The NFL regular season is over, and we know the 12 playoff teams that will be chasing the Super Bowl this year. For others, Sunday brought the bitter end, or raised new questions heading into the most important stretch of the season. It’s those teams who will be left licking their wounds — some even while preparing for another game next week.
Here are ten big disappointments from the final week of the NFL season.
Referees, NFL at end of Seahawks-49ers game
There’s no way around it: the referees on the field missed a blatant pass interference by San Francisco on 3rd-and-goal at the end of “Sunday Night Football.” The refs missing the call is bad, but what was equally bad — if not worse — was the lack of a booth review. The NFL now has the ability to intercede and correct a badly missed pass interference call such as this one, yet they failed to act. The Seahawks came up short on 4th-and-goal (a good call by the officials), but the missed pass interference was a game-changer. That was the difference between the 49ers having the top seed and the Packers getting it; the difference between the Saints getting a bye and having to play in the wild card round; and the Seahawks having the fifth seed rather than the third.
Pete Carroll, Seahawks coaches
The NFL and referees missed a pass interference on 3rd-and-goal, but that doesn’t absolve the Seahawks’ coaches from their mistakes. Seattle inexplicably took a delay of game penalty on 2nd-and-goal in the final minute. How did they have a full play clock to execute a play and make that error in that situation? Because of the penalty, the ball was moved back from the one to the six, and they had to sub out Marshawn Lynch from the goal-line package. Seattle was unable to get in on three straight pass plays after that and did themselves no favors in the 26-21 loss.