Talk:2012 Packers–Seahawks officiating controversy

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Does this game really need an article?[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There are only two other regular season games ever that have articles, and one of them has a notability tag. While this game was exciting and the end was controversial, I'm not so sure it meets WP:N guidelines. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 19:39, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Considering the reaction, both online and in the media, I think that the game might meet the requirements of notability. Especally notable is the fact that it is rare for a Senator to consider legislation because of the result of a sports game. (talk) 01:57, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
As I stated below, while the final referee call is notable, the game itself isn't (in my opinion, at least.) There are plenty of blown calls in the NFL but they don't have WP articles, but I agree the one at the end of this game is an exception. Having said that, the details of the kickoff and breaking it down by quarters is just silly to be honest because 99% of that is not encyclopedic. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 02:05, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
There needs to be something for the sake of context. AutomaticStrikeout 03:16, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I will agree with AutomaticStrikeout if the article keeps its current name. However, if it is possible to come up with an accurate name it might be better if the article was renamed as you mentioned in one of SGMD1's edits. Granted, that could be difficult at the moment. (talk) 03:49, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
This game has arguably recieved more attention then any other regular season game in the history of the NFL. The reaction all over the country has been massive. ESPN set records for viewership after the game. I'm surprised it's even being debated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a newspaper. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 23:18, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I believe the question is this: Is an article about the events and consequences of a single play from a single game notable enough to still be an article? That is why this is being discussed on the AfD page for this article. (I will say that if this somehow survives AfD, there should be a proposal to move the article to a name that would not be as misleading or make a decision to style the article similar to past articles.)(In addition, I will say that I am curious to when there was a change of the location of a discussion to an AfD from the talk page. Likely just missed the change, but it still is different.) (talk) 02:15, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

WP:NPOV issues[edit]

I know this article is rapidly being created, but I think it has significant WP:NPOV issues in its current state. I'll work on fixing them but until it is addressed I have added an NPOV tag to the article. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 22:03, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Since the name of the article sounds like it is talking about the game overall, it should be expanded more on the game itself than just the play to give it more of a Netural PoV. (talk) 01:57, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that the first 59 minutes, 59 seconds of the game don't meet Wikipedia's notability guidelines at all. The final referee call is notable and should be covered somewhere, but adding in all the details of the game just because the article title exists is a waste of time IMO because it isn't notable. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs
As a mentioned on the merge page, there are several games where only the last play was important, but those articles have the details of the game. (As far as I know they are all linked to the NFL lore page) The problem is that a balance is needed at the moment. Do you have a different idea at the moment? Right now I can only see a few paths for the moment. (talk) 03:49, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Well I'm in the "merge" camp so I don't think this article should exist in the first place...but that aside, any renaming discussion, if any, should be postponed until there is some sort of consensus in reliable sources on what last night's "scenario" is called. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 03:58, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, it depends on what is called a reliable source. Here is a small list:

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── AP/The Huffington Post - Forbes - Forbes (2) - The Washington Post - USA Today - (Contains additional link to USA Today (2) - The New York Post - ESPN - (As far as I have seen, this is the most "netural")

If possible, I would like to see if some articles that are more netural can be found, but I would not be surprised if there is not that many at the moment. (talk) 21:22, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

The only thing I could really find: (ESPN) (talk) 05:59, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Prose in lede[edit]

