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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:34 AM ET, 09/25/2012

Packers-Seahawks reaction: NFL has a mess on its hands. Just ask Drew Brees.

The controversial ending of the Green Bay Packers’ game against the Seattle Seahawks brought a firestorm of reaction and there was unanimity of opinion — except at the home of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“I didn’t see that ending last night,” Jones said on KLRD (via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I cut it off about halftime.” Jones added that he got no phone calls about the ending.

He’s the only one whose cellphone wasn’t buzzing.

Even in Seattle, there’s a recognition that the Seahawks got away with one.

The win was, the Seattle Times’ Steve Kelley writes, the “most indescribably spectacular” in Seahawks’ history and will reverberate for a long time — for the right reasons even as it triggers a bit of a guilt complex.

[The ending] was so good it just might have ended the lockout, might have signaled the end of the replacement officials, might have finally brought sanity back to the NFL.
Because as great as this win was for Seattle, as deliciously improbable as it was, as dramatic as this Monday Night classic became, the final play was a huge embarrassment for the league.
And the controversy from this last play will linger for weeks.
This is what happens when amateurs are asked to call a professional game. This is the result of the deal with the devil the NFL made. This is what happens when the league is more concerned with winning a labor dispute than it is with maintaining the integrity of its product.

In Green Bay, the reaction this morning was more apparents. Fans, granted only a few of them, were protesting at Lambeau Field.

Yes, it’s that bad. One unnamed player told Yahoo’s Mike Silver:

A player on one of the Packers' NFC North rivals who should have been heralding the outcome instead decried the play as "the worst call in NFL history." A veteran NFL assistant went even further, saying, "Oh, it's really bad. It's Tuck Rule bad. Rodney King bad."

Silver was at a Seattle restaurant with running back Marshawn Lynch, who wasn’t reveling in the win.

As Lynch, his grandmother and several friends and business associates left that downtown Seattle steakhouse early Tuesday morning, they seemed a bit less exultant about the victory over the Packers than they had before that mirror became a TV screen, allowing them to see a sobering replay of the faux touchdown that rocked the football world.
“It's not like we did anything wrong,” Lynch said, shaking his head, as he stood on Second Ave. “We have nothing to apologize for.”
He's right – the Seahawks don't. The owners do, however, and so does Goodell. And as long as this increasingly reckless lockout lasts, any after-the-fact apologies will seem as hollow as the football that [M.D.] Jennings pulled to his chest.

SI’s Michael Rosenbergoffers a bit of advice for Commissioner Roger Goodell: Google Teleflora right now.

It's over, Roger. You lost. Your ridiculous little game of chicken with the refs ended the moment that Green Bay-Seattle game finished Monday night. And you can pretend you ended up with the ball, but we all know better.
Roger Goodell and the NFL should make an extremely generous offer to the referees' union. I'd start with the refs' old pension, an enormous bouquet of flowers and a big box of chocolates shaped like whistles.

The NFL has said it will address the controversy later today. Late last night, the league seemed mostly confused about the matter, uncertain on Facebook how to post the final play. Not that there was much riding on the matter ... ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that $150 million to $250 million in gambling dollars shifted with the outcome.

For the moment, let’s let New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees have the last comment: “Ironic that our league punishes those based on conduct detrimental. Whose CONDUCT is DETRIMENTAL now?

Follow us: @CindyBoren | @MattBrooksWP

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Integrity of the game is on the line

Pressure grows to bring back regular refs

By  |  10:34 AM ET, 09/25/2012

 
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