In a wild, back-and-forth affair that needed overtime, it wasn’t an insane one-handed catch from a receiver, a clutch throw from a quarterback or a backbreaking defensive play from a linebacker that stole the show.
No, rather, it was a hot mic moment with a referee.
And even though, as of this writing, there is still a smattering of Week 2 games left to be played in the NFL, it’s safe to say that no moment will top this one.
To set the stage: The Seattle Seahawks beat the Detroit Lions 37-31 in a thrilling overtime game at Ford Field on Sunday.
In the fourth quarter of this back-and-forth game, there was a controversial intentional grounding penalty assessed against Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.
Smith did throw to nobody in particular, but wasn’t pressured — suggesting this was actually a matter of miscommunication between him and his receiver.
The referees clearly did not agree that it was miscommunication and referee Alex Kemp made the announcement that the call was official and would stand (costing Smith and the Seahawks yardage and the down.)
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was having a conniption on the sidelines, and that energy was matched by his quarterback.
Smith’s rant, however, came within close proximity of Kemp — and his mic.
You can watch the viral moment for yourself below:
Pete Carroll is HEATED after an intentional grounding call 😳 pic.twitter.com/7zM2PSYCgm
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 17, 2023
“Intentional grounding, offense, No. 7,” Kemp began, in the classic referee spiel. As Kemp began to explain the ramifications of this call, a demonstrably upset Smith gets close to Kemp to voice his displeasure with the call.
That’s when Kemp dropped the NFL quip of the year thus far: “I’m talking to America here. Excuse me.”
Fox NFL announcer and retired NFL All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen, who was assigned to this particular game, could do nothing but literally laugh out loud at the moment.
In fact, Olsen didn’t even want to discuss the controversial penalty call — he just wanted to talk about Kemp’s retort.
“That is the best line I’ve ever heard out of an official,” Olsen said. “We’ll get to the penalty in a minute.”
For the Seahawks, this will be a fondly remembered footnote, despite the call going against them at the time, given that the team eked out an overtime win in Detroit.
They will try to keep that momentum going when they host the Carolina Panther next Sunday.
For the Lions, this is the second agonizing loss that the team has suffered in a row, continuing last season’s agonizing trend of close losses.
They will try to fix that painful trend when they host the undefeated Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.
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