Sputtering frustration over replacement officials in the National Football League burst into full-on revolt after a controversial end-zone call that decided the fate -- wrongly, it turns out -- of Monday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.
"Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs," Packers guard T.J. Lang tweeted after the game ended, one in a series of profanity-laced tweets accusing the officials of taking the game from his team.
He wasn't alone. Discussion of the call virtually took over Twitter in the United States and sparked rising calls for the NFL to quickly settle its labor dispute with officials.
Even the Fan-in-Chief weighed in. "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon," President Barack Obama said on his campaign's Twitter account.
The NFL agreed Tuesday with angry fans, saying Green Bay should have won the game. But the league said a blown penalty call that should have invalidated Seattle's victory wasn't reviewable.
"The result of the game is final," the league announced.
The Seahawks won 14-12 after replacement officials, standing in for locked-out NFL regulars, gave possession of a disputed ball to Seattle receiver Golden Tate. In what's already become a well-traveled and widely mocked image, two officials in the end zone gave competing signals: one indicating a touchdown, the other an interception.
The decision withstood video review of footage that appeared to show that Tate had just one arm on the ball while Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings had both hands wrapped around it. The ball was pulled tight to Jennings' chest.
The video also appeared to show Tate shoving a Packers defender in the back before going for the ball, a move that would normally draw an offensive pass interference penalty.
In its statement Tuesday, the league said that penalty should have been called and would have ended the game with a Packers victory. But it said the lack of a penalty wasn't something officials could use instant replay to reverse.
As for the catch, the league said its officiating team reviewed the tape Tuesday and "supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy declined to specifically address the call in his post-game news conference but said later that he had "never seen anything like that in all my years in football."
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, one of several players who commented on the situation, called the officiating "awful."
Coming away with a close win, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was less critical.
"From what I understand from the officials, it was a simultaneous catch, that's how they called it," Carroll told reporters. "Tag goes to the runner. Good call."
But he said it's still time for the dispute to end.
"It's a very, very complex process to handle these games and make the decisions, and there's nothing easy about it," he said. "And it takes years and years of experience to pull it off properly and in a timely fashion and to keep the flow of the game alive and all of that, and it's just time for it to be over."
"The league deserves it," Carroll said. "Everybody deserves it."
While criticizing officials is a major no-no in the league, NFL spokesman Greg Aiellio said league executives "are not focused on player tweets or comments."
Controversy over the replacement officials has been simmering since the preseason. A series of missed or muffed calls has riled coaches, players and fans, many of whom have called for a resolution of the labor dispute for weeks.
Sticking points include salary issues and changes to the retirement program for officials.
The league declined to say if they would go back to the negotiating table with officials in response to the criticism.
"We're not commenting on the status of negotiations," spokesman Aiello said.
On Thursday, the NFL Players Association sent a letter to league owners saying the decision to hire replacement officials "has led to a deteriorating of order, safety and integrity."
"This affirmative decision has not only resulted in poor calls, missed calls and bad game management, but the combination of those deficiencies will only continue to jeopardize player health and safety and the integrity of the game that has taken decades to build," the union wrote.