs it’s like being told “no, fuck YOU” by Roger Goodell.

            Repeatedly.

            I am hopeful but not really optimistic that this incident (well, like I said, really two entire prime-time games in a row) will spell the end of this fucking farce.

            • I recommend Oregon.

              • Of course you do.

                The saddest thing?

                After the game I immediately went to my office and logged on to LGM.

                • witless chum

                  The service academies run the funnest offenses.

            • Decrease Mather

              “Why watch an inferior product?” doesn’t lead one to watch the college game, which is massively inferior in quality of play (and has its own issues regarding unpaid players).

              • But the college game is great (outside of the unpaid labor issue) on its own terms. No, the players aren’t as skilled, but it’s a different issue.

                • bobbyp

                  Apologist. Now I shall have to invoke the Green Lantern theory of football…if only I can figure one out.

                  PS: The league is not “ideologically committed to paying the referees a pension.” After tonight they might be financially forced to do so, however. The blowback could be a stunning. We can only hope.

                • There’s a “not” missing in that quote of mine there. Kind of a key one too…..

                • I feel the same way about minor-league baseball, without the brain injuries and chronic joint problems.

              • which is massively inferior in quality of play

                This is objectively true (in my subjective opinion).

          • Timb

            Baseball playoffs?

        • JoshA

          He doesn’t tweet much, but his twitter is @nflcommish

        • Jordan

        • Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach tweeted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office phone number after the replacement officials mishandled the final play of the game.

          • Here’s that tweet:

            You can leave a message for nfl commish roger goodell at 212 450 2027

      • attaboy, erik! after the discussion last week, i decided i wasn’t going to write anything further in these discussions since i was clearly the only person who felt that the games imply should not be watched regardless of whether i was a nielsen household or not.

        so good for you for coming to the right conclusion: scabs suck, scab refs suck, games reffed by scabs suck, and there’s no reason to watch until legitimate refs are back on the field.

    • Halloween Jack

      Look, IANAE (I am not an economist), but if your LABOR is not IMMEDIATELY REPLACEABLE then management’s hand is forced.

      I hate to utter one of the most depressing sentences in American labor history, but it’s apparently necessary: if you believe that that’s true, then you’re missing the point of naming an airport after Ronald Reagan.

  • Jim Lynch

    I don’t get it.

    As of last season, every TD is reviewed upstairs. Right?

    So what happened tonight?

    • ploeg

      The play was reviewed, and the play stood as called (not enough evidence).

      One of the two officials on the scene signaled for an interception before the other official signaled touchdown.

      • Jim Lynch

        Right you are. I found out a few minutes ago from the NFL channel that it was, indeed, reviewed. And that is unbelievable. WTF were the replay officials looking at?

        • JoshA

          By NFL rules, the only thing that’s reviewable is WHETHER the ball was caught, not WHO caught it.

          So the only way the refs could have reversed the call is to declare that the pass was incomplete—which is obviously false, even more false than the call of touchdown (though it would have kept the right team winning the game).

          • Anderson

            Yah, crazy rule. But why did the ref who couldn’t even see the play call a TD? And why did the white hat go with that?

            • firefall

              Either staggering incompetence, or bribery/chicanery … or a combination, I suppose.

          • John

            That is just an unbelievably stupid rule. Is there any justification for it?

        • ploeg

          If you don’t understand the rule in the first place, reviewing the play would not seem to help.

    • They made the wrong call. A Green Bay defender fairly clearly intercepted a hail mary pass in the endzone, but a Seahawk receiver had an arm in there that obscured things a bit.

      On the slow-mo replay review, there’s no earthly reason to award the touchdown to the Seahawks.

      Both a touchdown and an interception was called on the field. After they talked it over for a few seconds they decided on a touchdown. The head ref went to the little booth thing for the slow-mo replay review. And made the wrong call.

      This is on top of a general level of bullshitty calls and like five straight bullshit calls on Seattle’s penultimate drive.

      • Scott Lemieux

        They can’t overrule that call. Why, I have no idea, but letting it stand was actually right by the rules although the call itself was ridiculous.

        • I agree the correct use of review is that they can’t overrule the call.

          But to say that lets the refs off the hook for what the replay clearly shows to be true assumes the refs weren’t looking at whether Green Bay or Seattle caught the ball during the review, right, and applied a correct interpretation to what they could and could not review?

          I think there’s enough evidence to claim that’s an implausible assumption.

