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Monday, October 25, 2010
Childress: 'Worst officiated game I've seen'

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress has never been afraid to share his opinion on officiating in his team's games, but Sunday night, he took his criticism to an unprecedented level after a 28-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

The Vikings had three touchdowns overturned by replay officials and also had a face mask penalty that set back their final drive, prompting Childress to tell the Vikings' flagship radio station (KFAN-1130 AM): "That's the worst officiated game I've seen."

Childress saved most of his ire for two calls in particular. The first was what was initially ruled a 17-yard touchdown reception by tight end Visanthe Shiancoe in the second quarter. Referee Scott Green's crew overturned the call after Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged it.

Replays showed the ball touching the ground while it remained in Shiancoe's hands at the end of his dive. NFL Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 4 says: "If the ball touches the ground after the player secures control of it, it is a catch, provided that the player continues to maintain control."

I have to admit it looked like Shiancoe did just that. But Green ruled that he "used the ground to help make the catch."

Childress was still livid about the decision after the game and unleashed this quote during his postgame media session: "They said he didn't control it. And he controlled it. If the litmus test is 50 drunks in a bar, those 50 drunks say it's a catch."

Childress, meanwhile, told KFAN that he vehemently disagreed with a face mask call against right tackle Phil Loadholt, who was trying to block Packers linebacker Clay Matthews late in the fourth quarter. The call pushed the Vikings from the Packers' 20-yard line to their 35. I just watched the replay, and if Loadholt didn't have Matthews' face mask, it looked like he still should have earned a 10-yard holding penalty.

Here's what Childress told KFAN: "The umpire standing on that side, they called a penalty. The guy hadn't called a penalty all night long and then I don't know if he got religion or what happened. But Bruce whatever his name his [umpire Bruce Stritesky] didn't make a [expletive] call all night long. Now we're going to get a face mask? I mean, come on now. Come on."

Look, I have some sympathy for the Shiancoe touchdown, especially since the Vikings ultimately had to settle for Ryan Longwell's 28-yard field goal. But it's pretty obvious that Childress' frustration had just boiled over after this game. Loadholt deserved to have some sort of penalty called on him. That penalty -- and officiating overall -- is not the reason the Vikings lost or that they are 2-4 this season.

I'll be curious to see if the NFL has a reaction to comments as blunt as these. Childress had a point in at least one instance, and criticizing officials often provides some short-term relief. But that's all it is. Sorry. Those calls aren't coming back.