NEW YORK - The NFL upheld the Seahawks' disputed 14-12 win over the Green Bay Packers and resumed meetings with its locked-out officials in an attempt to resolve an impasse that has prompted torrents of criticism against the replacement refs.
The NFL said today that Seattle's last-second touchdown pass should not have been overturned - but conceded Seahawks receiver Golden Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference before the catch.
Two people with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the two sides were meeting today. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were not made public.
The ire of coaches, players and fans at the struggles of the replacements had been steadily building this season, and it reached an apex Monday with what everybody had feared would happen: a highly questionable call deciding a game.
On the final play of "Monday Night Football," Russell Wilson heaved a 24-yard pass into a scrum in the end zone with Seattle trailing 12-7. Tate shoved away a defender with both hands, and the NFL acknowledged today he should have been penalized, which would have clinched a Packers victory. But that cannot be reviewed by instant replay.
Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings then both got their hands on the ball, though the Packers insisted Jennings had clear possession for a game-ending interception.
"It was pinned to my chest the whole time," Jennings said.
Instead, the officials ruled on the field that the two had simultaneous possession, which counts as a reception. Once that happened, the NFL said, the referee was correct that no indisputable visual evidence existed on review to overturn the touchdown call.
The NFL locked out the officials in June after their contract expired. Unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, the league opened the season with replacements, most with experience only in lower levels of college football.