'Worst call ever'? Packers fans voice displeasure
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Referee Jeff Triplette struck a triumphant tone before Sunday's Saints-Packers game at Lambeau Field, announcing during the pregame coin toss that "it's great to be back, gentlemen!"
With the NFL's regular officials back on the job, Packers players were prepared to move on from a call that cost them a win at Seattle. Their fans didn't quite seem to be ready yet.
Some fans showed up Sunday intending to voice their displeasure with replacement officials whose decision to allow a last-second Seahawks touchdown cost the Packers the win Monday night.
"Worst Call Ever," read one fan's shirt. A sign in the stands welcomed back the regular officials, and a handful of fans wore black and white striped shirts.
Aaron Rodgers shared a laugh with one of the regular officials before the game.
The honeymoon didn't last long, though. Fans howled for an offensive pass interference call after Drew Brees threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston late in the first quarter, but no flag was forthcoming.
The boos intensified as a replay was shown on the stadium video boards -- a sign, in many ways, that things were back to normal in the NFL.
Elsewhere, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, whose team was the beneficiary of the last-play decision Monday night that was the replacements' final call, shook hands with referee Mike Carey before the game at St. Louis.
Carey tipped his cap to fans as he walked onto the field and also shook hands with Seattle receiver Braylon Edwards.
Referee Bill Leavy said during the coin toss for Chargers-Chiefs: "Good afternoon. It's great to be back with you." Cheers erupted at Arrowhead Stadium.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz spent a few minutes talking with referee Clete Blakeman about an hour before kickoff of the Lions' home game against the Vikings.
Schwartz and Blakeman had to move their conversation back about 10 yards toward midfield to give Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford room to drop back and pass during pregame warmups.
Later, Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach had a demonstrative chat with Blakeman, making gestures toward both ends of the field. Some suggested he was pointing out calls made or missed by replacement officials.
Perhaps most interestingly, Patriots owner Robert Kraft got down to the tunnel before the end of their 52-28 win over Buffalo and attempted to shake each official's hand.
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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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