|Wayne Elliott speaks to an official during Monday night's Packers-Seahawks game. (US Presswire)|
With the triumphant return of the full-time officials, their replacement doppelgängers have been relegated to a football history footnote. But before we all stare blankly at Roger Goodell's neuralyzer, there will be a handful of "where are they now?" stories on those men and women who spent three weeks of their lives working NFL games.
Wayne Elliott, the replacement ref on the field for the Packers-Seahawks Monday night fiasco, spent his Friday evening working a high school game in Austin, Texas. Before that, he spoke with KTBC Fox 7 in Austin about those final, fateful moments on the CenturyLink Field turf just days before.
Elliott didn't see the actual catch in the end zone ("My job is to protect the quarterback, so I'm watching him to make sure he doesn't get hit cheap or hit late") but offered this when asked if the correct call was made:
"The right call was made as far as the simultaneous catch is concerned," he told Fox 7's Rudy Koski. "There may have been an offensive pass interference involved, but the simultaneous catch was a simultaneous catch. …
"The statement the NFL put out was, yes, there should've been offensive pass interference called, but the training, I believe -- and I wasn't in any of the deep officials training room -- but I believe they were trained on a Hail Mary pass pretty much anything goes because there's a lot of pushing and shoving, there are seven or eight guys in there -- you gotta be real careful," Elliott said.
This point shouldn't be overlooked; for years, officials have been less likely to enforce pass interference penalties -- on both offense and defense -- in such situations. It's just that this time, it happened on the NFL's biggest stage and the consequences could have playoff implications three months from now.
"The replay guy just said there is nothing here that we can use to overturn [the controversial touchdown call on the game's final play]. It's going to stand," he told Koski.
Elliott added that he has "No regrets at all. It was a blast, absolute blast. Most fun I've ever had." He has also been subjected to the same punishment that the full-time officials have had to endure for years: harassing phone calls.
"Mostly, they're saying I should commit suicide, I should die, but nobody has offered to pull the trigger so it's just been pretty laughable," he said. "One lady was cursing me out and telling me I was hot …. I saved that one, it was pretty funny."
But there is some good news to come from all this. Koski told Elliott about one fan's tweet that said the replacement officials accomplished something that neither political party could: unifying the country. So there's that.
"I wasn't aware of the tweet about how I unified the country, but I guess I'm glad to help."
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