The Golden Fleece Award

Some American Football referees from a Razorba...

“Touchdown!”

“No catch!”

Same game. Same play. Two refs on top of the play. Two different results.

It was the last play call by a 2012 replacement ref and the play that ended the NFL lockout of the regular referees we’d rather boo.

Scene: Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. Time: Monday Night Football (“Are you ready for some…mind-blowing calls!?!”) Game: Seattle Seahawks v. Green Bay Packers. Situation: eleven seconds left. Seahawks down by five and on the Packers twenty-four yard line. Last play of the game. A Hail Mary to the end zone. The salesman: the Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate.

Jump ball. The Packers’ M.D. Jennings comes down with the ball landing on top of Seattle’s Golden Boy. Interception! The Packers win!

No. Wait. Forgot about the refs standing above them. What’s that call again? Touchdown? Interception? Let’s go to replay.

Yep. Touchdown alright. As the combatants were laying on the ground wrestling for possession of the ball, somehow Golden Boy sold the refs that it was a simultaneous possession. Tie goes to the offense. Touchdown.

Arguably the worst call in NFL history. But Golden Tate made two sales when coming to earth. The first was to sell the refs downstairs and upstairs that the catch was a simultaneous possession – touchdown! The second was to sell the football commissioner and 32 owners that they needed to immediately work out a deal with the regular refs and get them back on the field. (They did. The regular refs returned three nights later.) Golden Tate did in one second what months of negotiations between the NFL and referees union couldn’t. Give that man a bonus.

And no, not everyone was unhappy with the call. The Seahawks and fans were delirious. And I’m sure the team received congratulatory tweets from Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota. “Way to go boys! You made our division a race.”

No flag on the play: Never give up. Fight to the end. You never know what some see that others miss. Make your best case. Things just might go your way. You don’t have to sell the crowd, pundits, or analyzers. Just the ones who make the decisions. And, who knows, you might cross-sell something you never considered.

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