Former Packers’ player says fans overly critical of replacement refs

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MILWAUKEE -- The NFL referees' lockout ended late Wednesday night, when the NFL and the referees union came to an agreement in contract negotiations. This, after replacement referees had been officiating games for the first three weeks of the NFL's regular season. Fans' displeasure with the replacement referees became apparent this week following what many say was a botched call during the Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks game on Monday night. Some fans even called for a boycott of the NFL until the replacement refs were off the field. Meanwhile, one former Green Bay Packers' player says fans' criticism of these refs may be a bit harsh.

John Anderson is a Carroll University coach, and former Packers' linebacker. He told FOX6 News he understands the frustration of Packers' players this week -- knowing how hard they work, and how much the outcome of a single game can impact an entire season.

However, Anderson said maybe the replacement refs weren't as bad as some believed.

"There`s a ton of emotion there, and that`s what makes football, football," Anderson said.

Anderson said he knows how significant a single call can be. For Anderson, that call was on November 5th, 1989.

"We played the Bears in that replay game. Majkowski threw the pass and initially they ruled that he was over the line. They did rule in our favor, so we got the touchdown," Anderson said.

When it comes to Monday's now infamous game-ending play in Seattle, Anderson -- a Packers' Hall of Famer has an opinion not too popular in Wisconsin.

"It wasn't as clear-cut an interception as I thought, as I heard people talking about it the next day before I actually saw it on TV," Anderson said.

Anderson admits the replacement refs did make mistakes, but said he feels overall, some fans may have been overly critical.

"I didn`t think they were as bad as most people thought they were. Every game I listened to, I felt like I was being conditioned by the announcers to look at these guys and say, 'boy, they can`t do the job,'" Anderson said.

Anderson said he believes the players were starting to take advantage of that weakness.

"I think the players started to feel like, hey, we can get away with a little bit more.  We can pull the defensive player. If I'm an offensive player, we can push as a defensive player. Let's see how far we can go with it," Anderson said.

Anderson said Coach Mike McCarthy got it exactly right in his post-game press conference, saying he was disappointed, but moving on.

"That message I think translates down through all the levels of football. You know what?  Stuff happens out there that you're not always happy about," Anderson said.

Anderson said he hopes the team is listening to Coach McCarthy, because as he put it, New Orleans doesn't care what happened in Monday night's last play, and the Packers need to get their minds back into the game.

CLICK HERE for additional coverage on the replacement refs controversy following Monday night’s Packers game.