The play almost immediately intensified calls for the NFL to put its regular officials back on the field. Replacement officials have worked the first three weeks of NFL games, with the members of the NFL Referees Association locked out by the league in a labor dispute.
The league did say the game-winning touchdown should have been nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty on Tate for pushing Green Bay defensive back Sam Shields prior to the catch. A flag for that infraction would have ended the game. But the failure of replacement officials to make that call is not reviewable and the result of the game will stand, the league said in its statement.
“While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground,” the league’s written statement said. “This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.”
The league also added: “The result of the game is final.”
Tate’s catch came on the game’s final play from scrimmage. The extra point that followed, some 10 minutes later, gave the Seahawks a 14-12 win.
Meanwhile Tuesday, the NFL and representatives for its locked-out referees negotiated into the night in an effort to end their dispute, according to several people familiar with the talks. The talks already had been scheduled before Monday night’s controversy, one person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.
That person said he didn’t believe the furor would have a significant impact on the negotiations.Another person close to the talks said the owners of the 32 NFL teams are firmly opposed to making any further concessions.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league attorney Jeff Pash were among the participants in Tuesday’s negotiations, another person said.
The league and NFL Referees Association have been at odds over salaries, pensions and non-economic issues. Several people familiar with the negotiations have said in recent days that pensions have emerged as the top issue separating the two sides. The referees have been asking for an annual contribution of $38,500 per official to their pension plan, which the NFL considers too generous for part-time employees, according to one person with knowledge of the talks.
One person familiar with the negotiations said Monday, before the controversy in Seattle, that a deal was unlikely this week but could be within reach next week. But even that was uncertain, the person said.