Football Zebras exclusive
Referee Tony Corrente will have his entire crew on the field tonight, but in the replay booth, there was a last-minute substitution. Replay official Howard Slavin works with Corrente’s crew this season, but the league pulled him to avoid a potential controversy with the Packers.
While replacement officials worked when all of the on-field officials were locked out during contract negotiations, the regular replay officials continued to work as usual. Slavin was in the replay booth for the final play of the replacement referee era: the “simultaneous catch” ruling that gave the Seahawks a victory. Although the league disputes our assessment, we determined that it should have been ruled in the Packers favor, giving the Packers a win.
Slavin was moved to Pete Morelli’s crew according to the NFL, and Morelli’s replay official will work tonight’s Lions-Packers game, according to a source with knowledge of the assignments. A second source with information on the switch told me that the league “had to get Slavin off the Green Bay game [because] of the fiasco in Seattle with the replacements.”
In the Packers-Seahawks game in Week 3, replacement referee Wayne Elliot was supposed to make the ultimate decision, but he has indicated in subsequent interviews that Slavin and officiating supervisor Phil Luckett (yes, that Phil Luckett) either made the call or strongly influenced the call to uphold the Seahawks touchdown.
In the end, the league saw best to not stir the pot, and simply moved Slavin to another game. Seems like it was the least they could do, as referee Walt Coleman has not brought his crew to a Raiders game since his correct, but controversial, “Tuck Rule” call against the Raiders in the 2001 playoffs. Eleven years, apparently, not enough time to erase the controversy.
Image: Ric Tapia/NFL