Life for Lance Easley has not been the same since Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season.
The former replacement referee, who famously signaled for a touchdown on the play that later became dubbed the “Fail Mary,” told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports that he has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
In what became one of the most infamous calls in NFL history, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a pass into the end zone intended for Golden Tate on the final play of the game against the Green Bay Packers on “Monday Night Football.” Tate and Packers safety M. D. Jennings simultaneously came down wrestling for the ball, and Easley threw both of his arms in the air to signal a touchdown, handing the Seahawks a 14-12 win.
The aftermath of the call was brutal for Easley, who received death threats, was blasted by players and coaches, and was the subject of ridicule from all directions. He was diagnosed with PTSD last year, suffers from “crippling” panic attacks, and the 55-year-old also is battling severe depression, according to Wetzel, as he struggles to put that night behind him.
“It’s almost like a funeral,” Easley said, per Yahoo! Sports. “In the days around it, you have a lot of support and you make it through. But as time goes by, you still have to process (the loss of a loved one).”
Easley was a vice president with Bank of America and enjoyed refereeing high school football and Division III basketball before he became a replacement ref. Two years later, he is in the process of getting divorced, on a medical leave of absence from his job and has bounced in and out of treatment centers.
“Nobody died,” Easley said. “There were no laws broken. It wasn’t scandalous. There was no sex tape. I didn’t do anything wrong. It just happened to be a contentious call right when everything was spiraling out of control.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@sportingnews