Here is the most important part of the NFL's official statement on the final play of last night's Packers-Seahawks game:
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.
Prior to this being spelled out, there was plenty of confusion about whether or not the call that gave Seattle a game-winning touchdown could have been overturned. The ESPN broadcast claimed that the call couldn't have been overturned, and that the referees were only allowed to review whether or not the ball hit the ground, which of course would have been a huge waste of time.
This morning, NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal echoed ESPN's conclusion when he wrote:
The rulebook also states when a simultaneous catch is ruled, you can't review who made the catch. You can only review if it was complete or incomplete.
But the NFL's statement clearly states that possession of the simultaneous catch was considered during the review process. What this means is that the replay officials (who are not scabs) could have made sure that the right call was made.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, the replay officials have taken a much more active role in deciding the outcome of replay reviews, and could have easily had last night's call overturned:
Under normal circumstances, the decision would be made exclusively by the referee. Now, with the non-replacement league supervisor in the replay booth along with the non-replacement replay official, the procedure has been, we're told, blurred a bit, allowing the replacement referee to get input from the folks who otherwise would be saying, essentially, "Figure it out, Hochuli."
If the non-replacement replay official and the non-replacement league supervisor didn't tell the replacement referee to overturn the call, the non-replacements deserve a lot of the blame.
Make no mistake about it. This one could have been overturned.
So, the replacement referees fucked up last night. And then the replay officials went and fucked up. The NFL, everyone!