NFL upholds Seahawks' disputed win over Packers, resumes talks with locked-out referees

Wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a catch in the end zone to defeat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial call by the officials at CenturyLink Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - The NFL upheld the Seahawks' disputed 14-12 win over the Green Bay Packers and resumed meetings with its locked-out referees in an attempt to resolve an impasse that has prompted torrents of criticism against the replacement officials.

The NFL said Tuesday that Seattle's last-second touchdown pass would stand and the victory was final - but conceded Seahawks receiver Golden Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference before the catch.

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

The ire of coaches, players and fans at the struggles of the replacements had been steadily building this season, and it reached an apex Monday with what everybody had feared would happen: a highly questionable call deciding a game.

"Hopefully, (the final play will) be enough to warrant making some actual progress to get the regular referees back on the field," CBSSports.com's Will Brinson writes. "Someone finally lost a game as a result of the replacement officials and it's time to make a change."

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On the final play, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a 24-yard pass into a scrum in the end zone with his team 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 that 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 locked out the officials in June after their contract expired. Unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, the league opened the season with replacements, most with experience only in lower levels of college football.

Here is the NFL's full statement regarding the Monday Night Football controversy, via CBSSports.com:

In Monday's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone.

Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.

While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player.

The result of the play was a touchdown. Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball.

In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable.

That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone. Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood.

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 result of the game is final.

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