Y2kcrazyjoker4's lede edit states that "Tate pushed a defender down prior to the catch" while the reference states "Tate shoved a defender with both hands." Y2kcrazyjoker4's lede edit also states that a penalty on the play "would have negated the touchdown and resulted in a Packers win" when the NFL statement says it "should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game." I also have objections with calling it a "controversial play." IMHO the play itself wasn't controversial; the official's ruling was. This is an important distinction. Can others weigh in on this? SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 04:51, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand why you are splitting hairs here. The point is, I'm trying to correct imprecise language. The NFL statement may have simply said "a penalty would have ended the game", but it fails to make clear what the outcome of the game would have been. I'm making a factual statement when I say the penalty would negate the touchdown and result in the Packers victory. That is what the NFL statement was getting at but did not make clear in its haste. This is not made clear with the language you are partial to. Furthermore, starting the last sentence with "the controversial ruling" essentially means you are referring only to the "simultaneous possession" facet of the play. This was the only ruling. The non-penalty call was technically not a ruling at all, it was just an oversight on the refs' part. Y2Kcrazyjoker4 (talkcontributions) 04:54, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm splitting hairs because the language can easily become biased otherwise (as it is in many places in the article right now.) We have to rely on what the reliable secondary sources say. This is Wikipedia 101. I have no objection with adding "resulting in a Packers win" to the end of the Tate penalty sentence. As for the last sentence, that can be reworked as well, but referring to it as a "controversial play" is unacceptable. The play wasn't controversial by any means. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 04:59, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I have no issues with the current edit. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 05:03, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Now that you changed it again, "controversial" appears twice in the lede and is redundant, which was one of my original issues with the prose. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 12:10, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Words can be repeated, you know, particularly several sentences apart. Y2Kcrazyjoker4 (talkcontributions) 14:56, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Saying "controversial" twice in the lede is redundant, period. Furthermore, you've now added in prose that the "game" was a focal point for criticism. This is wrong. The officiating on the final play is the focal point of all the criticism. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 15:20, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
....once again, you are splitting hairs. The officiating throughout the entire game was judged to be very poor, even before the final play. Therefore, there is nothing inherently "wrong" about saying the game became a focal point of criticism. Y2Kcrazyjoker4 (talkcontributions) 16:31, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
The officiating throughout the entire game was judged to be very poor, but that is true for about 20 games so far this season (hence why I think this whole article should be merged into 2012 NFL referee lockout#Officiating incidents). Only the final play is actually encyclopedic. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 16:42, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Tempest in a tea pot[edit]

I think this whole thing is overblown. 1) If Green Bay had been the beneficiary of the call, nobody would have been up in arms. The story would have been "Green Bay makes last-second Hail Mary comeback". Nobody outside of Seattle cared about the terrible officiating in the Seattle - Pittsburgh Super Bowl, because Seattle does not have a national following, like Dallas, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, etc. 2) The defender could have just swatted the ball over his head and out of the end zone. He has only himself to blame for trying to catch the ball with no time remaining. 3) They say Tate "pushed the defender down". That's an exaggeration. The defender was backing up into Tate. What was Tate supposed to do, just let himself be bowled over? With many players surging to the ball, refs only call blatant pass interference penalties. This was not blatant. Tate was mostly trying to avoid being knocked down. 4) Tate reached his arm in while both players were airborne. When they touched ground, both players had possession, with the defender wrestling to try to get the ball to himself. The offense wins in this situation. 5) Questionable calls happen all the time. This one is just an excuse for those who don't like the lockout (including myself), don't like having low level refs in NFL, and like Green Bay. But the refs made as good a call as possible, and had plenty of time to review the call. Seattle deserved the win. To imply Seattle was "handed" a win is nonsense. (talk) 21:13, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia isn't about what we believe. It's what reliable sources report. reported that Tate "shoved the defender with both hands" and the NFL official statement said it should've been offensive pass interference. Whether or not something was blatant or not is moot as long as it's widely reported as fact. Having said that, the article still has a lot of bias in the play description that needs to be remedied. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 21:21, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
If you would like to make a comment on the section in the Articles for deletion for this page, you may do so here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2012 Green Bay Packers–Seattle Seahawks game This talk page is more for improving the article than complaining about why it exists. (talk) 21:26, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
What is the first guy smoking? Packer fan or not, the call was wrong. (talk) 15:13, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a forum. Talk pages are not general discussion pages about the subject of the article. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 15:17, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Rename the article[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
No argument against the title that it was moved to, in fact, it appears to be largely agreed upon. Any disagreement with the current title can be resolved by starting a new RFC on the title. Regards, — Moe Epsilon 07:12, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Does the notability of this event extend beyond the game's final play? Should this article be renamed to better reflect the final play only? If so, what should the new article title be? SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 17:13, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

