Seahawks Insider

Replacement official Lance Easley works Sherman’s charity softball game; says he’d make the same call again in “Fail Mary”

Post by Eric Williams on July 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm with 44 Comments »
July 8, 2013 12:18 pm
Seahawks Richard Sherman playfully intercedes between Seahawks receiver Golden Tate and referee Lance Easley, during the Richard Sherman Celebrity Softball Game Sunday July 7 , 2013 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. Last season Easley, a NFL replacement referee, ruled Tate caught a controversial TD late in the game against the Green Bay Packers to give the Seahawks a victory.
Seahawks Richard Sherman playfully intercedes between Seahawks receiver Golden Tate and referee Lance Easley, during the Richard Sherman Celebrity Softball Game Sunday July 7 , 2013 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. Last season Easley, a NFL replacement referee, ruled Tate caught a controversial TD late in the game against the Green Bay Packers to give the Seahawks a victory.

A sell-out crowd of roughly 7,000 fans at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium attended Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s inaugural celebrity softball game.

Sherman’s event drew big names, including Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, along with receivers Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin.

Non-Seattle players of note included Arizona receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts, future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, Sonics legend Shawn Kemp, and Tacoma natives Lawyer Milloy, Marcus Trufant and Desmond Trufant.

Overseeing it all was replacement official Lance Easley, the referee who signaled touchdown on Tate’s game-winning reception against Green Bay in Seattle’s 14-12 win over the Packers in Week 3 of last season.

The charity softball game raised funds for Home for Heroes – a charity that provides financial assistance to emergency services personnel across the country during times of documented, personal financial need — and The Richard Sherman Family Foundation, which focuses on helping inner city youth.

Easley signals touchdown

“A lot of times what they think is possible is so boxed in because of the limited opportunities they have,” Sherman said, when asked why his foundation is supporting inner city kids. “They don’t have the school supplies. They don’t have the resources they need to be successful as somebody in a suburban neighborhood, a nice neighborhood. So I’m just trying to even out the playing field a little bit, and give them an opportunity and resources they need to be successful.”

The game ended in a 20-20 tie, but Walter Thurmond’s final blast over the fence in a home run competition to break the tie gave the team coached by Wilson the win over Sherman’s team.

Tate, who hit two home runs out of Cheney Stadium during the home run competition, was named the game’s MVP. Tate played baseball at Notre Dame.

Team Sherman, including Sonics legend Shawn Kemp, at right did a team cheer during the Richard Sherman Celebrity Softball Game Sunday July 7 , 2013 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. Other's included Arizona Cardinal's receiver Larry Fitzgerald third from left, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman and Sidney Rice next to Shawn Kemp.  Money raised benefited "Helping A Hero," and other local charities.(Dean J. Koepfler / Staff Photo)
Team Sherman, including Sonics legend Shawn Kemp, at right did a team cheer during the Richard Sherman Celebrity Softball Game Sunday July 7 , 2013 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. Other’s included Arizona Cardinal’s receiver Larry Fitzgerald third from left, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman and Sidney Rice next to Shawn Kemp. Money raised benefited “Helping A Hero,” and other local charities.(Dean J. Koepfler / Staff Photo)

Most players stuck around to sign autographs, and Easley, wearing a stripped NFL referee shirt and black shorts, had just as many requests as Seattle players.

Easley said the pull to help the charities involved served as a good reason to attend the game.

“I’m an FCA guy, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, so I’m always involved with young people,” Easley said. “So it’s a double blessing for me to be here. And that’s why I’m here, just to give back.”

Easley talked about dealing with the adversity that has come his way since the Monday Night game at CenturyLink Field last September, which included death threats.

“I have been prepared for it for years, by living a lifestyle that would prepare me for it,” Easley said. “I think in a lot of people’s lives, they hit a crisis, or they get a grey call or something, and if you’re prepared for it, it easier to deal with.

“If you don’t have a foundation and you’re not prepared for it, it’s a lot more difficult. So thank God that my faith, my family and my upbringing – everything that I have had built up, held me up to this whole event.”

Easley said he’s stepped down from officiating since serving as a replacement official, working an occasional high school game last season. He’s written a book, “Making the Call: Living with your decisions”, that will be released in August. And he’s been asked to do about two to three speaking engagements a month.

“I thought it might be my last season officiating when I took the job with the NFL,” Easley said. “I have some other projects that I’m working on. I’m working on a documentary film about high school football officials. I want to try and give people more of an inside look.

“It seems like people know more about the mafia than they do about officiating. We both have a code of silence, but nobody dies in officiating. And they don’t talk. And they’re good people. … I think a positive light should be shined on them.

“We just had an official killed, a soccer official, in Utah here recently, which is tragic. I just wanted to give a face to those people. And just let people know that, ‘Hey, it’s a game. They’re out there, and it’s a no-win situation for officials.”

