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Did Packers TE Jimmy Graham really get a first down on game-clinching play vs. Seahawks?

The Green Bay Packers advanced to the NFC championship on Sunday with a 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

They needed clutch throws down the stretch from Aaron Rodgers to secure the win, including a game-clinching toss to tight end Jimmy Graham that barely eked out a first down.

In fact, some Seahawks fans will argue that that it didn’t.

Controversial final play

The play in question happened with 2:00 remaining and the Packers facing third and 9 at the Seattle 45-yard line. The Seahawks had one timeout remaining, meaning a first down would essentially end the game.

Rodgers hit Graham on a crossing route, and Graham ran for the line of gain, where he was tackled by Seattle safety Lano Hill. It was close, but officials ruled on the field that it was a first down.

The yellow line was off, and there's no way to tell if Jimmy Graham got a first down using the NFL's current technology. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Ruling on the field upheld

Officials called for a review inside the two-minute mark and upheld the ruling on the field, allowing the Packers to kneel three times to set up an NFC championship matchup against the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday.

Twitter was immediately flooded with images that appeared to show Graham down short of the first-down marker.

The yellow line was off

What many of these Tweets neglected to acknowledge was that the yellow line used as their guide was off.

The angle seen in the bottom left photo below shows that the yellow line placed by the Fox broadcast was clearly beyond the official line of gain designated by the orange sideline marker. It is not reliable.

Replay didn’t provide anything close to conclusive, so the correct decision was for officials to uphold the call on the field. Sorry, Seahawks fans. There’s not much of a case to make here.

“Had they called him short, then it would have been short,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the game. ... That’s how it goes.”

Indeed. That is how it goes in the NFL.

Why is this still how the NFL does things?

The biggest grievance to be found here is with the NFL in 2020 depending on men with chains using their eyes to determine these marginal calls at full speed.

The means to create technology to come up with accurate spots in critical situations like this one has long existed. But for some reason, the NFL insists on remaining old-school for these most important of calls.

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