This article is mostly focused not around the entirety of the game, but the final play and its ensuing controversy. Furthermore, it does not include much encyclopedic content about most of the game, other than the final few seconds. As such, the article should be renamed to reflect the fact that it is mostly about the final play and its ensuing controversy. In other comparable NFL scenarios, cf. the Music City Miracle, articles have been named after the controversial play, rather than being named for the game itself (also compare the Holy Roller, and Tuck Rule Game). Since this controversy has yet to be given a notable nickname, I believe the title of the article should be changed to "2012 Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Game Officiating Controversy." Msdec24 (talk) 18:11, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

I agree, but we need to let the AfD play out. If "merge" is the final result, then it won't matter since the relevant material here will just transfer over to 2012 NFL referee lockout. If "keep" is the final result, then yes, the title should probably change. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 18:17, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point, I agree that we should temporarily suspend the discussion of re-naming the article until the other issue is fully resolved. Msdec24 (talk) 18:40, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Given that the discussion on the AfD page resulted in the consensus to keep the content on this article, I now re-submit for consideration, my previous arguments (see above) regarding the re-naming of the article to "2012 Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Game Officiating Controversy." Msdec24 (talk) 04:05, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I second the nomination. The title should be something neutral, like "2012 Packers-Seahawks final play" or "Russell Wilson pass to Golden Tate" (a la Eli Manning pass to David Tyree) or something else along those lines. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 13:51, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Note to readers: The RfC tag was added at this point in the discussion. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 17:13, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I suppose I see the point about 'Officiating Controversy' not being neutral. I agree with the proposal that the article name should be "2012 Packers-Seahawks Game Final Play" since that clearly references the event in a neutral tone. The reason I don't agree with the title "Russell Wilson pass to Golden Tate" is because its very ambiguous; Wilson has thrown more than one pass to Tate, and even though this one sticks out in our minds right now, from an encyclopedic standpoint, that can't really be a determining factor. Msdec24 (talk) 20:47, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, ther have been a few mentions of it being called The Golden Reception. Sportsnation has made a reference to is once.[1] (Not much, but it is better that a long name, in my opinion.) (talk) 00:37, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
My thoughts on the proposed names:
  • Russell Wilson pass to Golden Tate; I object; this is POV as it sounds like it presumes that Tate actually had a completion.
  • The Golden Reception. Also POV; given that the adjective "golden" has a very positive connotation in English, such a titlle denotes satisfaction with the outcome of the play.
  • 2012 Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Game Officiating Controversy. I don't see how this violates NPOV. Calling something "controversial" is not the same as taking a side. It is an accurate adjective. Nonetheless, this title is too long.
I favor something that I think is accurate, neutral, and, while not entirely elegant, is shorter than one choice. I support naming this: Golden Tate disputed touchdown reception. HuskyHuskie (talk) 05:16, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
This one is easy. It should be renamed Fail Mary or Fail Mary officiating controversy. I don't think this creates POV issues because that's what people have been calling it, and there's a broad consensus in reliable, unbiased sources that it was a blown call. The only POV issue with any name for this is any proposal that suggests against the general consensus that it was a legitimate catch. --Batard0 (talk) 05:13, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I second HuskyHuskie's suggestion of 2012 Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Game Officiating Controversy. As mentioned previously, Fail Mary is unacceptable due to WP:POVTITLE. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 15:47, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
I believe the original proposal to rename the article, 2012 Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Game Officiating Controversy was mine, however, I do agree with HuskyHuskie's new point that that title is NPOV. Fail Mary is obviously not neutral point of view; the official annals of the NFL will list this game as a win for the Seahawks, and will list the pass as a completion to Golden Tate. As far as "general consensus" goes amongst media sources goes, it's irrelevant to a POV debate; even if there is a "general consensus" amongst popular media in disagreeing with the NFL's official position, such a consensus is definitely not a neutral POV, so a title supporting such a view cannot be encyclopedic. Msdec24 (talk) 21:29, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, 2012 Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Game Officiating Controversy (hereafter called 2012 GBPSSGOC) was Msdec24's idea. I feel this title does NOT violate WP:NPOV in any significant way. I do feel that "2012 GBPSSGOC" is too long, but that's simply a consideration, not an automatic deal breaker. I completely support SGMD1's contention that "Fail Mary" violates WP:NPOV. While the term has gained some traction, it has not become widespread enough to overcome neutrality concerns. My favorite title remains Golden Tate disputed touchdown reception. HuskyHuskie (talk) 02:40, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
I think we're not debating along the correct lines here, to a degree. WP:POVTITLE says "the prevalence of the name, or the fact that a given description has effectively become a proper noun (and that proper noun has become the usual term for the event), generally overrides concern that Wikipedia might appear as endorsing one side of an issue." So the question we should be considering with regard to Fail Mary is not whether it is a POV term (it is), but whether the name is prevalent enough to override normal POV concerns. I assume that people above are suggesting that it is not yet prevalent enough as a name for the play to override these concerns, but that's the argument we should be making – not simply that it's POV and thus automatically should be discarded. Perhaps the best course would be to keep it with a neutral name unless and until Fail Mary or something else becomes the clear and accepted name for the play, assuming that hasn't happened already. This may take a year or perhaps even longer. --Batard0 (talk) 08:12, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Having given them significant consideration, I now completely agree with User:Batard0's comments. Suggest that a neutral term (if we go with the play, and not the game) would be Golden Tate disputed touchdown reception. HuskyHuskie (talk) 03:13, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Having read User:Batard0's comments, I can understand the point about a proper name overruling POV concerns; however, I do not believe that the name Fail Mary has gained such traction. The Holy Roller play is called "the Immaculate Deception" by San Diego fans, but it would be undoubtedly inappropriate for Wikipedia to have its page be named as such. However, the Holy Roller (American Football) article's page has a redirect for a query of "Immaculate Deception." I believe that a similar solution could be put in place on this page, with a redirect to this page for a query of "Fail Mary." I still advocate for changing the title to 2012 Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Game Officiating Controversy because it highlights the fact that more than just the pass to Golden Tate, but also the ensuing criticism and media coverage are included in the article. It's a clunky title, I recognize, but it is also the most accurate. Msdec24 (talk) 22:58, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
That makes sense as a holder if and until a colloquial term becomes the accepted one. I would suggest, however, a shortening of the title to 2012 Packers-Seahawks officiating controversy for brevity's sake. I also don't think we need to have the last words capitalized since it's not a proper name, unless I'm mistaken on MOS guidelines. --Batard0 (talk) 08:23, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


