H-SPORTS

Dec 28, 2012 9:00 AM by Andrew Masuda

Top 10 Local Sports Stories of '12: Easley's TD call on Monday Night Football

KSBY Sports' tenth and final selection for the Top 10 Local Sports Stories in 2012 is the infamous touchdown call on Monday Night Football by Central Coast resident Lance Easley.

The Santa Maria banker had officiated high school and junior college football and basketball games on the Central Coast for years. He spent the first few weeks of the NFL season as a replacement ref.

He entered the national spotlight on September 24 when the Seattle Seahawks hosted the Green Bay Packers during Monday Night Football. Green Bay led 12-7 with seconds remaining when Russell Wilson threw a hail Mary pass to the endzone as time expired. Receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay's MD Jennings both went up for the ball and ended up in a pile in the endzone. Easley, who was the side judge, and the back line judge moved toward the pile when Easley signaled for a touchdown citing a simultaneous reception. Seattle won 14-12 as a result.

The touchdown call, dubbed the inaccurate reception, resulted in a national debate. Easley received hate mail and hate calls from around the nation. All the while, Easley stood by his call, which was eventually upheld by the NFL. "I made a decision to draw a line in the sand and stay tough. I'm a former marine. My father was involved in the mercy bowl up here. I'm a person of service, that's what i've done my whole life. I said no, i'm not going to be a victim," said Easley, during a speaking engagement at Good Morning SLO last month.

In the weeks and months that followed the game, which would ultimately be the last one officiated by replacement refs, Easley appeared on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and most recently was featured in an article in last week's Sports Illustrated.
Easley says he is working on a book deal about how he's overcome adversity.

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