        • witless chum

          The NFL had a problem with insanely-written rules before it hired the dudes who were doing St. Norbert’s vs. Michigan Tech games to enforce them.

          • Oh dear lord, yes. In a way I think that’s 95% of the reason people hated the real refs, because they got stuck (correctly) enforcing the stupid rules like the tuck rule or the “any touching of the QB’s head is a 15 yard penalty” rule.

        • gmack

          Having looked at the rulebook, I see no evidence supporting the claim that a simultaneous catch is non-reviewable. So if this is what the ESPN folks are saying, I’d like them to point to the actual rule. Here’s what I found:

          First, regarding the issue of a “simultaneous catch,” the rule is that if one player established control before the other started also getting his hands on the ball, then it is not a simultaneous catch; the first player made the catch. So the original call was erroneous.

          Here’s the definition of a “simultaneous catch”: Item 5: Simultaneous Catch. 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. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.

          As for reviewable plays, here’s what I found:

          Reviewable Plays. The Replay System will cover the following play situations only:

          (a) Plays governed by Sideline, Goal Line, End Zone, and End Line:
          1. Scoring plays, including a runner breaking the plane of the goal line.
          2. Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted at sideline, goal line, end zone, and end line.
          3. Runner/receiver in or out of bounds.
          4. Recovery of loose ball in or out of bounds.

          (b) Passing plays:
          1. Pass ruled complete/incomplete/intercepted in the field of play.
          2. Touching of a forward pass by an ineligible receiver.
          3. Touching of a forward pass by a defensive player.
          4. Quarterback (Passer) forward pass or fumble.
          5. Illegal forward pass beyond line of scrimmage.
          6. Illegal forward pass after change of possession.
          7. Forward or backward pass thrown from behind line of scrimmage.

          (c) Other reviewable plays:
          1. Runner ruled not down by defensive contact.
          2. Runner ruled down by defensive contact when the recovery of a fumble by an opponent or a teammate occurs in the action that happens following the fumble.
          3. Ruling of incomplete pass when the recovery of a passer’s fumble by an opponent or a teammate occurs in the action following the fumble.
          4. Ruling of a loose ball out of bounds when it is recovered in the field of play by an opponent or ateammate in the action after the ball hits the ground.
          Note 1: If the ruling of down by contact or incomplete pass is changed, the ball belongs to the recovering player at the spot of the recovery of the fumble, and any advance is nullified.
          Note 2: If the Referee does not have indisputable visual evidence as to which player recovered the loose ball, the ruling on the field will stand.
          Note 3: This does not apply to complete/incomplete passes, or the ruling of forward progress.
          5. Forward progress with respect to a first down.
          6. Touching of a kick.
          7. A field-goal or Try attempt that crosses below or above the crossbar, inside or outside the uprights
          when it is lower than the top of the uprights, or touches anything.
          8. Number of players on the field at the snap.
          9. Illegal forward handoff.

          Note: Non-reviewable plays include but are not limited to:
          1. Status of the clock
          2. Proper down
          3. Penalty administration
          4. Runner ruled down by defensive contact (not involving fumbles)
          5. Forward progress not relating to first down or goal line
          6. Recovery of a loose ball that does not involve a boundary line or the end zone.
          7. Field-goal or Try attempts that cross above either upright without touching anything.
          8. Inadvertent Whistle

          I don’t see anything here about simultaneous catches being non-reviewable.

        • mpowell

          The refs haven’t been following the ‘rules’ all season. If it was clearly an interception on review, they should have overturned the call on the field. Not doing so based on the assumption that you know what the rule is simply adds unwarranted arrogance and stupidity to ignorance and incompentence.

          For the real refs, not overturning a bad on the field call would be the correct decision. Not for these guys.

  • Joe

    Scott Walker, how do you feel about unions now?

    • firefall

      The goggle-eyed homunculus really doesn’t strike me as a football kinda guy. Squash, maybe, or yachting perhaps.

      • Halloween Jack

        He’s got a motorcycle. (Something tells me that he cried during Wild Hogs.)

    • James E. Powell

      Walker goes by that old saying, “When that One Great Scorer marks against your name, he marks not whether you won or lost, but how much money you made.”

  • Michelle Rhee

    There is a crisis in American refereeing and the owners know something has to be done. Breaking the union was a good start. These new refs are obviously just as good as the old ones, but they are not trying their best incentive system is skewed. Probably at the end of the season they should be graded by an online poll on ESPN.com, and then the ones who get the highest grades get a bonus, and the bottom 10% get replaced by new employees from a temp agency.

