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More Than 15,000 Fans Sign Petition To Fire John O’Neill And Crew

Update Wednesday, October 16: The petition has now eclipsed 15,000 signatures four days since being created following Penn State’s game against Iowa.

Update Monday, October 14: The petition now has 10,230 signatures at the time of this update.

Original story: More than 6,000 fans have signed a petition that would fire referee John O’Neill and his officiating crew after their latest litany of botched calls at the expense of Penn State Saturday.

The Change.org petition was created after the game by someone named Jordan Knepper who, according to his profile, hails from Mechanicsburg. At the time of writing, it had 6,441 signatures.

“John O’Neill and his team of officials have missed multiple calls that have led to Penn State losses as well as the losses of touchdowns,” the petition said. “Whether through reviewed plays or lack of reviewing their calls have been both wrong and inconsistent. At this level of play, such poor officiating should be unacceptable and these referees are not performing at the level they should be. They should be relieved of their duties.”

Penn State fans saw more flags than they would have preferred on Saturday night. There were multiple questionable penalties as the Nittany Lions were penalized eight times, compared to only one against Iowa. However, all of the penalties were far from the most controversial call of the night.

After originally being called a touchdown on the field, Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth’s catch and run was overturned after O’Neill spent what seemed an eternity reviewing the play. The result was that due to a “judgment call,” Freiermuth came up short the end zone. Penn State ended up kicking a field goal on that drive.

O’Neill and Penn State fans have a history of bad blood that dates all the way back to the Nittany Lions’ game against Nebraska in 2012. Another classic showing from O’Neill came in the 2014 game agains Ohio State when Vonn Bell was controversially gifted an interception and the Buckeyes’ field goal attempt came three seconds after the play clock expired.

As expected, even if they didn’t end up costing Penn State the game, O’Neill’s calls didn’t resonate well with fans, as evidenced by the petition and response on social media. The messageboard of why different fans signed the petition also makes for a good time.

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