In over a decade of watching football, both collegiate and professional, I am not sure if I have ever seen a mistake like this. Yes, you could point to mistakes like last year’s Green Bay Packers vs Seattle Seahawks game where the referees blew the games. However, those were replacement referees. But, tonight, this game and these refs made those replacement referees look like all-stars. Tonight’s referees were not replacements. This is their job and they failed miserably.
One has to expect the referees will be punished following a review of this game. I also wonder if Wisconsin will have a legitimate claim at the game results being thrown out (something I have never seen).
So what happened? With Wisconsin driving down the field for the go-ahead field goal, the referees took over and handed Arizona State the game. Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave went to take a knee but instead placed the ball on the ground, essentially giving himself up to place the ball in the middle of the field.
Instead of spotting the ball and allowing the Badgers to spike the ball, the referees allowed mayhem to ensue. First, Arizona State’s Anthony Jones laid on top of the ball, which should have been a dead ball delay of game penalty. Then, one referee told Wisconsin they had to wait, while the play clock continued to tick down. As the referees and players tried to figure out what was happening, the clock ticked down to zero and the game was over.
Surely, this will go down as one of the worst, if not the worst, referee mistakes of all time.