EasleyandTate

Here’s how Easley describes the play leading up to Tate’s touchdown catch.

“When I got to the pile both of them were entangled,” he said. “There was no way (to tell who had possession), and you just can’t let them wrestle forever and ever.

“If I regret anything, it’s that I probably should have talked it over a little bit with my partner (Back Judge Derrick Rhone-Dunn). I thought he saw the same thing. But because of the media, and the way they were getting after us every week, and the pressure, I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I know what I have. If talk about it, the media is going to crucify us, like look at those idiots, they don’t know what they’re doing.’

“And previous to that, when they both went up and started to come down, I said to myself, ‘Oh no, this is happening in front of 18 million people on TV, on Monday night. Everybody’s watching this.’ Because I knew how bizarre the play was.’”

Easley believes he now has his Immaculate Reception.

“Players, coaches – all of us fans – we know it’s never happened before,” Easley said. “So I just happen to be stuck in the middle of it. I made a call. It was the correct call, even though Green Bay fans probably will never say it’s correct. But it was a difficult call, and it’s just one you don’t want.”

But even though Easley called it a “grey call”, he still believes that he made the correct decision.

“I wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “I can’t. The NFL upheld it. I’ve looked at plenty of video. I’ve talked to my replay guys, and there was nothing that could turn it over. And the fact is, if you want to say that the defender had control of it in the air – and that’s loosely used, because in the process of a catch you have to have two feet, or another body part, and control of the ball when you touch the ground inbounds – the ball could have come loose anywhere in that process for a second, which nobody could really see, even with all of the cameras.

“If it did, then it’s a loose ball, but it didn’t touch the ground. So if they’re both on it, it goes to the offense. So it was just one of those calls that will live in NFL history.

“It probably will never happen again, just like the Immaculate Reception.”

Asked what he would say to a Green Bay fan who saw him at Sherman’s event, Easley had this to say: “I’m here for charity, and I would do the same for their charities. I have no ill will against any team. I’m not a Seahawks fan. I’m not a Green Bay fan.”

So is this Easley’s 15 minutes of fame?

“I haven’t looked for any of that stuff,” he said. “But it just keeps coming and coming at me. And when I’ve gone and spoken, people here me speak and they want me to speak somewhere else. It’s taken on a life of its own.”

Categories:
Charitable endeavors
Leave a comment Comments → 44
  1. Dukeshire says:

    Interesting and pretty cool event on top of it all.

  2. As Seahawks fans, we’re inclined to believe it was the right call. Even if it wasn’t the right call, it certainly wasn’t as egregious as Green Bay fans would lead you to believe. After all, instant replay couldn’t overturn it.

    It’s a play that underscores Golden Tate’s ability (even if he did push off). I really don’t think more than a handful of other WRs his height could have made that play.

  3. HonHawksLSB says:

    Sounds like nobody got hurt… Good

    Side note, seems like the Hawks could actually field a pretty decent baseball team.

  4. sluggo42 says:

    Hmmm, Larry Fitzgerald really seems to be building a connection with Russell Wilson. He was all chummy during the all star game too.

  5. GREAT interview with Easley!!! And a great event- way to go Sherman!! Love to see our guys working as hard for charity as they do for the team. just wish I could have gone myself.

    Interesting that Wilson was coach- wasn’t her a baseball player?

  6. bbnate420 says:

    If we can’t afford Rice at 8 mil we certainly can’t afford Fitz at 15 mil.

  7. seatowntp says:

    Nate, it’s July and a great time to day dream. . . Tate, Harvin, and Fitz is a very pleasant dream! (Even though the reality of it is a less likely reality.)

  8. montanamike2 says:

    Larry Fitz might come here at the twilight of his career to get that elusive ring. He’s such a class act that it speaks volumes of Wilson.
    Even that he was at Sherman’s charity is a case by itself, it also shows Sherman is getting respect from players of other teams. He’s already toning down the off field talk and not letting himself get baited again.
    sluggo it is cool to see Wilson and Fitz getting chummy.

  9. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Cool stuff Eric!

    This is the kind of off season news I like to hear most.

  10. sluggo42 says:

    Twilight of the Fitzgerald…

  11. That softball game was awesome, wish it would of got some national pub besides just a little side bar note from sports center, it was for a great cause. Anyways it was good times. Does anyone know were I could or if they are even selling those Richard Sherman hats.

  12. The funny thing also is that the shortest dudes were hitting it the hardest. Tate, Wilson, and Thomas were slapping it out of the park the most.

  13. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I thought this article was interesting but I have no idea if this formation is the best in the NFL.

