Bankers have gotten a lot of grief for blown calls when it comes to the housing bust and the financial crisis, but now one banker is being blamed for another infamous call: the touchdown catch that put the Seahawks over the Packers in the final minutes of Monday Night Football this week.
American Banker reporter Kate Davidson has a story this week on replacement referee Lance Easley, whose day job is vice president of small-business banking at Bank of America in California. From the story:
Lance Easley has worked at the bank since June 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile, and was a business banking specialist at Wells Fargo for nearly three years before that. A source at BofA confirmed Easley's title, but the company declined to comment further.
Easley was standing in the end zone during the final seconds of the Monday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
Seattle was down by five points as its quarterback, Russell Wilson, threw a Hail Mary pass down the field. Seattle receiver Golden Tate shoved a Green Bay defender out of the way and wrestled another for the ball.
It was initially unclear who caught the ball first, resulting in the controversial call captured in this now-infamous photo of one ref signaling an interception while Easley signaled a touchdown.
For what it's worth, I don't personally blame Easley for the call. A referee with his level of experience -- most of it in California high school and junior college football games, according to the article -- should never have been put in the position of officiating a high-stakes NFL game in prime time, especially surrounded by other inexperienced replacements. If you want to blame someone, blame NFL owners who locked out the real refs over what amounts to a rounding error on their balance sheets.
Disgust with bad officiating seems likely to cost the NFL some business until it gets its act together. It's still unclear whether the fallout from the call will hurt BofA's business in Wisconsin or help it in Seattle.
What do you think? Do you blame Easley for the call?
Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell.