PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA on Tuesday weighed in on a question transfixing America — the controversial finish of a late night football game decided on a disputed call by referees.
Workplaces and school yards were buzzing over the ruling which gave a touchdown and a last gasp 14-12 victory over the Green Bay Packers to the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League (NFL).
The incident, in which the ball appeared to have been intercepted by a Packers player, piled pressure on NFL bosses to solve a labor dispute which has seen the powerful and popular league field replacement referees.
“Terrible,” Obama said, when asked by reporters for his reaction to the controversy after arriving back at the White House from the United Nations General Assembly.
“I’ve been saying for months we’ve got to get our refs back.”
Earlier, on Air Force One, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president had told him the incident “was a perfect example of why both sides need to come together, to resolve their differences, so the regular refs can get back on the field.”
“He thinks there was a real problem with the call,” Carney said.
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a Packers fan from Wisconsin, which is rabidly supportive of the home state team, also tackled the drama, and used it to take a jab at Obama ahead of the November 6 election.
“Did you guys watch that Packer game last night? I mean — give me a break. It is time to get the real refs,” Ryan said in Ohio.
“Do you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out.”
In the bizarre finish to the showpiece “Monday Night Football” game, Seattle’s Russell Wilson was credited with a game-winning touchdown pass to Golden Tate on the last play.
Wilson scrambled to avoid Packers pass rushers and heaved a desperation toss into the end zone, where three Green Bay defenders and two Seattle receivers leaped into the air and fell into a pile as they tried to grab the ball.
Green Bay defender M.D. Jennings leapt highest and pulled the ball into his chest while Tate also grabbed the ball in his outstretched hands as the group fell to the turf.
One referee made a Seattle touchdown signal, while another signaled a Green Bay interception, sowing confusion.
A mandatory video replay was made and the ruling was upheld to the delight of the home crowd, sending the Packers off the field in dismay.
Reactions on Twitter and from television commentators made it clear that many NFL fans saw the outcome as the first game where a team lost due to the replacement referees.