'Fail Mary' ref reveals he's been battling PTSD

Monday January 12th, 2015

The NFL replacement referee who called the 2012 Seattle Seahawks touchdown that has been dubbed the "Fail Mary" play told Yahoo Sports that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder last year. 

They play occurred at the end of a Monday Night Football game between the Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in September 2012. On the final play of the game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary pass intended for Golden Tate, but both Tate and Packers safety M. D. Jennings caught the ball at the same time. Referee Lance Easley ruled the play a touchdown, handing the Seahawks a 14-12 victory. 

Easley's decision was considered highly controversial, with many believing Jennings intercepted the pass and that Tate got away with a pass interference prior to the catch. Easley received death threats, was blasted by players and coaches and was the comedic subject of many late night talk shows.

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The 55-year-old has struggled with depression in different parts of his life but said he's dealt with "severe depression" in the last year as he's tried to move past the moment that changed his life.

"Right now I'm just trying to keep my life together," Easley said. "It's really difficult."

Easley said he had suicidal thoughts at times and entered an acute psychiatric facility last summer. He told Yahoo he's had also crippling panic attacks and separated from his wife of 28 years in September. 

"I am not the same guy I used to be," he said.

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In September, Easley said he still thinks he got the call right. He also said he'd love to go to Green Bay sometime and share his perspective on the play with people there.

The Packers and the Seahawks will face off in the NFC Championship game on Sunday in Seattle.

- Molly Geary


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