GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers arrived with something to say and did not mince words.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback tempered his comments in the immediate aftermath of the team’s shocking 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but on Tuesday, he let loose with his uncensored thoughts on the replacement officials ruling on Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate’s game-winning 24-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the game.
"Some stuff just needs to be said," Rodgers said to begin his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com. “First of all, I’ve got to do something that the NFL is not going to do, and I have to apologize to the fans. Our sport is generated, the multi-billion machine, is generated by people who pay good money to come watch us play. And the product on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials. The games are getting out of control.
"Like I said in the first week, I said, ‘I’m OK with replacement refs as long as they don’t have a direct impact on the game.’ Obviously last night there was a direct impact on the game on multiple plays that we’ll get into. But my thing is I just feel bad for the fans. Because they’re 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.
“But let’s remember who we are dealing with. We’re dealing with an NFL that locked out the players and said, ‘We’re going to stand firm on our position.’ I don’t any owner would be too upset about the deal that finally agreed to by both sides. This is an NFL that locked the players out … an NFL that gambled on some low-level referees, including the guy who makes the most important call last night, who’s never had any professional experience.
"These are not SEC refs who have been around NFL (caliber) guys, multiple NFL (caliber) guys on every team, with the speed of the game. A lot of those guys are probably trying to get to the next level and are the top of the top refs.
“This is a multi-billion dollar operation against 16 to 17 crews of seven to eight of 35- to 50-year-old guys who want a little insurance on the back end, want to be taken care of for the job that they do, believe that their job is an important part of that shield, the NFL brand.
“It’s obvious now more than ever – not just our game … but ours probably a little more than others – it’s obvious the stance the NFL has taken.”
Rodgers then read the NFL’s statement on the play – which he had printed out himself and brought to the show – and picked it apart.
“Bear with me on some of this here,” Rodgers said before breaking down what he saw from the two officials who were involved in the call that decided the game. Rodgers went on to say it the statement was “unbelievable” and characterized it as “covering their butt.”
Afterward, Rodgers was asked whether he thought he might get fined for his commentary.
“I don’t know. I think there’s been a lot of people who’ve said things – either Tweeted things or said things,” Rodgers replied. “It’s just getting out of hand.”
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