    Need some help here Duke.

    http://presnapreads.com/2013/06/27/my-perfect-formations-the-seattle-seahawks/

  14. yankinta says:

    It sickens me that some of our own Seahawks Fans are ashamed to have won that game on that last call. They don’t even know the NFL rule book,, they just listen to the talking heads on TV and think we won it unfairly,,, smh,, I guess there are a ton of uneducated fans for every team and we have some too,,,

  15. Dukeshire says:

    Georgia – I didn’t really understand the premise of that article. That is, “perfect formations” are in direct coloration to how effective they are against an opponent’s formation. Was that particular defensive play call “perfect”? Against the play the Pats ran, perhaps. But then even within a formation there are a variety of concepts that can be run. (e.g., press vs zone. blitz vs gap control. etc…) Then there the clear mistakes he makes in his analysis: Alan Branch is the 3-tech, not Jason Jones. Wright is the Will ‘backer and as a result there *ought* to be a “notable” gap between he and Chancellor as the SS and Will LB play on opposite sides of the formation. Also, Wright is aligned above the RT, not the outside center’s shoulder.

    In any case, I appreciate that he’s trying to develop an interesting metric, but there are too many flaws here for my liking.

  16. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Dukeshire, thanks for pointing out the flaws. The article was a little confusing to me with all this perfect formation talk.

  17. NightHawk2005 says:

    The uneducated fans are the ones who think that was a legitimate win. Yankinta, that website does NOT know the NFL rulebook. As far as simultaneous possession is concerned, a player in mid-air DOES have possession. You do not have to get two feet down to establish simultaneous possession. All you have to do is control the football, which Jennings does. Jennings beat Tate in controlling the football, which means that Tate can only get possession in one of two ways. He can wrestle the ball away from Jennings, or Jennings can land out of bounds. If either happens, Tate would have a legal catch. Neither one of those took place.

    Basically, Easley missed the call and he won’t admit it. Terrible.

  18. bbnate420 says:

    Great, now we have Packers’ trolls on this blog too. Jennings had to have a majority control of the ball WHEN HE HIT THE GROUND. I don’t think he did. It’s a judgement call. It’s not black and white. Some people just can’t handle the fact that there isn’t a definite, knowable answer to humans all the time. It was called the way it was. It’s not like it lost anyone a SB. ;-) Cry yourself a river if you can’t get over it.

  19. sluggo42 says:

    +1 ^^^^^

  20. Skavage says:

    Did anyone else get a chuckle out of seeing Fitzgerald wear a jersey with Seahawk colors? :)

  21. ARodgers12 says:

    Seahawks fans and players SHOULD be ashamed. Easley and Tate are both losers. To see Easley at this game absolutely pissed me off as a Packer fan… To know that he is getting more and more fame and opportunities because of a horrid call just wrenches a packer fans heart.

  22. NIghtHawk must have missed the point where the NFL said there was nothing to overrule the call – Therefore it stands AND it was a legal catch!

    If GB wanted to win they should have played better!!!

  23. ARodgers12 says:

    Green Bay did win. Just because Easley called it a catch doesn’t mean it was a catch. He was wrong. It was an interception that was called a catch by an incompetent official.

  24. DanielleMND says:

    Death threats against the ref? Stay classy, Packers fans.

  25. bbnate420 says:

    Wow, you beat Minnesota at home with Joe Webb at QB and no Harvin. Get a life, loser. You’re obliviously a sad, little, prepubescent anal fissure with nothing better to do than to troll Hawks’ blogs from mommy’s basement.

  26. ARodgers12 says:

    Wow. Screw you. You guys would’ve been blown off the field if RG3 doesn’t get hurt. And you’re sounding just a bit hypocritical, chief.

  27. bbnate420 says:

    What’s that? I can’t understand you with your mouth full.

  28. bbnate420 says:

    Enjoy it while you can. You’ll be banned soon.

  29. ARodgers12 says:

    im enjoying every minute of it

  30. Hate to break it to you- no matter what your opinion final score seattle 14 GB 12 never gonna change.

  31. bbnate420 says:

    Just in case anyone reads this later, ARodgers12 had a number of stupid, offensive posts erased.

  32. bbnate420 says:

    I should say trolling posts. I wouldn’t want someone censored for simply being what some people deem offensive.

  33. NightHawk2005 says:

    “Great, now we have Packers’ trolls on this blog too. Jennings had to have a majority control of the ball WHEN HE HIT THE GROUND.”

    No, he didn’t. That’s an inaccurate belief, caused by the NFL ignoring its own rules in hopes of causing the controversy to die. Jennings merely needed to have control first. The receiver doesn’t get to get in second and claim simultaneous possession. Once Jennings had control first, the only way Tate could win is if Jennings either lost control of the ball on the way down, or landed out of bounds. Neither of those happens, so by NFL rule, it is an interception.

    The score might say Seattle 14, Green Bay 12, but most NFL fans will know that Green Bay won 12-7. It’s just like Super Bowl 40, the Steelers can say they won as much as they like, but most NFL fans know that title belongs to Seattle.

