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Refs are Back! Packers Still Upset

(The Verge)- Last Monday, the Green Bay Packers were on the short end of arguably the most controversial call in NFL regular season history. The “Immaculate Interception” as it is being called now, cost the Packers a critical victory against the defensive powerhouse Seattle Seahawks. After seeing the replay thousands of times on television everywhere, it is clear that Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings came away with the interception on the final play of the game. However, the replacement refs did not see it that way and the Packers players were left absolutely powerless.

Last week’s controversial play in which the Seahawks were awarded the game winning touchdown despite visual evidence suggesting otherwise.

That being said, at least the NFL realized their current referee’s incompetence and were able to get a deal done with the regular officials, who were back in action week four. Nearly every stadium filled with fans erupted in cheers as the regular officials trotted onto the field for the first time during each game’s warm-ups; including the fans at Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon. Nobody was happier to see Jeff Triplette’s crew than the Green Bay Packers and their fans, especially against a dangerous team like the New Orleans Saints, despite their 0-3 record. However, Packers players and fans felt no difference regarding the officiating, and it nearly cost them another game. Typically mild mannered Packers fans were caught chanting profanities at the refs while also showering them with boos throughout the entire second half.
It didn’t take long for the fans to turn on the referees. Towards the end of the first quarter, the officials missed offensive pass interference on Saints’ Marques Colston. Colston was caught on replay clearly pushing off on Morgan Burnett allowing him to haul in the 21 yard touchdown to tie the game at 7. If this pass interference had been called, the Saints likely would not have scored a touchdown on that drive. On the other hand, pass interference calls are often missed so Packers’ fans shouldn’t be too upset right? Wrong.
Later in the third quarter another call was blown. On third down deep in their own territory, Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed a pass to Jimmy Graham for what appeared to be a big first down conversion. What the officials failed to see was that the ball definitely hit the ground as Graham went down. There was no doubt that Graham did not have “possession of the ball throughout the catch.” You could argue that from where the referee was standing that he was shielded from seeing the ball hit the ground. The issue is, the play was challenged by Packers coach Mike McCarthy, and upheld! At that point, the fans were outraged and boos could be heard even on Fox’s telecast. The worst part is that the referee’s woes were not over.
Perhaps the most controversial call of the day came early in the fourth quarter. It came right after Aaron Rodgers hooked up with Jordy Nelson on an 11 yard touchdown that put the Packers ahead 28-27. On the ensuing kickoff, Darren Sproles took the ball across the 30 yard line and was upended by Packers’ Desmond Moses. The ball came out and Moses ended up recovering the ball as well. Packers’ players on the sidelines could be seen jumping up and down pointing indicating it was their ball. However, the officials once again denied the Packers what they deserved and ruled that Sproles was down by contact (not a reviewable play). What really frustrated me as a viewer along with the fans was the fact that the referees got together and the side judge began to whisper something into crew chief Jeff Triplette’s ear. Shortly following the side judge’s words, Triplette ruled that the Saints would keep the ball. It’s almost as if they were conspiring against the Packers because as the video shows, Sproles lost possession of the ball while he was still standing up!  Darren Sproles Fumble
Luckily the Packers were able to hold off the Saints rally and take the game 28-27. But the Packers organization and fans still can’t help but think that the officials (replacements or not) are out to get them. What do you think?