Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers did not hold back his criticism of the NFL and the replacement officials during his weekly radio show on ESPN Milwaukee. The Green Bay Packers quarterback admitted Tuesday he's still a little numb because of the loss to the Seattle Seahawks on "Monday Night Football."
"NFL obviously cares more about saving some money than having the integrity of the game diminished a little bit," Rodgers said. "Let's remember who we're dealing with. We're dealing with an NFL that locked out the players and said we're going to stand firm in our position. I don't think any owner would be too upset about the deal that was finally agreed to by both sides. But this is the NFL who locked the players out and basically said to cities like Green Bay, who much of our economy out here relies on those 10 home games and the revenue that's generated from the hundreds of thousands of people who come through each week to either watch the game or be around the stadium. This is an NFL who gambled on some low-level referees, including the guy who makes the most important call last night, who's never had any professional experience.
"These aren't SEC refs who've been around multiple NFL guys on every team and the speed of the game. Most of those guys, a lot of them, are probably trying to get to the next level and are the top of the top refs. This is a multi-billion dollar operation against 16 to 17 crews of 7-to-8 35-to-50-year-old guys who want a little insurance on the back end. Want to be taken care of for the job that they do. Believe that their job is an important part of that shield, the NFL brand. It's obvious now more than ever, not just our game there's multiple games where there's been some weirdness, ours probably a little bit more than any of the others, it's obvious the stance the NFL has taken."
Rodgers then read the NFL's statement word by word and addressed what he saw as inconsistencies.
"I find something very interesting, the NFL's statement after our game," Rodgers said. "They admit the guy totally blows the call on the pass interference. They go on to say: 'When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings both had possession of the ball.' I call bull on that. Because they say officials. No, there was zero communication between them. ... One of them is signaling over his head, meaning clock stopped, game's over, I'm about to signal a touchback. The other, from who knows what angle, as he's looking at M.D. (Jennings) on top of Golden Tate and he's going to say that's a catch by the receiver while M.D. has the ball to his chest. ... As the rule reads, which we've all probably read it in the last 24 hours, simultaneous possession does not exist when one person has the ball first and the other player tries to put his hands on top of the ball -- which is obviously what happened. Everybody saw it. You saw the replay.
"That's embarrassing. This is the NFL here. They're saying they should have called pass interference, but they're saying the refs got it right in the end zone."
Rodgers went on to call it "garbage" and said the NFL was covering its butt. He didn't know if he would be fined for his nearly six-minute diatribe.
Rodgers had another snide remark when host Jason Wilde noted there is little incentive for the NFL to make changes considering people are still watching and purchasing NFL packages.
"That's great for the NFL, they're still making money," he said.
Rodgers described the field and the postgame atmosphere as "chaos."
"We put a lot into this game," Rodgers said. "That's most of the frustration. We put so much into this and we put our bodies and livelihood on the line. You can't possibly tell me, the way that things are going right now, that player safety is behind held to the same standard it was, and just the integrity of the game just isn't what it was.
"We put our reputations in this. We put our livelihood. Our families are invested in this. It's frustrating."
This is where we are. The NFL's elite players, who were holding their tongue at first, aren't any longer. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees sent out a harsh tweet. Rodgers openly criticized the Monday night game, the replacement officials and the NFL for more than 15 minutes. He opened the show with a reminder that he originally didn't mind the replacements long as they didn't impact the game. They've impacted the game.
Will Rodgers' words have any impact? Let's list it as "doubtful." It's tough for a league to completely ignore its stars, but it's hard to imagine the NFL caving after it took such a strong stance. First step is to see if Rodgers gets fined later in the week.Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.