Throughout the season, the biggest issue has been the NFL locking out the regular referees and employing replacement refs. Though their have been numerous horrendous calls upto Week 3, there hasn't been a call that cost a team the game. . . until tonight. Like most of the other games, there were a lot of bad calls including a questionable roughing the passer and a phantom pass interference late in the 4th quarter. Despite the poor officiating, the game was still exciting and went down to the last play where the Seahawks were a short 24 yards away from a touchdown that would send the crowd in hysteria . . . and this is where the biggest issue the NFL has ever dealt with begins.
Packers @ Seahawks - Week 3 (Game winning touchdown) (via Musicrecords10)
As you can see, It's clear that Green Bay's CB Jennings had complete control of the ball and Golden Tate did not. It's as simple as that. The replacement refs have decided the outcome of the game. The Green Bay Packers were better. The Green Bay Packers deserved better. Moving forward, this is going to completely affect the outcome of the season; what if the Packers and Seahawks are tied at the end of the season? What then? This greatly affects the NFC North and NFC West; now Green Bay is in last place and chasing the Bears while Seattle is now tied with San Francisco for 2nd place when they should be in the cellar.
The replacement refs of this game played a large part in ruining the NFL's integrity but the main onus lies with Roger Goodell and the NFL owners. The money separating the referees and NFL is minuscule when you look at the billion dollar pie the NFL has. Roger Goodell has ruined his reputation as Commissioner of the League, disgraced the NFL, and it needs to be stopped. If this lockout doesn't end this week I don't know what will; the NFL's reputation just took a major hit and it will be completely erased if talks don't continue.
Trent Dilfer said it best, "The NFL is insulting my intelligence". The NFL has insulted everyone: fans, executives, players, and the media. Unfortunately, this may be a blackmark the NFL won't be able to wipe away.