  • I really, really like Batard0's idea of 2012 Packers-Seahawks officiating controversy. Concise, neutral, descriptive. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 11:17, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I also agree with Batard0's idea of 2012 Packers-Seahawks officiating controversy. It fits the guidelines for neutrality, and also is more concise than the previous proposals. Msdec24 (talk) 19:29, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Count me as well for this more concise version of Batard's shortening of Msdec's original idea. My only concern with Msdec's original title had been length, and this covers that. SGMD1, you've kinda been the lead on this since the issue first broke--do we really need to hear from anyone else? We're the only ones who have been in this discussion. I'd be okay with you making the move right away, SG, if you think we're ready. HuskyHuskie (talk) 21:12, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I'll carry out the move if you want me to. ZappaOMati 21:15, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Done. Still needs some cleanup in the article itself but I think this title works much better. I've removed the RfC tag as well. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 23:28, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

A thought[edit]

Given there were two other prominently awful calls on the final drive leading up to the game-ender, should we mention those? I know of at least a couple places where they're mentioned, but I don't feel sufficiently neutral on this to be making major edits (I'm an ardent Green Bay fan, and I nearly lost my mind watching it unfold). The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:47, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't have cable (or any service that has ESPN), and since I'm also a Bears fan and don't really care about the Packers, what were the two awful calls? ZappaOMati 18:49, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
One was a clearly erroneous roughing the passer call on what would have been a Green Bay interception, and the next was a defensive pass interference call which was clearly offensive pass interference; my Firefox browser just shut off a moment ago, so I'll pull up the sources I had a couple minute ago. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:55, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Here are two of them; this and this. I also think the Gruden quote doesn't look quite right without the additional background because he's referring to two blown calls instead of one (the second one being the defensive PI call). The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 18:57, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
This sums it up rather nicely. Buggie111 (talk) 20:14, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Bleacher Report's kinda unrealiable though. ZappaOMati 00:21, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I've heard many school teachers say that "Although Wikipedia is unreliable, it can be used as a great starting off point". I think the same thing goes for BR. Buggie111 (talk) 00:27, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Error in article[edit]