  34. NightHawk2005 says:

    This is taken directly from the NFL’s casebook as a potential situation: First-and-10 on A20. B3 controls a pass in the air at the A40 before A2, who then also controls the ball before they land. As they land, A2 and B3 fall down to the ground. Ruling: B’s ball, first-and-10 on A40. Not a simultaneous catch as B3 gains control first and retains control.

    Right there, it tells you that for the purposes of simultaneous possession, landing is irrelevant.

  35. seahawkfan97 says:

    Easley said when “When I got to the pile both of them were entangled,” he said. “There was no way (to tell who had possession),”

    So the rule is irrelevant in this case and this is what instant replay is for. He can only judge what he saw…..he did not see who had possession before they became entangled… the replay officials missed it not Easley…He cannot be expected to see everything….

  36. NightHawk2005 says:

    That’s fine, but to insist that he’d still make the call he made then is bogus. It’s also bogus that he was so worried about looking like a fool that he wouldn’t get a second pair of eyes to either confirm or deny such a tight play. The problem isn’t that Easley botched the call. The problem is he botched it, didn’t seek help and continues to insist his call was correct.

  37. bbnate420 says:

    The rules are NOT black and white. Fir it to be a CATCH, or any kind, you have to land with both feet in bounds and have control of the ball! In cases of simultaneous catches, it comes down to control. It’s subjective. Tate had his left hand on the ball first and it DOESN’T move from it. You CAN have control with one hand! The NFL has called many one handed catches. So it’s SUBJECTIVE. Not black and white as you insinuate.

    Then add in the fact that NO person could see all the things they needed to see to call that play correctly at full speed. Neither on the field or on replay. It’s still hard to tell exactly what happened frame by frame. And the replay officials did what was right. They’re instructed not to overturn calls unless they have indisputable evidence. Like it or not, that’s the rule. I think it’s stupid personally. The replay officials were real officials. There’s NO indisputable evidence to overturn in the replays. There was bad officiating throughout that game for both sides. GB doesn’t score the go ahead TD without a bullshit pass interference call. I guess we just ignore that?

    Either way, get over it. It’s over. GB is never getting that win and Seattle is never getting the SB 40 trophy. Maybe you’re not a Packers troll. I’ve never seen you before. Maybe you’re just another in the line of nighthawk haters. Or maybe neither. Time will tell.

  38. bbnate420 says:

    *For *of

  39. Neatfellen says:

    As a fan of neither team and therefore objective, the catch by either player should not have mattered regardless since the NFL did state that the Offensive Interference before the catch from Tate Pushing Off should have negated any catch. The only reason it was not over turned is because you cannot review penalties and either call or take back a penalty through a replay. That is the objective truth. The Ref/both refs close to the play should have had their eyes on the players watching them and what they were doing prior to the ball arriving, and not watching the ball float over the field before arriving to the players like they have never seen a football in the air before. Period.

  40. ARodgers12 says:

    Green Bay still won in my eyes

  41. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Green Bay has been passed by not only the Seahawks but the 49ers and Falcons.
    Find a defense or good luck.

  42. The score might say Seattle 14, Green Bay 12, but most NFL fans will know that Green Bay won 12-7. It’s just like Super Bowl 40, the Steelers can say they won as much as they like, but most NFL fans know that title belongs to Seattle

    They didn’t win 12-7. And any NFL fan hat says so s stupid and Seattle doesn’t own a title – both team COULD have done more to over come questionable calls – THEY DIDN’T ! It sucks for their fans but THEY DIDN’T WIN!!!!! Doesn’t matter what anyone’s “OPINIONS” are the FACT is THEY LOST

  43. olyfan63 says:

    Seattle beat the Packers and lost Super Bowl XL fair and square in both cases.
    Tate’s catch was a legit catch; he had his left hand on it first, with control that was never relinquished, and it was amusing to see the national media ignore this and NOT show the back angle video where this was clear. National media was only interested in fanning the flames and driving traffic to their site and TV show, not in accuracy. The almighty dollar rule$, baby.

    Seattle lost Super Bowl XL fair and square because they had no depth at safety, and when Marquand Manuel pulled a hamstring in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers were able to take advantage of his 3rd string replacement for 2 TD’s that won the game for them. Remember Willie Parker’s 76 yard TD run? How about the 40+ yard trick play pass TD? Both those TD’s were the replacement safety’s responsibility. The Tim Ruskell front office lost Super Bowl XL by not arranging for a better backup for this key position, and a critical injury at the wrong time showed that Pittsburgh had a deeper roster, and a coaching staff that could recognize in-game mismatches and take advantage of them.
    Brock Huard comments here about the subject:
    mynorthwest dawt com/422/629388/Remembering-Manuels-importance-to-05-team

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