    • Linnaeus

      Harrumph!

    • Warren Terra

      Good, but needs a reference to standards, accountability, or whatever the buzzword for high-stakes testing is, and perhaps Charter Stadiums.

      • Linnaeus

        Value-added, too.

    • DiTurno

      Online polls aren’t scientific, but standardized tests designed by for-profit companies would be dandy. No Ref Left Behind.

    • JoshA

      Good point. I also hear you’re gonna appoint the director of Americans Elect to a prominent position in your organization. Makes sense since Americans Elect changed the face of American democracy forever in a way not even rivaled by FDR or Lincoln.

    • Joseph Slater

      +100.

  • it appears one of the officials got it right. sweet jeebus, these refs are frakking clowns. will this be the end of it? gruden looks like he’s gonna lose it on espn now.

    • Bill Murray

      The guy that called it a TD was also the one that was looking right at Tate when he pushed 37 of the Packers so obviously

      • 7th grade football is the true test of an officiating crew. if they’re good enough for middle school, they’re good enough for the pros.

  • Bill Murray

    You know if the Pack had real owners they wouldn’t have gotten screwed so badly

    • Jim Lynch

      Al Davis was a real owner, and would have likely disagreed.

      • firefall

        Yeah, but he was famously disagreeable

  • Linnaeus

    As a Lions fan, I can’t say that I feel badly about a Packers loss, but I’d prefer said loss to be in a game regulated by competent personnel.

    • Joseph Slater

      As another Lions fan, I feel badly that the refs screwed up a spot on a third down running play by the Lions in OT which, if it had been marked correctly, would have resulted in a first down and thus avoided the disastrous game-ending 4th down play.

  • Anonymous

    If the Packers miss the playoffs because of this, it could cost many players on that squad a lot of money (since contracts in the NFL are incentive laden, and postseason appearances are often one of them).

  • wengler

    Another shit-eating moment for the NFL. Trouble is they think their shit tastes like fine caviar.

    These rich dumbfucks don’t understand that the entire media apparatus is primed for ‘what fuck-up will the scab refs do this game?’ now. The only way to stop it is to bring back the old refs at whatever terms they want.

    I don’t know if they will. These are some extremely wealthy and stupid people.

    • Anonymous

      In week 1 the press was fawning over the great job the scabs were doing. In week 2 they were kind but expressing mild puzzlement at some movies.

      Now all gloves are off. Everyone is killing the refs and the NFL. I just heard Scott Van Pelt practically begging the NFL to get the regular guys back. SCOTT VAN PELT.

      I know we are talking about a bunch of MOTUs who aren’t used to this, but they have lost this battle decisively. The question is how long will it take before they realize it.

      • wengler

        When puppet media like ESPN is begging the NFL to bring the old refs back, you know they have a problem. The owners desperately need to buy themselves some good media coverage. I fully expect them to call the refs’ union this week and offer them an extremely mild concession on their current horrible offer. This will be rejected and the NFL will wave it around for all their anti-union friends in sports media to jaw about for a couple days.

        Or the NFL can start threatening their broadcast partners and double down on fines for criticizing refs.

        • Offsides

          Hell, even NFL.com and the NFL network are screaming about the Refs.

    • Anonymous

      But the NFL desperately needs that $3.3 million dollars they are trying to take from the refs.

  • Warren Terra

    Dare we to hope that some of the scab referees are sabotaging it now? They’ve had their fun, they’ve gotten to play NFL referee, but maybe they’ve realized enough is enough?

    • ploeg

      Doubtful. A scab gets enough hassle as it is by doing the best job that a scab can do. Nobody’s going to give a scab any credit for screwing things up royally. NO-body.

    • wengler

      It’s my hope that some of the scabs are involved in gambling, a stain that not even the vaunted NFL could easily scrub out quickly.

      Unfortunately, investigative reporting in sports is even more lackluster that its current moribund state in the rest of society. The only hope would be some sort of federal investigation stumbling upon it.

      • witless chum

        Yahoo Sports is a real bright spot there.

    • Wrye

      Er, that raises the disturbing thought ( and it’s just a thought) that a scab would be much more vulnerable to outside incentives to throw a game. Wait, who am I kidding? No bettor could be dumb enough to put money on these games…they’re ungambleable.

      • Right–what idiot would gamble on these games?

  • shah8

    One thing that really strikes me:

    If you’re gambling, you *really* have to weight the home team.

    • Stan Gable

      if the roles were reversed and GB got the “win” there would have been riots/murders etc.

