By Danny Cox

As of late Wednesday night, the 2012 NFL referee lockout was officially over, and the guys who know it all (somewhat) returned to the field on Thursday night. The joy was heard the world over by players, coaches, owners, and especially the fans. Finally, there would be a little more justice on the field.

When Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks ended with ultimately the worst blown call in the NFL history, the league knew the time had come.

Yes, it’s true that the Hail Mary call to give the Seahawks the win was awful, but there were plenty of other bad calls while the replacement refs were in place. Throughout the entire preseason and then for three games of the NFL regular season, these replacement refs called the shots.  Let’s take a look now and see just what were the worst calls – of the almost two months of work – for the replacement officials in the NFL.

5.) Phantom Interference

(photo credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In week two of the NFL season, New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes went out for a pass which ended up being incomplete. However, a flag was tossed as pass interference was called on cornerback Ike Taylor of the Steelers, and the Jets got a 19-yard gain.

The only problem is that Taylor barely even touched Holmes. He didn’t touch him but one single time and literally just ran stride-for-stride with Holmes during the entire play. Taylor’s only touches on Holmes were right off the line of scrimmage which is perfectly legal.

4.) The Extra Timeout for the Seahawks

Seattle didn’t end up winning the game because of this horrible call, but it was bad nonetheless. On the final drive against the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks suffered an injury that should have taken away their final timeout since it was within the final two minutes of the game.

Making matters worse is that the team of replacement officials actually had a meeting about it for over five minutes and still didn’t correct their mistake. It is one thing to make a mistake, but it is only brought more to the forefront when you know it and don’t admit it.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

3.) Denver Receives Six Free Yards

During the Monday Night Football game between the Broncos and Falcons, Denver actually got a little bit of help from the replacement refs. On a crucial fourth and one play from the 43-yard line, Atlanta was called for defensive holding which gave Denver an automatic first down.

The five-yard penalty gave the Broncos a first down at the 32-yard line. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of being placed correctly on the 38-yard line, Denver got six extra yards given to them.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

2.) Atlanta? Arizona? Baltimore? Who is in this game anyway?

Going back to the preseason, the Baltimore Ravens faced off against the Atlanta Falcons in a game that didn’t really count for anything, but the referee gaff is still amusing and insane.

Twice during the game, replacement referee Craig Ochoa ended up referring to the Atlanta Falcons as “Arizona.” Now, he may have been nervous and had a case of the jitters, but there are a couple of things that make his mistakes rather hard to comprehend.

An official calling an NFL came and obviously not knowing the difference between the Falcons and Cardinals is one thing. But the real big problem is that the game actually took place…in Atlanta!

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

1.) The Catch? The Call? The Immaculate Deception and the Seahawks win

There is no doubt that this is by far the worst call by the NFL replacement referees throughout their duration in stripes. Actually, it is probably the worst call in the history of the league by any referee, period.

If you’ve somehow been in a box since Monday afternoon, then let your mind be refreshed. A Hail Mary pass tossed to the end zone was caught by Packers’ M.D. Jennings first and then pulled by the Seahawks’ Golden Tate only after Jennings hit the ground. The play as well as the game should have been over due to an interception, but the referees saw it differently.

Actually, the catch and interception shouldn’t have mattered anyway because Tate committed a blatant pass interference call while the ball was in the air. Yet, that wasn’t called either.

(Credit, Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

With all this being said, there is only one thing left to express. Welcome back, full-time referees. Welcome back.

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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on