IAW the SI 12/24/12 article on this play back judge Derrick Rhone-Dunn did NOT rule that the interception (my judgement is that Tate's claim to control of the ball is spurious) should result in a touchback, as the article currently states, but merely signalled a clock stoppage. Andyvphil (talk) 10:13, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Gosh, I am hoping I am posting this right. Andyvphil is correct. The call which can be easily confirm by looking at the rule book of NFL signals. At no time did back judge Derrick Rhone-Dunn signal touchback. This can be confirmed by under (6. Social media is bigger and more dangerous than ever.) and I tried to add
"Contrary to popular fan belief, an interception in the end zone is not signaled by simply stopping the clock. Because this interception would have resulted in a touchback, the proper mechanic would have been that of a touchback, wherein one arm is waved above the head, or "half" of the timeout signal). Because Rhone-Dunn signaled "timeout" so as to stop the game clock (apparently unaware that time had already expired, effectively making this mechanic unnecessary), it is apparent Rhone-Dunn desired further investigation of the play before rendering a verdict whereas Easley, from his angle, found sufficient evidence of a simultaneous catch with which to call a Rule 8-1-3 touchdown. At no point, however, did either official signal an interception."
Furthermore, posting that Rhone-Dunn called a 'touchback' is far more spurious claim than saying a 'timeout'. Since as I noted all you have to do is watch the refs action and compare it with rule book. One cannot infer that the touchback signal was eminent or next, since that did not happen. Finally, just because a reporter called it 'that' does not make it true since the rule book is readily available to compare the referee's action to.
My last note, who ever is protecting this page is reverting the page back before I could finish up typing up the references. So I am not sure what a user is suppose to do. Granted I am typing with one hand and still learning the syntax. Anicra (talk) 17:13, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

The image is CenturyLink Field? Are you kidding me?[edit]

Why on Earth is the main image of this article a picture of an empty CenturyLink Field? Why not have an image of the actual play itself, like this one: I'm not saying that image specifically, but seriously. Should the article on the Tuck Rule game just be an image of an empty Gillette Stadium? C'MON, MAN!!!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:01, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Any copyrighted image like that is subject to Wikipedia's strict non-free content policies. A free content image like that photo of the stadium is under no such scrutiny. So unless you'd like to help us comply with these non-free content policies, the free image of CenturyLink Field will have to do. Cheers. Zzyzx11 (talk) 05:09, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Although I am late to this, why does the Tuck Rule Game have an image of the play, from CBS, if this article does not? Wouldn't that image be subjected to the policy that you mentioned or is something about the picture allows it to be used on the article? --Super Goku V (talk) 06:55, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Just giving a suggestion to improve the quality of the article. (talk) 00:48, 14 January 2013 (UTC)


