Monday night’s National Football League game in Seattle produced a modest 26 combined points (19 if you’re Green Bay Packers fan), but tumult over the controversial final play generated some eye-popping numbers and a nationwide conversation that continued Tuesday.
• More than 1 million Twitter messages were generated about that final call, which resulted in the Seattle Seahawks pulling out an improbable come-from-behind win.
• Bettors who put money on the Packers to win lost $150 million when the call went against Green Bay.
• More than 70,000 voice mails about the game were left at NFL headquarters Tuesday, most of them presumably calling for the league to settle its differences with its locked-out referees and send the replacement refs who’ve overseen the first three weeks of the season to the showers.
• ESPN estimated some 65,000 fantasy football players won or lost based on the final play.
“I haven’t seen as many tweets about a football game since … well … ever,” conservative commentator Sean Hannity wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday. “Ridiculous.”
From the shores of Lake Washington to Washington, D.C., everyone, it seemed, had an opinion about whether Golden Tate should have been awarded a touchdown as time expired at CenturyLink Field.
Even President Obama weighed in on the call, tweeting that “NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon.”
The NFL released a statement Tuesday upholding the call, but that didn’t stop some people from arguing that an asterisk be placed in the record book.
Reaction to that final play, which one Green Bay fan dubbed the “Fail Mary,” ranged from incredulity to euphoria to disgust.
Green Bay fans, predictably, expressed outrage. They wrote, often in coarse and profane terms, of being robbed. They cast aspersions on the refs, the NFL, the Seahawks, even the city of Seattle.
Vince from Freeport, Ill., posed the following question Tuesday to the “Ask Vic” column at Packers.com: “Can we expect the apocalypse soon?”
Answered columnist Vic Ketchman, “Maybe that’s why the sun was shining in Seattle.”
David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Washington Post and author of the book “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” penned an op-ed piece in which he lamented the Packers’ defeat, Seahawks coach Peter Carroll’s reaction Monday night (Carroll had the audacity to celebrate), and what he sees at a “winning is the only thing” culture permeating the world.
“To say that was touchdown and not an interception is to say black is white,” Maraniss said.
Some Seahawks fans embraced the call as payback for bad breaks and rules interpretations that cost Seattle games over the years, including a disputed offensive pass interference call in Super Bowl XL that wiped out a Seattle touchdown.
“I refuse to be embarrassed about this win! As Seahawk fans we know the pain of being screwed immensely,” chrisj122 wrote in a comment at thenewstribune.com. “We are usually on the other side of the ball in these situations, getting’ screwed outta the Superbowl is much worse than any Monday Night game!”
Tweeted Carroll: “For our fans, you can’t ask for anything more than winning on the last play of (Monday Night Football). I still can’t believe that happened.”
Other Seahawks fans were ambivalent.
“It’s good to have a call go our way if it’s in ‘redemption’ for one that went against us earlier,” HaleRevere posted at thenewstribune.com, “but I’m not comfortable with being the beneficiary of an indisputably blatant bad call one the game’s final play that TRULY decided the final outcome. A win is a win, but an ‘earn’ is subjective.”
Others, of course, turned the situation into joke fodder.
Rob Sievers, who tweets under the handle @SportsEsquire, posted this: “Green Bay is the first team in NFL history to start the season 1-1-WTF.”
Still others pointed out that it seems to be a lot of hubbub over a football game.
“I know it’s a big story,” tweeted Andrew Markowitz (@amphotography21), “but is anyone else tired of hearing about the blown call last night?”
“Blown,” my dear Mr. Markowitz, is in the eye of the beholder.