Insights / social-media

Controversial calls and Social Media

Out with the replacements, in with the officials.

The NFL Referee Lockout has finally ended and coaches, players and fans alike are all in good spirits. The replacement referees, who worked the first three weeks of games, had people questioning a very controversial call during a Monday Night Football game between The Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.

With less than 10 seconds to go in the final quarter of the game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hoisted the ball into the end zone. Packers safety M.D. Jennings and Seahawks receiver Golden Tate both went up for the ball. When the play had ended, it appeared that Jennings had possession of the ball. Two separate officials had signaled different calls: one signaled for a touchdown while the other signaled for the clock to stop.

The final ruling on the field was a touchdown, giving the Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Packers.

This play was seemingly the icing on the cake for the National Football League, signaling the desire for the official referees to return. Many argued that the play was an interception while others believed Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference. Either way, the final touchdown call sparked outrage.

“Don’t ask me a question about the officials,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years in football.”

In addition to the Packers coach, many players expressed their anger via Twitter.

One Packers player in particular, offensive lineman T.J. Lang, has garnered a ton of media attention since the loss to the Seahawks on September 24.

After Monday night’s game, Lang tweeted, “F*** it NFL. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.” (Lang’s tweet did not include the edited profanity)

In addition, after finding out that the official referees would be back on September 27 for Thursday night’s game, Lang tweeted, “Good to see the regular refs coming back! I’m sure the scabs are disappointed they have to return to their jobs at footlocker.”

According to an ESPN article, since the loss, Lang has added more than 90,000 followers on Twitter and as of Thursday morning, his tweet after the game had been retweeted about 98,000 times. Lang’s tweet became the most retweeted post in Twitter history.

Whether the publicity is positive or negative, it is still publicity and this incident has fans talking about not only T.J. Lang and his fellow players, but also the NFL as a whole.

So what do you think? Is it a good thing that Lang is receiving so much media attention or is the publicity portraying both him and the NFL in a negative light?


By Jenel Conde
Mason Intern Fall 2012