After the crazy finish on Monday Night Football, I think we were probably all left wondering exactly what might have happened had normal NFL officials been reffing the game. There’s no need to imagine that at this point, as locked-out NFL referee Walt Anderson gives us his take in the following interview and explains why the Green Bay Packers would be 2-1 if he had been on the field.
Walt Anderson joined WHB in Kansas City with Kevin Kietzman to discuss what would have happened Monday if he was the referee, how the situation would’ve been sorted out, if he would’ve needed to review the play and the ongoing negotiations during the lockout.
If that was your crew, do you think the Green Bay Packers would have won on Monday Night Football?:
“I guess I might end up being in a little bit of trouble with the league myself today because I would’ve reversed it to an interception. I just feel like that the defensive player established control, certainly a greater degree of control than the receiver, both in the air and going to the ground. Just the fact that a receiver ends up having a hand on the ball does not necessarily constitute control. I felt like, watching it live, it was an interception. And watching all the replays, I would’ve come to the same conclusion had I been making the decision.”
How do you think the situation would’ve played out?:
“One of the things you have to realize is circumstances like that are not really all that uncommon in the game, either at the NFL or the BCS level. There are often times where you end up with different views of a play by two different officials — ones got, say, a catch, and the other’s got it incomplete. … What you want to be able to do is recognize the fact that there’s some inconsistency. And at the end of the play, you just want to kind of slow things down, get guys together that have relevant information about it, and you try to talk it through. … I’ve had those where, in the middle of conversations, I might need to remind the guys, ‘Remember now, by rule, this is the case.’ Or, ‘By rule, if that’s what happened, then this is the result that we end up needing to come about.’ So, a conference like that, you try to resolve it on the field. But, regardless of the decision, eventually the referee will come out and say, ‘The final ruling on the field is this.’”
Do you think you would have reversed the call on the field or after reviewing the replay?:
“I would’ve not had the ability to reverse it on the field because I wouldn’t have been seeing it. If I recall right, the quarterback got hit pretty hard, and legally … so I’m back there with him. I’m going to go to the ground and I’m probably just going to be made aware of the play after it’s all kind of being sorted out down there in the end zone. … But once it gets in the replay, in the NFL, it’d be the referee that makes the final decision.”
So you would’ve gone under the hood and reversed the decision and said Green Bay won?:
“Definitely. My opinion, looking at that play, because it’s not really that uncommon of a play. We see that often where a defender goes up and he gets control of the ball and he goes to the ground with the control. And it works the other way. We see a lot of receivers go up and they get control of the ball and go to the ground and the defender’s got his hands on the ball. But it’s pretty clear-cut, in terms of who has control whenever they finish the process of the catch. In my mind, I feel like it’s an interception.”
Is it your understanding that the lockout is dragging on over the issue of receiving a pension?:
“I know that the pension is a big, big part of it. We’ve actually had a pension for the officials for, I think, roughly around 30 years. That’s always been a big part of the negotiations in the past. The NFL has always supported the pension for the officials in the past. And our last contract in ’06, it was done actually totally, completely behind the scenes. … The two sides worked a deal that included the pension and even an increase in the pension. … For so many years, the pension has been such a big part of the compensation package. In lieu of increases in a lot of the game fees, we felt like that was an important part.”