NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (By Streeter Lecka, Getty Images Sport)
New York, NY (Sports Network) - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held a brief news conference Thursday and said Monday's controversial finish between Seattle and Green Bay was just "another factor" that led to a new collective bargaining agreement with the league's officials.
The league employed replacement officials during the preseason and the first three weeks of the regular season while negotiations toward new a CBA with the NFL Referees' Association continued.
Goodell said talks had intensified over the past 10 days and Monday's game wasn't a major tipping point in discussions.
"I just think it was another factor that kept pushing us," Goodell said in reference to the play that prompted national outrage among fans and constant coverage by the media.
On Monday, replacement officials awarded Seahawks receiver Golden Tate a winning touchdown catch while battling with Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings on the game's final play. Replays appeared to show that Jennings had control of a desperation Russell Wilson heave for an interception, but officials instead ruled simultaneous possession and the winning touchdown in Seattle's 14-12 win.
"Get the officials back on the field, get an agreement. That was the objective and (the play) just helped push us through and helped us get the agreement we needed to," Goodell continued. "Everyone wanted it, the officials wanted it. Everybody was to the point of getting this concluded."
The sides resumed discussions Tuesday and worked through Wednesday before announcing an eight-year agreement. The regular officials were set to be on the field for Thursday's game between the Browns and Ravens in Baltimore.
"We're thrilled to get an eight-year agreement with the officials and happy they're back on the field tonight," Goodell remarked.
Goodell wasn't asked directly if he thought Monday's finish was correctly ruled by the replacement crew, but indicated that controversial plays were simply part of the game.
"You never want to see a game end like that," he noted. "You never want to see a game end on a controversial play, but it happens in sports. You always want to try to avoid those controversial plays, particularly at the end of a game."
Part of the new long-term contract includes modifications in the officials' benefits package and salary increases. The league will also have the option hiring officials on a full-time basis and adding a new pool of officials to train.
The Sports Network