Packers seething as NFL replacement refs take heat
‘‘Golden makes an extraordinary effort. It’s a great protection. It’s a great throw. It’s a great attempt at the ball and he wins the battle,’’ he said. ‘‘They were right on the point looking right at it, standing right over the thing and they reviewed it. Whether they missed the push or not — obviously they missed the push in the battle for the ball — but that stuff goes on all the time.’’
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith posted a statement to members saying the lockout ‘‘jeopardizes your health and safety.’’
‘‘This decision to remove more than 1,500 years of collective experience has simply made the workplace less safe,’’ he wrote, adding, ‘‘We are actively reviewing any and all possible actions to protect you.’’
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.
Coaches and players began griping about the officials in the preseason, but the tension seemed to boil over this past weekend. Scuffles after the whistle were frequent with players appearing to test the limits of the new officials, and coaches were fined for berating them.
Fans’ fascination with the finish was evident in the number who stayed with ESPN to watch the highlights on ‘‘SportsCenter’’ after the game: 6.5 million viewers, the most for the full-length show since records started being kept in 1990.
Las Vegas oddsmakers said $300 million or more changed hands worldwide on Monday’s call. The Glantz-Culver line for the game opened favoring the Packers by 4½. Had the play been ruled an interception, Green Bay would have won by 5.
The call also found its way into Wisconsin politics, with Republican Gov. Scott Walker tweeting for the regular officials to return. Opponents noted that he seemed to be supporting the referees union after going after public employee unions last year, though Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach added: ‘‘We’re all fans, first and foremost.’’
McCarthy, meanwhile, said the team needs to move past the incident and focus on Sunday’s game against New Orleans.
‘‘We’re not going to get any help,’’ McCarthy said. ‘‘I know this is going to be a story that everybody wants to continue to talk about. And frankly, I'm not going to act like it’s not there. This is a play that I'm sure we'll see on TV as we move on in our lives. That’s the facts of our business.’’
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen in New York, AP Sports Writers Tim Booth in Seattle and Larry Lage in Detroit, and Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., Ken Ritter in Las Vegas, and Oskar Garcia in Honolulu contributed to this report.