Green Bay Packers will face same referee from 18-penalty game

20 01 2011

BY ROB DEMOVSKY
The Green Bay Packers will find out Sunday whether their penalty problems indeed have become a thing of the past.

The same referee who worked their Week 3 game at Chicago, where they were flagged a franchise-record 18 times for 152 yards in a 20-17 loss to the Bears, will work Sunday’s NFC championship game Soldier Field.

The NFL has assigned Terry McAulay to referee the game. McAulay has not worked a Packers’ game since that Sept. 27 Monday night affair in which penalties not only wiped out a touchdown by the Packers but also took away an interception of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

Had their 18-penalty debacle been a more recent occurrence, the Packers might have been more startled by officiating assignment. But no one in the Packers’ locker room was fretting over the fact that McAulay will head the crew.

“We know it was an anomaly,” said Packers left guard Daryn Colledge, who had a holding penalty in that game. “And it was something we did to ourselves. Whether we feel like the refs made a couple of bad calls or not, you could say that on maybe one or two, but 16 of those were on us. They’re false starts; they’re holdings. We did a lot of things wrong, but we learned a lot, and we’ve been a much better team penalty-wise over the last however many weeks.

“I want to go out and prove to those guys that we can play Packer football without, obviously, cheating.”

But it won’t be the exact same officials. During the regular season, the referee works with the same crew. But at this point in the playoffs, the NFL compiles what it believes to be the best officials at each position. Ed Hochuli is scheduled to lead the crew that will call the AFC title game between Pittsburgh and the New York Jets.

“Terry is the referee; he has obviously been selected for this game for good reason,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We look at that game as an anomaly. I don’t think this game is going to be about anomaly officiating. There are two very good teams that earned the right to be in this game, and this game will be about the football teams.”

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