    • angry bitter drunk

      I guess that explains why the Vikings were only 7-point underdogs to the 49ers on Sunday. Of course, the scabficials in that game did everything they could to avoid Jim Harbaugh’s abuse, but the home team covered anyway.

  • Patrick

    How can you not love the Seahawks? They just ended the lockout.

    • +1 if you’re right.

    • bobbyp

      We have been double parking our limos at latte bars in Laurelhurst for weeks planning this caper. Obviously, now is the time for some really old single malt Scotch.

  • Anonymous

    Tom Crabtree, ladies and gentlemen.

    • wengler

      Heh. Most of the people responding didn’t even get the joke of making it 13th instead of 12th.

  • Patrick

    Hah! Listening to the Seahawks postgame, and Pete Carrol regarding the lockout “It’s time for this to be over”. Even the winning coaches know this is BS.

  • Chuckie, Tirico, Scott Van Pelt, Stuart Scott

    This shit’s done

  • Steve

    LOL, I may *start* to watch the NFL.

  • Wrye

    I wonder. If the NHL was crazy enough to cancel an entire season (and may well do so again), why wouldn’t the NFL owners be just as mulish and ride this mess right to the bottom of the canyon? They played with replacement players most of one season, didn’t they? Probably didn’t even put asterisks in the records that year…

    • Sherm

      It was only three games, and the union essentially busted. Fucking Joe Montana and many others crossed the picket line and played with the scabs. The real referees won’t cave so easily. They have other sources of income.

  • scanner

    Hawks fan here……

    wow.

    Well, if there has to be an unacceptable clusterfuck, why not come out on the better end of it?

    Man, Wilson seriously blew. Matt Flynn must be a corpse not to provide anything better.

    • Because next time, Seattle will come out on the worse end.

      • scanner

        Not arguing that this should have happened, or was acceptable. One might even call it unacceptable.

        If this one situation DIDN’T happen, though, would it be better for shitty refs to be covering every single OTHER game for the rest of the season?

  • rhino

    Still doesn’t make up for the superbowl against the steelers…

  • angry bitter drunk

    I’d love to wake up tomorrow and read that this is settled, but I suspect it won’t end unless or until teams — players and coaches — stop showing up for games. Yes, the NFL has disgraced itself even more than seemed possible from this episode, but the 32 Rmoneys who own the teams (and even the Packers have executives) clearly have higher priorities. Mere commoners (like part-time officials) will no longer have pensions. That is Law for the Elite.

    • firefall

      Well, it would be interesting to re-examine the anti-trust exemption for the NFL in the light of how they are wielding their Trust power against the referees at the moment.

  • rhino

    While the ultimate play was certainly misscalled, there were so many bad and missed calls on both sides that I really dont think you can say the refs handed green bay the game. Had calls earlier been made correctly, that last play would never have mattered.

    In any case, i hope the refs actually INCREASE their demands after this debacle.

  • Tim

    Until a player has both feet down, there is no catch. And when both players in this instance did have their feet down, there was simultaneous control. Tie goes to the offense. The picture posted was taken long after that magic moment occurred.

    But for those who care to, it is a good opportunity to impinge the league over the ref situation. added points if it’s a SEA who does so?

    • ploeg

      As Stuart Scott explained patiently and at length after the game, if one player gets to the ball first, any notion of “tie goes to the offense” does not apply. “Tie goes to the offense” applies only when the players get to the ball at the same time. And it was clear that the Green Bay player got to the ball first.

      • Anderson

        Right. Indisputable, even if unreviewable. Change that rule!

      • There’s not even any tie, is there? The ball is in the defender’s chest with his arms wrapped around it. The receiver has his arms draped over the defender’s arms.

        That ain’t no tie where I come from.

        • Anonymous

          Jennings caught the ball; Tate caught Jennings; since the greater includes the lesser, Tate caught the ball! QED mothafuckas!

          • Ian

            At least the scabs are familiar with set theory.

        • ploeg

          That’s the other consideration. It’s my ball if I snatch the ball out of midair, but if you rip the ball out of my hands, it becomes your ball. But you have to rip the ball out of my hands for it to be your ball. Clapping your hands around a ball that I possess might make it your ball in basketball but not in football. In football, a tie means exactly that: both players get four hands on the football at the exact same time.

    • Scott Lemieux

      there was simultaneous control

      No, there was not.

      • Ronnie P

        What the play lacked in simultaneous control it made up for in offensive PI.