I felt it necessary to change the wording of the lead, as how it stood before seems to establish that the controversy surrounding the play was Tate pushing off on the defender when it was really how dubious the simultaneous possession ruling was. As the article states later on, the play has been mockingly named the "Inaccurate Reception" and a "game-winning interception." These make no sense if the article is trying to establish that the push-off was the controversy instead of the non-interception ruling. I moved a source that plainly states the issue was the possession ruling to back this up. Hopefully this doesn't open any old wounds!  Mbinebri  talk ← 16:25, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Writing that Jennings gained possession of the ball before Tate is disputed. Here is a source, with frame-by-frame analysis, stating that Tate gained possession first. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 04:04, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
The media consensus is against you, I'm afraid, and your source is far less reliable than the ones I cited and the numerous others I can cite in addition.  Mbinebri  talk ← 04:14, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean it's less reliable? It has a frame-by-frame photo analysis. Your source was an editorial. The language was heavily debated previously. You are attempting to unilaterally change it to something controversial. If you want to create an RfC about it, feel free. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 04:18, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Where was this heavy debate on the wording? I see one section (Prose in lede) where you seem to discuss the wording of one sentence with one other editor. You have a single article from (who?), while I cited (and can continue to cite) numerous major publications (ESPN, nytimes, etc.) basing the controversy in Jennings seemingly intercepting the ball, and if that's what the majority of reliable sources say, the lead and article should reflect it per WP:WEIGHT. You can call all my sources "editorial" all you want, but that's the nature of much sports reporting. And as you are a frequent editor of Russell Wilson, I do have to question your own neutrality here.  Mbinebri  talk ← 04:33, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Once again, my source has frame-by-frame photo analysis. You can't unilaterally say "Jennings had possession first" when an article with photo evidence is saying the exact opposite. If you think I'm biased, feel free to create an RfC and get additional input. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 04:42, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Okay, so you revert my edit, saying in your edit summary a dozen sources agree with you, but you can only produce one. You revert me again, alluding to "real sources" you have but won't share and thus infer my sources are somehow fake, then you revert me again and simply reference your previous edit summary, while ignoring my policy citation. You appear to have ownership issues here. And did I unilaterally say Jennings had possession? No. I said he appeared to, per the cited sources. This is the basis of the controversy. You can cite all the frame by frame analysis you want, if assumed to be valid, but it's still the minority viewpoint. The majority viewpoint as expressed by coverage is what the lead should reflect. Without this, we have an article on a controversy that's neglecting to fully explain that very controversy. If anything, the lead should go further and summarize the reaction section, which - as I stated in the beginning - repeatedly points out that the blown non-interception is what everyone was upset about.  Mbinebri  talk ← 04:59, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I only need to produce one. The fact that it has frame-by-frame photo evidence is all that's necessary. Thinking you can write "Jennings had initial possession" - when there's a source with evidence of the exact opposite - is absurd. Let me remind you that your source is titled: "Against all logic, NFL defends epic Fail Mary; Something stinks, and most people know it." Not exactly WP:NPOV. At this point you and I are not going to agree on this, so I welcome additional discussion. I would be willing to create the RfC if you'd like. (EDIT: nevermind, just saw it below.) SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 05:20, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
You still don't seem to understand my point. I'm not saying Jennings indisputably had possession. I'm saying the controversy surrounding the play results from the widely-expressed impression that Jennings appeared to have initial possession and thus the Packers were seemingly robbed. The lead should reflect this. Without it, the controversy is not fully explained. And yes, that one article's title is POV - but opinion is the foundation of controversy. Not to mention, you certainly need more than one source if you expect to trump who-knows-how-many mainstream media sources.  Mbinebri  talk ← 05:29, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well now I'm confused. Based on you saying "widely-expressed impression that Jennings appeared to have initial possession and thus the Packers were seemingly robbed" you should be adding your edit to the Reaction section, not the lead. The "widely-expressed impression" has nothing to do with the facts of the play. Factually speaking, this is one of the only plays in NFL history ruled a touchdown (or ruled not enough evidence to overturn a touchdown) three separate times: on the field, by the replay/booth officials, and by the NFL the next day. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 05:39, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Now I'm confused. The lead's purpose is to offer a full overview of the topic. The lead is not limited to "facts" that are disputed in the first place, hence the controversy. You being on one side of the dispute on how the play unfolded, backed up by one source, is not grounds to remove all mention of the other side, especially when it can be (and has been) overwhelmingly sourced. And no, the idea that Jennings intercepted the ball is not a "reaction" to the play. It's a description of the play as the majority of the media - evidenced by all the sourcing - saw it. Perception of how the play unfolded versus how the play was ruled is the root of the controversy. Without it, we have an article on a controversy with the actual controversy neutered because one editor doesn't think the controversy is valid.  Mbinebri  talk ← 13:33, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I never said the "controversy isn't valid." I agree that the lead's purpose is to offer a full overview of the topic, but "the idea that Jennings intercepted the ball" is not what your proposed edit reflects. Your edit states "Packers defender M. D. Jennings leapt and appeared to gain possession of the ball before Tate got his hands on it" which is not going to fly, because there are reliable sources that directly contradict that. Let's see how the RfC plays out. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 13:59, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, the RfC produced less opinions than hoped for. Oh well. I'll concede your point though. I looked at Immaculate Reception (the most comparable article I could think of as a controversial football play) and I think that article can be used as a template here: "neutral" lead and "Events of the play" sections followed by a "Controversy" section containing explanations of the ruling(s) versus interpretations of the play, and thus the basis of the dispute. So I still feel the controversy is under-explained, but I'll keep further edits out of the strictly neutral sections.  Mbinebri  talk ← 12:36, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Okay, did some rewriting. I left the lead and first section alone for the most part and changed the "Reaction" section to "Controversy." I tried to present much of the info in a one-side-versus-the-other/point-counterpoint manner, with all opinions attributed to authors/sources.  Mbinebri  talk ← 14:58, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

