NFL Supports Decision to not Overturn Seahawks' Touchdown

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

September 25th, 2012

via NFL Statement:

In Monday's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone. Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.

While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. 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.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.

Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.

Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.

Applicable rules to the play are as follows:

A player (or players) jumping in the air has not legally gained possession of the ball until he satisfies the elements of a catch listed here.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3 of the NFL Rule Book defines a catch:

A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:

(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and

(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and

(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).

When a player (or players) is going to the ground in the attempt to catch a pass, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 states:

Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 5 states:

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.

  • Niko

    Wish it had been overturned – and I’m a Seahawks fan.

  • The Watcher

    What a travesty.
    The replacement refs are destroying the credibility of the games, while Goodell and the owners just yawn and say “so what”.
    Bring back the regular zebras…these guys are making them look like geniuses by comparison.

  • Ben

    How many other games would have had to been over turned by the “referees”‘ bad calls? If they had decided to change the outcome of the Packers/Seahawks game; countless other people would have complained about other bad calls in other games held this season. It would have opened up the floodgates. It’s time to bring back the real referees and end this nonsense, or the fans should complain with their wallets and start a boycott against the NFL.

  • RJ

    Gotta blame the Unions. This wouldn’t happen otherwise. Thanks Obama!

  • Paul

    NFL trying to save face. That was an interception and everyone knows it. A travesty. Worst call I’ve seen in sports in a very long time.

  • Paul

    It wasn’t a simultaneous catch. Tate didn’t even his second arm/hand on the ball until they were on the ground for a few seconds. What a joke. Try again.

  • Joe


    You’re an idiot. There’s no other way to say it. A dumb conservative that is making this political. Get a life. Only blame the unions but never blame the owners? Greedy owners who only care about themselves. Greedy owners and corporations are destroying this country. Keep watching Fox News. You’re oblivious.

  • DenverDean

    Hopefully this will impact the NFC playoff picture (Wild Cards or Division Titles). The NEXT tiebreaker after Head-to-Head is conference record (#2 out of 11 possibilities). Just wait if another team like Dallas or NYG misses a playoff spot because Seattle got an undeserved conference victory. It would be AWESOME. (If it’s any other team, the NFL will ignore it.)

  • RJ


    I guess the $200,000 a year salary the refs are asking for is reasonable? Really? I’d love to get paid that much for three hours of a work over 20 weeks! They have other jobs too. Why the hell do they need so much? That’s right, they don’t. Unions = disasters.

  • Percysowner


    Liar, Liar pants on fire.

    The salary range for an NFL referee will vary between $25,000 to $70,000.

    Plus, the dispute is over the fact that the owners want to simply dump the pensions these guys have worked for. AND the refs aren’t on strike, they are LOCKED OUT! They are willing to work while continuing to negotiate. But hey, let the players get permanently injured and trash the game so that billionaires can screw the little guy.

  • RJ


    I guess ESPN is lying then?

    QUOTE: They already average a $150,000 annual salary for their officiating jobs.

  • Chris

    Green Bay won that game! I know it! M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball! But guess what? The replacement officials did it again. And it’s all Roger Goodell’s fault, that the regular officials can’t make any movement toward a CBA.

    What a disastrous week for the officials, too many blown calls overshadows a weekend that featured not one, not two, but THREE early afternoon games decided in overtime.

  • TJ1

    @RJ, When you consider the amount of money generated by the NFL, the officials should be paid and are worth every penny. It’s only now obvious how important they are to the game now that they are locked out. The NFL could double their salaries and it wouldn’t make a dent in their financial statements. These guys go out and run these games as professional referees, the take care of the game, enforce the rules as written, and are experts at the highest level of their craft. As far as blaming Obama for Unions, well that’s just non-sense. Last time the referees were locked out in 2001, so was that George Bush’s fault? These Unions have been around for decades, so your point seems a little …forgive my use of the term…retarded.

  • MBmomof3

    With every post you prove what a pompous, ill-informed arse you are.

    This isn’t about one call and one game. This has been happening all season in every game. The NFL is a $9Billion money-making machine. Pay the professionals what they are worth and send these amateur “officials” back to the pee-wee league. And take responsibility for the consequences of your actions!

    THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH OBAMA, dumba$$. I suppose you believe the athletes are worth their negotiated salaries and benefits, but not the officials who clearly impact the outcome of the season?

  • Jay

    I’m with RJ on this.

  • MBmomof3

    Well I find it really interesting that the Packers are the only community-owned franchise in the NFL and not owned by the 1%. If you want to make this political RJ. Wisconsinites screwed, yet again, by fatcats who refuse to enter into ethical labor negotiations with disasterous results!

  • RJ


    Obama supports Unions. THAT’S the difference.

    Do explain how I am ill-informed. Who cares if its more than one game? It’s still at the fault of the Unions.

  • KJ Styles

    SMH, that was a CLEAR interception. These replacement refs are ruining the integrity of the NFL and Roger Goodell doesn’t care. It really sucks, and things will likely get worse if they don’t get the real refs back.

  • USAmerica1st

    @KJ Styles They should never have allowed regular season to start with replacement refs. A BAD decision to do so. Thank you, Owners. And this is yet another major level sport that let negotiations go on too long. BUT we fans are watching, regardless.

  • Mr. Jones


    Roger Goddell saw these ratings and said hey these guys are bringing more people to football this season let me keep them. Smart move tough guy.

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