The NFL says it supports the decision by replacement refs last night to give Seattle a game-winning TD on the final play—or, more specifically, not to overturn it upon review, reports ESPN. (It notes that the refs should have called the Seattle player for pass interference, but that's not reviewable.) But if critics were already seething before this weekend, but that's nothing compared to what's going on now:
- Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: He calls it "one of the worst calls in the history of league" but says it may end up being one of the best if it forces the NFL to finally bring the real refs back.
- Bill Barnwell, Grantland: Better settle up now, NFL. Sure, people are still tuning in, but "the easiest way to get people to stop watching is to make them think that the games they're watching are illegitimate and irrelevant. With the continued employment of replacement referees, that is the exact path the NFL's games are on."
- Steve Kelley, Seattle Times: "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."
- Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports: He gets points for creativity, managing to draw a comparison to the financial collapse of 2008. The NFL bows to rich owners, brings in replacement refs, and all oversight goes away. Players and coaches, like brokers, take advantage, and the result is the "Great Referee Collapse of 2012." The league, like Wall Street, needs restraints, writes Whitlock.
- Green Bay guard TJ Lang: "Got f---ed by the refs.. Embarrassing. “Thanks nfl ... Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs." That and other player outrage is rounded up by the New York Post.