GREEN BAY, Wis. — Still seething about a controversial , decisive call that went against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle, Aaron Rodgers used his weekly radio show on Tuesday to dismiss the NFL’s explanation for the replacement officials’ decision.
The MVP also questioned the league’s priorities in an ongoing labor dispute with its regular officials.
Speaking on Milwaukee’s ESPN 540 AM, Rodgers said the NFL’s willingness to use replacement officials who aren’t up to the task is a sign that the league cares more about money than it does about tarnishing the game.
Rodgers apologized to the fans, saying the NFL apparently isn’t willing to do so itself.
“I just feel bad for the fans,” Rodgers said on the show. “They pay good money and the game is being tarnished by an NFL who obviously cares more about saving a little money then having the integrity of the game diminish a little bit.”
Replacement officials ruled that a last-second scrum in the end zone resulted in a touchdown to Seahawks receiver Golden Tate — when Rodgers, his teammates, Packers fans and much of the football-watching public saw a clear-cut interception by the Packers’ M.D. Jennings in Seattle’s 14-12 win on Monday night.
Rodgers said fans deserve better.
“Our sport is generated, the multi-billion dollar machine is generated, by people coming to watch us play,” Rodgers said. “And the product that is on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials. The games are getting out of control.”
Rodgers spent part of Tuesday’s show reading an NFL-issued statement on the air, poking holes in the league’s official explanation.
Rodgers dismissed the statement’s assertion that “officials” determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball.
And the quarterback also scoffed at the notion that replacement referee Wayne Elliott determined that there was no indisputable visual evidence to overturn the call on the field through instant replay.
“I mean, come on, Wayne, that’s embarrassing,” Rodgers said. “This is the NFL here saying they should have called pass interference and saying that the refs got it right in the end zone. Unbelievable.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy continued to take the high road Tuesday evening, but did acknowledge that he thought the play “clearly” was an interception. And his colleagues around the NFL apparently thought the same thing.
“I received more text messages and e-mail s than I did after the Super Bowl,” McCarthy said. “I can tell the impact this made.”
But McCarthy said the team needs to move past the incident and focus on Sunday’s game against New Orleans at Lambeau Field.
“We’re not going to get any help,” McCarthy said. “I know this is going to be a story that everybody wants to continue to talk about. And frankly, I’m not going to act like it’s not there. This is a play that I’m sure we’ll see on TV as we move on in our lives. That’s the facts of our business.”