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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

October 4, 2012 at 8:23 AM

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Replacement ref: 'I'd probably call interception. I learned a rule by screwing up the rule'

Replacement referee Wayne Elliott says he should have ruled interception
By Nate Davis | USA Today Sports

Referee Wayne Elliott didn't make the call on the field.

He wasn't in the end zone where the Packers' M.D. Jennings and Seattle's Golden Tate were fighting over the ball.

And after Lance Easley signaled touchdown, Elliott didn't confer with him or announce a ruling, only that the play was under review.

But more than a week later, he said he thought the play was actually an interception during an interview on Showtime's "Inside the NFL."

"I'd probably call interception. I learned a rule by screwing up the rule."
    -- Wayne Elliott to Showtime's "Inside the NFL"

I was the pool reporter after the game, which meant that I had to go and interview Elliott about the play. That isn't a great task even with the regular officials, who don't tend to admit the difficulty of a call or if it was erroneous. They simply explain what was ruled.

Elliott was very forthright in explaining the ruling of a simultaneous catch, which was then confirmed by replay review, even as ESPN was insisting that simultaneous possession was a judgment call not subject to review. In fact, it is subject to review in the end zone.

But there was also a level of certainty missing in Elliott's declaration, and at one point, Phil Luckett -- the official supervisor who was at the game and in the replay booth -- stepped in to explain why the teams were summoned back to the field to kick the extra point.

Among the revelations from Elliott to Showtime was that Packers coach Mike McCarthy called to say that while he may have disagreed with the call, he thought Elliott handled the situation with class. No word if Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called, but then again, he probably didn't need to. He had no complaints about that final decision.

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