Bears

Markbreit: Replacement Refs Are ‘An Accident Waiting To Happen’

Wide receiver Golden Tate  makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the officials. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the officials. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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(WSCR) A former NFL referee on Tuesday said the performance of the NFL replacement officials during Monday night’s disputed last-second victory for the Seattle Seahawks was a “catastrophe” and an “accident waiting to happen.”

Former referee Jerry Markbreit’s strong statements came after officials ruled a Seattle touchdown instead of a Green Bay interception, giving the Seahawks a win on a last-second Hail Mary.

With time expiring and the Seahawks down 12-7, Russell Wilson threw up a prayer to the back left corner of the end zone. Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Packers safety M.D. Jennings both came down with a share of the ball, but Jennings clearly had possession. After review, the replacement refs ruled a Seahawks’ touchdown, taking what should have been a win away from the Packers.

Markbreit, who was the head referee for the 1992 Super Bowl, joined The McNeil and Spiegel Show to break down the blown call. He said the lack of experience was clear on the field.

“These replacements don’t have any experience in handling the unexpected,” Markbreit said. “There was a perfect example of it. This was a play that was disputed. One official called it no good, one called it good.

“The duty of the referee, the head guy with the white hat, he should have come downfield and discussed it with both men and figured out which guy had the best look at it. He probably could’ve gotten the fellow that gave the touchdown signal to back off because it was pretty obvious to me and almost everybody else that it was, in fact, an interception.”

Markbreit told CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey that there were three mistakes on that play.

“It was an interception-number one. The offensive pass interference wasn’t called. And the referee did not come down and do the duty that he was supposed to do by talking to dissenting opinions about a play.”

As Markbreit explains, in the case of last night’s controversial play, simultaneous possession is reviewable.

“It is reviewable in the end zone – not in the field of play,” he said on McNeil and Spiegel. “Because it’s a scoring play, it’s reviewable. It was reviewed in the press box by the replay (official). I don’t know for a fact, but obviously, they determined there wasn’t enough definitive evidence to overturn it, but it was reviewed.”

LISTEN: Jerry Markbreit on The McNeil and Spiegel Show


For the rest of this interview and other 670 The Score interviews click here.

Markbreit hopes last night’s controversy will become a tipping point to get the NFL referees back on the field.

“Obviously we don’t want anything bad to happen, but this catastrophe could stimulate some discussion and hopefully (end) this lockout,” Markbreit said on 670 The Score.

“You hate to see something like this happen, but it was inevitable that this was going to happen.

“This game was a fiasco from the start. Twenty four penalties, a lot of calls that just didn’t look right and of course the end of the game. The whole thing is just a joke. This was an accident waiting to happen. The whole weekend was terrible.”

In his more than 40 years on the field, Markbreit said he has seen stranger plays than the one last night, but it was the call, or lack of one, that makes Monday night’s game one that will live in infamy.

“I had more bizarre things happen in my career,” he told CBS 2. “Great officials love that! Give me the toughest play … the weirdest play. Bring it right in front of me. Let me make the call.”