RfC: Lead Description[edit]

How should the play be described in the lead/article? These are the two versions being debated:

  • Version 1: "Both Tate and Packers defender M. D. Jennings got their hands on the ball while attempting to gain possession."
  • Version 2: "Packers defender M. D. Jennings leapt and appeared to gain possession of the ball before Tate got his hands on it and attempted to wrestle it away."


  • Some form of Version 1: This source states "Golden Tate controls the ball before Jennings" and is supported by frame-by-frame photo analysis (this source was mentioned on the ESPN website as well.) There are clearly sources that support both sides of the argument - that either Tate or Jennings appeared to gain control first - and Version 1 accounts for both of those. Version 2 presents a clear WP:NPOV issue IMO. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 14:26, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Version 1 accounts for Tate and Jennings both touching the ball and nothing more, and in doing so, clearly fails to explain the controversy regarding the play/ruling, which is the entire purpose of the article. I can cite numerous mainstream media sources establishing that Jennings caught the ball, or at least appeared to, including here, here, here, here, and here. There is no POV issue as the article is simply reflecting the clear majority of media coverage. Adding to the lead that Jennings appeared to intercept the ball will give the controversy needed context and comply with WP:WEIGHT (a neutrality-based set of policies) by giving due weight to the most prominent view of what happened. SGMD1 can produce only one source, and as Mr. Wales once said regarding due weight, If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia regardless of whether it is true or not and regardless of whether you can prove it or not... not that I would oppose the supposed validity of Tate's catch being mentioned in the article in some way. However, IMO, WP:WEIGHT makes it very clear that Version 2 is preferable based on media prominence of this view.  Mbinebri  talk ← 17:13, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I say version 2. iTAC (talk)
  • Version 1 Agree that version one is indisputable. The details of who had possession first are subject to POV. I found this from ESPN dated April 2013 that says "The Packers' M.D. Jennings and Seahawks' Golden Tate both appeared to have claims to the ball." I'm sure we could find more. Arguments about details and majority opinions in the lead appear premature while the body isn't even clear on which sources support which side and why. Even the NFL after the game again upheld the call, though of course they are not an independent source.—Bagumba (talk) 18:47, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Picture of the Play[edit]

How about a picture of the controversy itself? KyuuA4 (Talk:キュウ) 21:18, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I think a GIF might even be warranted, but I'm not sure how that would fly regarding our fair use policy.  Mbinebri  talk ← 13:35, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Added. SGMD1 Talk/Contribs 22:56, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Delete Scott Kacsmar Quote[edit]

They following paragraph should be deleted: Cold Hard Facts writer Scott Kacsmar also supported the touchdown ruling, stating "Golden Tate had the first control of the ball, catching it with his left hand, which never loses control of the ball throughout the entire process of the play. His two feet hit the ground to establish possession before M.D. Jennings establishes possession. Tate’s butt hits the ground, and at this point, he still has control, possession and is in the end zone for a good touchdown. Tate pushed off for an uncalled offensive pass interference that would have ended the game, but this is irrelevant when history shows no referee in football will make such a call on a Hail Mary. Seattle’s win is legit."

