Replacement Refs Give Seahawks Extra Timeout, Seahawks Lose, NFL Lets Out Giant Sigh Of Relief
September 10 / Glenn Davis / SportsGrid
Ask Roger Goodell, and he'll probably tell you he never roots for teams - only compelling games, the good of the league, blah blah blah. Well, we're here to tell you that for the last 30 seconds of yesterday's Seahawks-Cardinals game, Goodell desperately hoped the Seahawks didn't score and win. Why? Leverage. As you probably know, the NFL is in the middle of locking out its referees, forcing replacement officials into action to start the regular season. Many were worried, thanks to moments like this, that the replacement officials wouldn't be up to the task and negatively impact games - and even, potentially, players' health - as a result.
But for most of Week 1, the replacements were... not too bad. They weren't perfect, but the regular refs aren't, either. For the most part, talk of the replacements subsided. Fans focused on football and the refs slid into the background, just as Goodell must have hoped they would.
And then... that Cardinals-Seahawks game happend.
Specifically, that moment late in the fourth quarter happened, in which the Seahawks were granted a timeout in a second-and-goal situation, stopping the clock with 30 seconds left. Sounds normal, and it would have been - if the Seahawks had a timeout to take. At issue was a previous timeout the referees didn't charge to the Seahawks, because in their words, "[it] was the result of an incomplete pass, followed by an injury. The clock was not running." In Fox rules analyst Mike Pereira's words, "That's not true." And as for Cardinals fans...
To recap: the Seahawks were granted a timeout they shouldn't have had. Then, the referees had a lengthy - but inconsequential - discussion, because even if they found out they were wrong, the clock still stopped, so what would it matter? And following the discussion, they maintained their (incorrect) conclusion. Needless to say, if the Seahawks had scored a touchdown after this misfire - meaning the referees' mistake would have greatly impacted the outcome of a game it wouldn't have made the NFL's reliance on replacement officials look too good.
But the Seahawks didn't. Russell Wilson fired three straight incompletions - though the last one especially was a pretty good throw - and the Seahawks' luck was ultimately for naught. Instead, it became Roger Goodell's luck. Sure, we're talking about this blown call (really, blown rule interpretation). But talk is... not much, really. The full-throated scream that would have been coming from every Cardinals fan - and a whole lot of other fans around the league - had the Seahawks pulled out a late win? That would have been something Goodell might have had to listen to. This? For Goodell, this is a blip - and you better believe he's happy about it.
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