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NFL

McCarthy says call to ref was the 'right thing'

| Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 9:58 p.m.
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GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 30: Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on September 30, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike McCarthy

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he called the replacement referee who made the call on a final play that cost the Packers a game against the Seattle Seahawks to offer his support.

“I felt the phone call was the right thing to do. That's why I made it,” McCarthy told Newsradio 620 WTMJ.

A pass to Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate that appeared to be intercepted by Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings was ruled a touchdown, giving the Seahawks a 14-12 win on Sept. 24. Referee Wayne Elliott didn't make the call, but he reviewed the play and let the ruling stand.

Elliott revealed the call in an interview shown Wednesday on Showtime's “Inside the NFL.”

“He called me at my house last week because he had heard I was having a rough week with all the calls and everything. He wanted me to know he thought that what I did ... maybe he didn't agree with it, that I handled it with class,” Elliott said.

In McCarthy's interview he was reluctant to talk about his phone call to the referee.

“It was a phone call that I placed with the intent of it being a personal phone call. Obviously, I didn't think this was going to be the outcome,” McCarthy said, referring to praise he's received from around the nation for making it. “I've asked the football team to move on.”

Elliott was asked what he would have called if he had been one of the two referees in the end zone.

“I'd probably call interception,” Elliott said.

Replacement referees worked the first three weeks of regular season games, triggering a wave of outrage after a number of questionable calls. It was the one that cost the Packers a win that seemed to recharge negotiations between the league and its union referees, who reached a deal later that week that ended the lockout.

As for the last play, the NFL issued a statement a day after the game that the final play was correctly ruled a reception but that interference should have been called moments earlier on Tate.

In the Showtime interview, Elliott was asked about how officials are trained to handle the so-called “hail Mary” plays.

“(For) the deep officials, it was brought up that you don't really call interference on a hail Mary... The deep officials were trained that during a Hail Mary, there's a lot of bodies in there and you just let it go,” Elliott said.

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