  • Breadbaker

    I’d give a rat’s ass for Green Bay if this were the only call that made a difference. The call on third down when he clearly had his knee down at the three (and remember, that was the call on the field, so it needed “indisputable evidence” to the contrary) resulted in Green Bay’s sole touchdown. Without it, all the Seahawks need there is a field goal.

    So, Green Bay fans, fuck you.

    • Rob

      What matters is where the ball is, not his knee. Thanks for playing.

      • Breadbaker

        No, actually, it’s where the ball is when his knee is down. Not after his knee is down and he stretches his arm.

    • JoshA

      Meh. As a fan of neither team, GB was getting jobbed the whole game. That call on Shields for PI was literally insane.

      • Scott Lemieux

        That might have been worse than the Ike Taylor call; at least on that one there wasn’t offensive PI…

    • mpowell

      Just goes to show up that it’s not just the scabs that don’t know what they’re talking about. They ran that replay multiple times and it was pretty clear from certain angles that his knee wasn’t down until his arm was full outstretched. They got that one right. The announcers pointed it out before the refs made the review decision.

  • Of course this clusterfuck has to mar the beginning of the best season in Texans’ history. Goddammit.

    • Jordan

      EXACTLY!

      The Texans will win the superbowl, but with the most asterisky of asterisks.

  • Chester Allman

    As a Seahawks fan, I’d been expecting my team to be on the wrong side of the call that ended the lockout. Being the beneficiary instead kind of sucks.

    Still, let’s not ignore the ridiculous PI call that extended the Packers’ TD drive, nor the constant holding that the Packer O-line got away with in the second half.

    All in all a masterpiece of incompetence, victimizing both teams and turning the second half into one of the worst displays of football I’ve ever seen. Congrats Goodell: you built this.

  • Sherri

    The NFL got what it deserved tonight. That my Seahawks were the beneficiaries is just the icing on the cake.

  • Murc

    I am actually surprised at how little vitriol I’ve seen directed at the non-scab currently locked-out refs over this.

    I 100% expected them to receive all the blame in the sports media and among fans for the inevitable blown calls, blown games, injuries, etc. resulting from the scabs. To see them impugned as “men putting their greed over the good of the game” among other things.

    And that’s happened, but not nearly to the extent I thought it would happen.

    • Meh, vitriol not so much, but there’s definitely no one really standing up for the real refs’ interests, and there’s a lot of McCain-esque “knock off the bullshit” stuff that undercuts them.

      OTOH, the PFT comment section is overwhelmingly anti-ref, but I’d probably be worried about myself if I ever agreed with that collective cesspool.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Not that I ever give much credence to Yahoo! sports columnists, but I got a kick out of the rapid head-spinning flip-flop of Dan Wetzel between this condescending apologia

    http://yhoo.it/UO6r6D

    which was published yesterday, and this angry call-to-arms

    http://yhoo.it/Si4g6v

    published an hour ago.

    • angry bitter drunk

      I used to like Wetzel — and he has been great on covering college football’s towering bullshit — but more and more it just seems like he’s just into making contrarian arguments for the attention/page views. Perhaps he thinks ESPN will eventually tab him to replace Skip Bayless.

  • Manju

    The worst decision in sports since Pacquiao v Bradley…which was reffed by Robert Byrd.

    • Nice self troll!

    • Hogan

      Yes, but he apologized for that in 2005.

    • I am trying, but failing, to suppress a grin at that one, Manju. Nice work.

      • Manju

        Thanks for the continued acknowledgments John. While the Pac-Brad Byrd connection is slightly amusing, I haven’t found an opportunity to drop this absolute howler. So, to repay the favor, here it is.

        Behold, the worlds most spectacularicious faux pas:

        His win prompted New York State Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, who attended Rangel’s victory party at the soul food restaurant Sylvia’s last night, to make one of the most inappropriate political comparisons ever: “Charlie Rangel might be the Strom Thurmond of Harlem.”

        http://www.dominionofnewyork.com/2012/06/27/rangel-triumphs-jeffries-ascends-to-national-politics/#.UGIkAmL-pLK

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  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    Couldn’t happen to a more obnoxious, entitled fan base (well maybe Dallas or New England) but that said, yeah this was terrible. To be fair, the Seahawks would have had alot of calls to bitch about had the outcome been the other way, just none as high-profile as this. Just a shit-show all around.

    I hope that the situation gets resolved soon and the union gets all of their demands met. When I find myself agreeing with Collinsworth/Michaels, shit’s gotten outta control.

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