'Fail Mary' ref, Tate reunite at charity game
The replacement referee who made the controversial touchdown call that gave the Seattle Seahawks a victory over the Green Bay Packers last season was the guest umpire at Richard Sherman's charity softball game on Sunday.
The replacement referee who made the controversial touchdown call that gave the Seattle Seahawks a victory over the Green Bay Packers last season was an umpire at Richard Sherman's charity softball game Sunday.
Lance Easley's ruling, in which he awarded Golden Tate a touchdown reception in the Sept. 24 Monday night game, has been infamously dubbed the "Fail Mary." Easley worked as the first-base umpire on Sunday and even posed for some photos with Tate, who played in the game.
Former Seahawks safety Lawyer Milloy tweeted a picture of Easley, holding his arms in a touchdown signal, posing with Tate.
Tate said he and Easley discussed the play and how the call has changed Easley's life.
"We talked about it a little bit," Tate told Q13 Fox TV. "He told me how much his life has changed. It sounds like he's keeping a positive attitude, regardless of all the negativity."
Easley was asked by Sherman to be an umpire at the game, and he said he agreed so he could "give back." Part of the proceeds from the game will be given to Helping a Hero, a charity that helps to build homes for wounded veterans. That resonated with Easley, who is a former Marine.
"I'm here for charity, and I would do the same for [Packers] charities," he said, according to the The (Everett) Herald. "I have no ill will against any team, I'm not a Seahawk fan, I'm not a Green Bay fan. I stopped being a fan years ago.
In September, Easley ruled that Tate caught a 24-yard touchdown pass via simultaneous possession when both the receiver and Packers safety M.D. Jennings got their hands on the ball in the end zone. Green Bay insisted Jennings had clear possession for a game-ending interception.
The NFL said Easley made the correct call but also said the play should have been nullified by an offensive pass interference call on Tate. The call hastened a labor agreement with permanent officials.
Easley said he has retired from all levels of officiating, so he doesn't feel like there was a conflict of interest with him being an umpire in the game.
Easley, who has a book coming out in August about his call and its effect on his life, told reporters Sunday that he should have conferred with other members of the officiating crew before making the touchdown calls but said he he wouldn't change his call.
"I made a call, it was a correct call -- even though Green Bay fans will never say it's correct -- it was a difficult call, and it was one you just don't want. As an official you want black-and-white calls, you don't want gray calls, and that was a gray call that you had to be involved in and make it within a couple of seconds," he said, according to The Herald.
Information from ESPN.com NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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