What began as a night like many others in the past for replacement referee Wayne Elliott, ended with what many believe to be the most controversial call in NFL history, and ignited a firestorm throughout football nation.
Elliott, the replacement referee at the center of the controversial ending of the Green Bay Packers/ Seattle Seahawks football game on September 24th, stopped by the FOX 7 studio to speak with our Rudy Koski about that fateful night.
Elliott was in charge of the officiating crew that night, and from his standpoint, there was nothing that led him to believe the wrong call had been made.
"The replay guy just said there is nothing here that we can use to overturn it. It's going to stand," said Elliott.
That decision sparked a fierce backlash against the replacement referees from football fans, players, sports analysts, and even led to President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressing the issue.
When asked if he felt there was any reason to apologize to Green Bay fans, Elliott said he did not think so, and that if the call had gone the other way, people would be asking him if he needed to apologize to Seattle fans.
On the last play of the game, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. One referee ruled the catch a touchdown, while another ruled it a touchback. Elliott was tasked with reviewing the play, and upon emerging from under the hood of the review booth, ruled the catch a touchdown, giving the Seattle Seahawks a victory of 14-12 over the Packers.
Though Elliott admits an offensive pass interference call flag should have been thrown against the Seahawks' Golden Tate prior to the disputable catch, the the right call was made and the right team won the game.
Elliott told FOX 7 that the controversy from that night still has his phone ringing from calls from angry fans. He has been calling games since 1978.
The regular NFL referees returned to their officiating duties, and to raucous applause, on September 27th in the Baltimore Ravens/ Cleveland Browns game.
The officials and the league reached an agreement in their labor dispute on September 26th.
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