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'MNF' controversy recalls 1998's 'Phantom Touchdown'

Monday night's hot-button affair between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers has people cycling back through the ages to pinpoint another game as riddled with officiating blunders. There isn't one, but the Seahawks -- once again -- came close in 1998.

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That's when the New York Jets beat Seattle in a frenzied contest starring a mystical "Phantom Touchdown." Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde scored on a 5-yard sneak that gave New York a 32-31 win, but the ball never crossed the goal line. The refs (the real ones, mind you) thought Vinny's helmet was the ball.

"A lot of people think the play back in '98 was responsible for bringing in instant replay," Testaverde told Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday. "Well, even with instant replay, these guys got it wrong (on Monday). It's pretty bad when you can't get it right with instant replay."

That December defeat hung heavy in the air when Seattle finished 8-8 and out of the playoff picture. Coach Dennis Erickson was fired and Testaverde said Erickson's "still bitter about it, to say the least. He laughed about it a little (in a recent meeting), but not as hard as I was laughing."

Careers are always on the line in this league, and that contributes to the fervor surrounding Monday night's debacle. Nobody wants to see this impact a Super Bowl run.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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