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Packers-Seahawks Fiasco Reinforces View on NFL Refs, Poll Says

The controversial call that gave the Seattle Seahawks a win over the Green Bay Packers reinforced the public’s belief about the presence of replacement referees, according to a Seton Hall University poll.

A survey of 688 randomly selected people showed that on Sept. 24, before the National Football League game, 41 percent said games had suffered from the use of replacements. After the game, the number jumped to 65 percent.

The referees missed a pushing violation in the end zone on the final play and called a simultaneous catch, which gave Seattle a game-winning touchdown as time expired.

The NFL and the referees reached an agreement two days after the game to end the three-month lockout. The referees returned to the field last night for the Ravens’ 23-16 victory over the Cleveland Browns at M&T Stadium in Baltimore.

“The NFL felt the shift in mood of its public,” said Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is conducted by the Sharkey Institute. “The game changed the mood of the American public and these are the numbers that prove it.”

Forty-seven percent of respondents didn’t know if the replacements were affecting games before the Seahawks’ incident, the poll showed. The number fell to 26 percent afterwards.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, the South Orange, New Jersey-based school said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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