- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Remember this a year or two from now, when a video of the final play of Monday night’s Packers-Seahawks game turns up on a blooper reel: It wasn’t all that funny watching it the first time around.

Two replacement officials, positioned perfectly on either side of the corner of the end zone, appeared to come up with two different calls.

After looking at each other, one waved both arms back and forth, either signaling a touchback or a stoppage of play. The other signaled touchdown.

If you tried to stage a photograph to symbolize the confusion that’s dogged the NFL and its games since commissioner Roger Goodell let a lockout of the regular officials spill over into the regular season, you couldn’t have done it any better.

The reaction was predictable, overwhelmingly negative, and swift. Anyone still have questions about the integrity of the game? Thought so.

Let’s put it this way: If the NFL were a hamburger chain, Goodell would have been fired on the spot.

The league’s foot-dragging in bargaining talks with the regular officials was based on the assumption the replacements would get better.

In the meantime, it threatened to fine any coach or player who suggested it was worse. After a string of screw-ups by the officials in Sunday’s games, this one ripped the lid off.

Somehow, the mildest reaction of the night came from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

after the Seahawks’ 14-12 win was in the books, he was asked whether he’d ever experienced a more bitter defeat.

“Uh, no,” Rodgers replied and left it at that.

But why stop there? The replacement officials don’t know the rules. They can’t control the players or coaches. And both are playing them for suckers.

Just last week, the league sent around a warning against berating the officials. The coaches and players treated it like a dare.

Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan followed the officials into the tunnel in Washington after a loss, hurling curses. Steelers linebacker Larry Foote did the same to a different crew in Oakland. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick tried grabbing an official running by him when the game ended in Baltimore to get an explanation he’s waiting for still.

Earlier in that same game, the hometown fans rendered their verdict on the officiating by yelling one word so long and so loud, it can’t be repeated here.

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