Lance Easley, the replacement who made the call that put serious urgency on the NFL and referee union to come to an agreement, has no regrets. Said what could be considered one of the most most infamous calls in NFL history was not that controversial after all. It was absolute to him.
Referee No. 26 – whose previous experience was middle school games andwas clear about his decision.
“It was the correct call,” Easley told TMZ.
Easley’s decision was to declare a contested Hail Mary a touchdown by Golden Tate of Seattle rather than an interception by Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings – which is how virtually everyone else, but not the NFL itself, saw it.
Easley’s call will forever be etched in history thanks to a photo of him signaling TD while another ref waved for the stop of the clock [even though the game was over]. It gave Seattle the win and sparked such outrage the NFL caved within 48 hours to the NFL Referees Association and ended the lockout.
Regular refs will be on the field for Week 4, starting with Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. They received a huge pregame ovation and before long they received boos they had been accustomed to.
“Sorry to have to put our fans through that,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of replacement refs.
Of course just Tuesday the league was saying Easley did, indeed, make the proper call. He was also backed on Monday night by an experienced replay crew that didn’t see enough to overrule the call on the field – which isn’t exactly the same as saying it was the right call originally.
All of which is just part of why Easley remains defiant about his imminently unpopular call. Whatever the case, Easley and his band of replacements are no more.