Clueless in Seattle: Twitter, Sportsbooks and Obese Detroit Lions Fans Go Insane After Monday Night Football (w/ VIDEO)
The NFL's replacement referees have made plenty of egregious errors during the first three weeks of the regular season. They nearly handed the Seahawks a win in Week One by giving them an extra time out in their game with Arizona. They extended last Monday's game between the Broncos and the Falcons to nearly four hours' running time with numerous drawn-out replay conferences. On Sunday, they even gifted 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh not one, but TWO additional replay challenges! How nice of them!
However, none of these (and any of the dozens of other) mistakes from the scab officials can be directly attributed to changing the outcome of a game. The ebb and flow of a football game is such that it would almost require that a mistake occur on the final play of the game to allow fans and critics of the refs to say with full certainty "AH HA!! SEE?!? THAT mistake cost THAT team the game!"
Well, the wait for that moment ended late Monday night when replacement officials in the Packers-Seahawks game decided that Seattle receiver Golden Tate stuck enough of his arms into what should have been an M.D. Jennings interception to award Tate a touchdown and give the Seahawks a 14-12 win over the Pack.
In case you missed it, or if you want to relive it, here you go:
So allow me now to say it...ahem... "AH HA!! SEE?!? THAT mistake cost THAT team the game!"
The fallout was predictable and undeniable. The story led every iteration of Sportscenter and even got some run on the national morning news shows like The Today Show. Callers flooded phone lines to discuss the ramifications of the play on the current referee work stoppage. (On my show, we had easily our most active day on the phones since the Texans were knocked out of the playoffs last season.)
The internet rumbled, the earth shook, and a Wisconsin state senator named Jon Erpenbach even posted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's phone number on Twitter:
You can leave a message for nfl commish roger goodell at 212 450 2027.#NFL— Jon Erpenbach (@JonErpenbach) September 25, 2012
Gamblers everywhere, at least the estimated seventy percent whose money was on the Packers (at anywhere from three- to four-point favorites), flipped from euphoria to confusion to, well, leaving irate voicemails for Roger Goodell within a matter of about two minutes. It was estimated by R.J. Bell of pregame.com that $300 million changed hands on that one call, which for gambling purposes flipped not only the cover on the spread but the moneyline winner (gambling speak for "team that actually won the game on the field") as well.