NFL upholds Seahawks’ disputed win over Packers

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NEW YORK — The NFL conceded Tuesday that a bad call cost the Green Bay Packers the game — yet still upheld the Seattle Seahawks‘ victory.

While coaches, players and fans — even athletes in other sports — ripped the use of replacement refs, the league met with its locked-out officials Tuesday in an attempt to resolve the impasse.

Two people with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the sides were meeting Tuesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were not made public.

The NFL said Seattle’s last-second touchdown pass of the “Monday Night Football” game should not have been overturned in the 14-12 victory — but acknowledged Seahawks receiver Golden Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference before the catch.

Frustrations over the replacements have mounted through the first three weeks of the season and reached an apex Monday when a highly questionable call decided the outcome of a game.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, normally a soft-spoken player who didn’t say much after the game, lashed out on his radio show a day later.

“First of all, I’ve got to do something that the NFL is not going to do: I have to apologize to the fans,” he said.

Even President Barack Obama got in on the conversation Tuesday, tweeting: “NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon.”

The controversy began on the final play when 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 Tuesday he should have been penalized, which would have clinched a Packers victory. But it was not called and 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 Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review,” the league said in a statement.

Saying there was no indisputable evidence, though, is not the same as confirming the initial call was correct. Simultaneous possession can be reviewed only on plays in the end zone.

On his weekly appearance on Seattle radio station 710 KIRO-AM, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made no apologies Tuesday, saying, “The league backed it up and game over. We win.”

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