But on his weekly radio show on WAUK-AM (540) in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Green Bay’s All-Pro quarterback was a bit more descriptive.
He opened with an apology to the fans who are no longer getting their money’s worth and slammed the league for diminishing the “integrity of the game” by continuing to use replacement referees who are clearly unqualified and ill-prepared to officiate NFL games.
After reading the NFL’s statement upholding the touchdown call on the final play of the game that gave Seattle the win, Rodgers called the league’s explanation “garbage.”
Here are his full remarks, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Some stuff just needs to be said. First of all, I’ve got to do something that the NFL is not going to do, and I have to apologize to the fans. Our sport is generated, a multi-billion machine, by people who pay good money to come watch us play. The product on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials. The games are getting out of control.
I said in the first week that I’m OK with replacement refs as long as they don’t have a direct impact on the game. Obviously last night there was a direct impact on the game on multiple plays. But my thing is I just feel bad for the fans. They pay good money to watch this. The game is being tarnished by an NFL that obviously cares more about saving some money than having the integrity of the game diminished a little bit. Let’s remember who we are dealing with. We’re dealing with an NFL that locked out the players and said we’re going to stand firm on our position. I don’t any owner would be too upset about the deal that finally agreed to by both sides. . . . This is an NFL that gambled on some low level referees, including the guy who makes the most important call last night, who has never had any professional experience....
These are not SEC refs who have been around NFL guys on every team, with the speed of the game. A lot of those guys are probably trying to get to the next level and are the top of the top refs. This is a multi-billion dollar operation with 16 to 17 crews of seven to eight of 35- to 50-year-old guys who want a little insurance on the back end, want to be taken care of for the job that they do, believe that their job is an important part of that shield, the NFL brand.
Rodgers read part of the NFL’s statement on air (see the full statement here), and then offered his assessment.
“It’s interesting the way the NFL words that - ‘When the players hit the ground end zone officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball,’” Rodgers said. “‘Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate the offensive player.’ That’s garbage, obviously.... They are still covering their butt there.”
Rodgers had an earlier gripe with the officiating crew, too. After Cedric Benson scored the go-ahead touchdown with 8:44 left, Rodgers missed on a two-point conversion pass attempt to James Jones — while throwing a ball designated for kicking.
“Would’ve been nice not to have a kicking ball on that two-point conversion throw,” Rodgers said (via USA Today). “But still missed that (throw).”