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Mariucci backs Pack

Questions catch ruling

September 28, 2012
By BURT ANGELI - Sports Writer , The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN - Steve Mariucci sides with the Packers in Monday's controversial finish.

"I don't think they got it right," Mariucci, an Iron Mountain native and NFL Network analyst, said of the replacement officials awarding a game-winning touchdown to Seattle. "I don't think it was a simultaneous catch.

"It should have been offensive pass interference, game over."

In the last play of the game, Packer safety M.D. Jennings appeared to intercept a pass in the end zone.

However, Seahawks receiver Golden Tate shoved Packer cornerback Sam Shields and also moved in to grab the football. Replacement ref Lance Easley, with football officiating experience no higher than high school and junior college games, signaled a touchdown for Seattle and painful 14-12 loss for the Packers.

"It looks to everybody watching that Jennings has the ball on his chest and Golden Tate is trying to wrestle it from him," Mariucci said. "How this guy can say it's a touchdown I'm not so sure. That makes it possession Jennings and not simultaneous."

Mariucci thought video evidence, checked after every touchdown, would overturn the ruling on the field.

"It looked like Jennings has 90 percent of that football," Mariucci said.

Mariucci can understand the anger expressed by Packer players and backers.

"Football fans are frustrated," Mariucci said. "They want to have things right. They want to have things fair.

"These replacement officials are doing the best job they possibly can. But it's a very difficult job."

National Football League and the regular officials agreed to a new deal this week.

The defeat could damage Green Bay's postseason hopes.

"This loss is going to be devastating as far as playoff seeding," Mariucci said this week on NFL Network. "They're going to be a playoff team but it's going to determine where they wind up going."

Mariucci was impressed with the way Packers head coach Mike McCarthy handled the situation by refusing to criticize the officials.

"Mike was really good and took the high road," Mariucci said. "He's a classy guy.

"They have to find a way to get past it. The Saints are coming to town."

Green Bay and New Orleans meet Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.



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