Dick Harmon: Reno Mahe and Fahu Tahi react to NFL refereeing disaster

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 25 2012 3:14 p.m. MDT

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and wide receiver Sidney Rice celebrate after their 14-12 win over the Green Bay Packers in an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Seattle.

Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

Reno Mahe couldn’t stop laughing.

It was that bad, that sad and it made many people mad.

Replacement refs. The topic might make a good movie script.

Mahe, the former four-year Philadelphia Eagle receiver who played at BYU and Brighton High, couldn’t hold back his comedic reaction over the situation that’s taken the NFL by the throat and become a bigger story than the games.

Blown calls over the weekend, capped by a Hail Mary touchdown decision on Monday night that gave Seattle a win over the Green Bay Packers, have put the league front and center of a firestorm of criticism.

If ESPN's SportCenter replays that Packer-Seahawk ending any more this week, they'll have little room for any other stories.

On the apparent Packer end-zone interception that was ruled a Seahawk touchdown reception Monday night, Mahe said, “My dead, blind grandmother could have made that call and she’s never seen a down of football.”

That play decided the game — and it could ultimately decide a playoff berth.

“It’s a joke. It is bad,” said Mahe. “You have taken a billion-dollar industry and it's like NASA accepting the lowest bidder to build the space shuttle. It’s bad, and it's at the end of games. And they’ve got Division II or III guys in the replay booth. It’s like they don’t have high-definition television sets in the booth and they can’t see anything clearly.”

Former Granger High, BYU and Minnesota Viking running back Fahu Tahi said it is time for the NFL to settle its dispute with officials because it is affecting the game and the integrity of the NFL. And he pointed out that some questionable calls could keep someone out of the playoffs that deserves to be there.

“You are always going to have people complain over calls, even with the regular officials, but it seems there is more controversy and complaints over calls going on right now,” said Tahi. “You see these guys are struggling to keep control of things — like frustrated coaches and players — and there seems to be more scuffles going on. They gotta fix it.”

Both Mahe and Tahi scratched their heads over the San Francisco-Minnesota game last Sunday when replacement official Ken Roan not only made a mistake on a basic rule by allowing 49er coach Jim Harbaugh to challenge a call after his final timeout — he did it twice in the span of six plays late in the game.

Still, there’s all kinds of ways to look at things, according to Mahe.

“Every kid who plays sports knows, at the end of the day, you should not leave it up to a replacement official to make a call," he said. "You shouldn’t let it get to that. You should not let them decide a game.

“There were plenty of games where one team beat the other by 10 points or more. The Giants beat the Panthers 36-7. The Bears beat the Rams 23-6. You know these are replacement refs, so don’t count on them.”

Still, Mahe couldn’t help laughing about the situation — that the NFL had a sideline official on that Packer-Seahawk end-of-game play with his highest previous experience coming in Division III college football.

It does boggle the mind.

Now, on to this week’s college prognostications. Last week Georgia Tech and UCLA failed to come through for me in losses to Miami and Oregon State.

Stanford 34, Washington 10: Steve Sarkisian has a great platform to pull an upset but won’t happen.

UCLA 28, Colorado 7: The Bruins are smarting from the Oregon State game. Bruins roll.

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