This quote implies that if two people catch the ball with their feet in the air, then the person who reaches the ground first gains possession. The full version of Kacsmar's article does make a logical and correct conclusion under the rules if you make one key assumption: that Tate had "control" of the ball first. Kacsmar believes, that touching the ball with one hand establishes control in the same way making a one handed catch does. Very few people agree with that assumption. Also it is unclear who touches the ball first (I think it went Jenning's fingertips, Tate's left palm, both of Jenning's hands), but it shouldn't matter who touches the ball first it is who controls the ball first.

I wouldn't mind including Kacsmar's minority interpretation of the play, so long as it either didn't imply an incorrect interpretation of the rules or was accompanied by a correct statement of the rules. Most importantly, there needs to be clarification that who touches the ground first has no effect on who had control first. And only whoever had control first could establish possession. Kacsmar believes Tate had control first (fine, that's his opinion), but if Jennings had control first (what the majority believes) and Tate touched the ground first then Tate touching the ground would have no effect on possession and Jennings touching the ground second would establish possession.

Kacsmar's quote would not be as misleading if it only said "Golden Tate had the first control of the ball, catching it with his left hand, which never loses control of the ball throughout the entire process of the play ... for a good touchdown. Tate pushed off for an uncalled offensive pass interference that would have ended the game, but this is irrelevant when history shows no referee in football will make such a call on a Hail Mary. Seattle’s win is legit." However his discussion of touching the ground first implies a rule that does not exist.[1]

I have tried to add clarifying details or alternatively deleter this paragraph, but my changes have been reverted without any explanation. (talk) 00:46, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

The CHFF article is a legitimate source (the most comprehensive analysis of the play I've seen, in fact) and the opinion should be included. To delete it would violate WP:BALANCE and WP:NOTCENSORED. aqwfyj Talk/Contribs 22:11, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm personally pretty "meh" about the CHFF article, as it's not a major media outlet and the quoted analysis is pretty long for a minority viewpoint. And while it is "comprehensive," that in no way means it's legit as a source - a blog by any Joe Schmo could write a long analysis too. But I've never tried to remove it because there is legitimacy to the balance argument. That said, the PFT analysis this IP has been attempting to add appears entirely legitimate and worth including. I've been meaning to re-add it myself, but #1, I'm lazy, and #2, I've been mulling over the idea of putting the CHFF and PFT info into a separate "Analysis" section, where the info would make more sense and better streamline the "Controversy" section, IMO.  Mbinebri  talk ← 01:29, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I added an "Analysis" section, citing both CHFF and PFT.  Mbinebri  talk ← 01:54, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
I moved some more info into that section. I don't know about anyone else, but I really think this arrangement works well.  Mbinebri  talk ← 02:30, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Including this quote as is presents an unbalanced presentation of the "touching the ground" issue. I suggest citing the article without quoting it. The point of the article cannot be understood correctly by this quote. Also, to ensure balance the Mike Forio and/or the NFL Casebook should be cited. (talk) 00:46, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Reconsider move to Fail Mary[edit]

The community deciding against moving this article to Fail Mary last year because of NPOV concerns. However, since that time, Fail Mary has become the vernacular name for this play and is regularly used by neutral and reliable sources such as ESPN,, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and NBC. The Wikipedia navigation boxes for both the Packers and Seahawks use the term "Fail Mary" to link to this article. I think it's time to reconsider whether the name Fail Mary still violates NPOV. BostonPatriot (talk) 19:40, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

While renaming the article to "Fail Mary" might actually mesh with our WP:COMMONNAME policy (who really refers to the incident as the "2012 Packers-Seahawks officiating controversy"?), I'm not sure I'd agree with the change, because you could argue the controversy surrounding the play, rather than the play itself, is what's in fact notable... if that makes sense. That said, if "Fail Mary" has become the default way of referring to the play in the media, then the nickname should be mentioned in bold in the lead.  Mbinebri  talk ← 01:24, 4 November 2013 (UTC)