SIDELINES: 'Fail Mary' referee is writing a book?

Lance Easley, the referee who made the
Lance Easley, the referee who made the 'Fail Mary' touchdown call that won the Seattle Seahawks a Monday Night Football game over the Green Bay Packers last season, is writing a book.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

It was pop artist Andy Warhol who coined the term, “15 Minutes of Fame.”

Warhol claimed that everyone will be world-famous for a quarter of an hour at some point during their lives.

Well, Lance Easley is taking full advantage of his “15 minutes.” There’s no doubting that. Like me, I’m pretty sure you have no idea who Lance Easley is. It wasn’t until an email came through about a book Easley was promoting, that I finally figured out who Easley actually was.

Easley gained notoriety as a replacement referee in the NFL at the beginning of last season. He became revered in Seattle and hated in Green Bay after he awarded Seahawks’ wide receiver Golden Tate a touchdown on the last play of a Monday Night Football game during the third week of the year.

The play eventually became known as “The Fail Mary.”

And it single-handedly led to the return of the regular referees in the NFL. Before the “Fail Mary,” replacement refs were being used and praised by the NFL. It was an experiment that suddenly ended after Week 3 when Easley signaled that Tate caught the last-second pass from Russell Wilson. The regular NFL refs were back the next week.

The constant replays appeared to show pretty conclusively that Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings had possession of the ball before Tate ripped it away. However, Easley didn’t waver from his story, proclaiming it the right call.

That should have been the end of Easley’s “15 minutes.” But he is looking for another “15” with his new book.

Last month, Easley even posed with Tate at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium during a charity softball game put on by Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman. Easley’s book, “Making the Call: Living With Your Decision,” is set for release this month, according to his publisher.

Really? A book? Who would ever purchase a non-fiction book by a replacement NFL referee who made a terrible call that cost the Green Bay Packers a victory? I guess we will see.

Here’s Amazon’s description of the book: “What if your life hinged on a decision you had to make in a split second? That’s the compelling story of NFL referee Lance Easley. As a replacement referee during 2012’s referee lockout, Easley thought he’d earned his dream job until he made a disputed call during a Monday night game viewed by more than 16 million people. Suddenly, Easley found himself the target of scorn, hatred, even death threats. Thankfully, his solid Christian faith helped see him through the controversy. In ‘Making the Call: Living with Your Decisions,’ Easley along with bestselling co-writer Brock Thoene explains that life is about much more than making a single call. It’s about deciding beforehand just how you’ll live with the calls you make.”

It may seem that this was just a book thrown together to take advantage of Easley’s “fame.” But the replacement ref did get three very well-respected NFL personalities to write blurbs regarding the book — Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, broadcaster James Brown and former Seahawks quarterback and coach Jim Zorn.

“Each fall NFL football touches the emotions of millions of Americans and every year seems to have a moment that all fans remember,” Dungy wrote. “For the 2012 season, that moment came as the result of an official’s call. In ‘Making the Call,’ Lance Easley tells how his decision on one play changed the course of a football season, how the reaction to that call changed his life, and how his faith in Christ helped him make sense of it all. He gives a great picture of a side of sports that most fans never see — the life and the emotions of the officials.”

Pretty amazing stuff for a replacement referee whose biggest claim to fame was a screw-up that gave the Seahawks a win on Monday Night Football. I guess Warhol was right, everybody will get their “15 minutes of fame.”


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