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Saying NFL won't do it, angry Aaron Rodgers apologizes

11:20 AM, Sep 26, 2012   |    comments
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The way the NFL's replacement officials are performing lately, the only thing that's missing is an appearance by Cary Elwes.

Check that. The slapstick comedy actor has arrived on the scene.

"I'm watching the screen, the highlights in the locker room, and I turn around and there's Cary. He's right there watching it with me," Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday on his radio show on WAUK-AM Milwaukee. "That was fun to see him in there. I wish it'd been under different circumstances."

MORE: NFL statement: Result final, Tate should have been flagged

The circumstance, if you somehow don't know by now, was a stunned postgame locker room in which the Packers players were trying to figure out how the officials had ruled Seattle Seahawks WR Golden Tate secured the game-winning touchdown on the final play instead of giving Packers S M.D. Jennings the interception.

In its statement Tuesday, the NFL said it agreed with the decision not to overturn the touchdown on replay. However, it never said the initial call of a simultaneous catch was correct.

Translation: It wasn't.

Rodgers' comments Tuesday need no translation.

"Some stuff just needs to be said," Rodgers, who was more diplomatic during his postgame press conference, told the show's host, Jason Wilde. "First of all, I've got to do something that the NFL is not going to do: I have to apologize to the fans. Our sport is a multi-billion dollar machine, generated by people who pay good money to come watch us play. The product on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials. The games are getting out of control."

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He continued: "My thing is I just feel bad for the fans. They pay good money to watch this. The game is being tarnished by an NFL that obviously cares more about saving some money than having the integrity of the game diminished a little bit."

Rodgers read the NFL's statement in a sarcastic tone and noted how it read "the officials determined both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball" when the players hit the ground.

MORE: NFL players speak out on controversial Monday night finish

"I call bull on that because they say 'officials,' " Rodgers said. "No, there was zero communication between them, there was zero communication between the guy who was responsible for the phantom first-and-25 pass interference call on (Packers cornerback) Sam Shields and the other referee who was responsible for calling a offsetting personal foul against (Packers receiver) Greg Jennings for a one-handed pushing of (Seahawks cornerback) Brandon Browner, who'd just punched him and thrown him to the ground.

MORE: NFL supports officials in Monday's bizarre finish

"Those two guys have zero communication, zero eye contact. One of them is signaling over his head, meaning the clock's stopped, game's over, I'm about to signal touchback. And the other, from who knows what angle as he's looking at M.D. on top of Golden Tate, and he's going to say that's a catch by the receiver while M.D. has the ball to his chest, which is usually the association with simultaneous possession rule: Who has the ball on their chest first?"

Rodgers was irate.

"That's garbage, obviously," he said.

Of the lack of a replay reversal and the NFL's saying there wasn't conclusive video evidence, Rodgers read the explanation and said, "They're still covering their butt here. ... I mean, come on. That's embarrassing."

Though it took Rodgers a half-day to start firing at the NFL and the officials, some of his teammates wasted no time posting venomous tweets about the outcome of the game. Rodgers also said a few of the officials went into the Packers locker room to pull out players for the meaningless extra point and "got kind of a rude welcome."

Rodgers also wasn't pleased about the crowd on the field that included Yahoo! Sports NFL writer Mike Silver walking up and asking Rodgers what had just happened.

"How did all those people get on the field? It was a mob scene over there," Rodgers said, adding, "No idea how Mike Silver's on the field, but Mike's there and we're both in disbelief of what's going on. I never ..."

After trailing off, he concluded, "It's unbelievable. It was chaos."

Rodgers saw the tweets from his teammates and said the emotion that fueled them is reason he doesn't post on his account during the season.

"We put so much into this, we put our bodies and livelihood on the line, and you can't possibly tell me the way things are going right now that player safety is being held to the same standard it was and the integrity of the game isn't what it (should be)," he said. "We put a lot in this. We put our reputations in this, we put our livelihood, our families are invested in this, and it's frustrating."

Much as he wanted to move on, Rodgers is already looking at what the impact could be down the line for the 1-2 Packers.

"If we have to get in a situation where we make the playoffs but we're a (No. 5) or (No. 6) seed and this game makes a difference in home-field advantage, you might just say, 'Well, you (won the Super Bowl) a couple of years ago as a No. 6 seed,' and that's fine. But football is so much bigger than what happens on the field. It affects a lot of areas of life," Rodgers said. "I'm talking about the economic impact that happens in Green Bay. If we don't get to host a game, you're talking about a lot of money that's not going to come into this city. And when you start thinking about it in those terms, it affects economies of different areas.

"To have a game like that when the officials take away a win like that can directly affect certain communities ... especially in Green Bay where you have such a tight-knit bond between community and team, and obviously the local businesses and hotels rely on us having home games."

USA Today

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