Monday Night Football, Official NFL Statement: Refs Right in Reception Decision, Blew Pass-Interference Call

While the ball is in the air, Seattle receiver Golden Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game

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Anthony Bolante / Reuters

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate (bottom, obscured) catches the game-winning touchdown in the end zone while he is swarmed by Green Bay Packers defenders. One referee started to signal a touchback, while the other, at left, signaled a touchdown

This official statement was posted to NFL.com at 12:21 p.m. E.T. Tuesday, regarding the Seattle Seahawks’ controversial 14-12 win over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football:

In Monday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th and 10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone. Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.

(VIDEO: That Packers-Seahawks Monday Night Football Touchdown)

While the ball was in the air, Tate could be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for a simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.

Replay official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant-replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included whether the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.

Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of a touchdown stood. The NFL officiating department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the review.

The result of the game is final.

Applicable rules to the play are as follows:

A player (or players) jumping in the air has not legally gained possession of the ball until he satisfies the elements of a catch listed here.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3 of the NFL rule book defines a catch:

A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:

(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and

(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and

(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).

When a player (or players) is going to the ground in the attempt to catch a pass, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 states:

Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 5 states:

Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.

MORE: Photos of the Making of Super Bowl Footballs

8 comments
Zjduke7
Zjduke7

The call was correct - The official that made the call was in the best place to make the call ... and he did. the Packers lost. Get over it. All teams have experienced bad officiating ... even from the prof referees. It's just part of the game. Deal with it.

Zjduke7
Zjduke7

The call was correct - The official that made the call was in the best place to make the call ... and he did. The Packers lost. Get over it. All teams have experienced bad officiating ... even from the prof referees. It's just part of the game. Deal with it.

Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford

I watched the game, with my son, I told him it was an incomplete pass before I seen the replay since no one had control, because of rule A(below), and not a simultaneous catch because of rule B(below). I guess it was not enough evidence from the replay video to determine that. I disagree but then in no official.

Also it just football and the crucial to life or death. I'm glad we don't associate football with politics.

A.

"Touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and

(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have

been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game

(i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance

with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.)."

B.Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible

opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers.

It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an

opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after

simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the

passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.

Nonaffiliated
Nonaffiliated

So, the Ref in the replay booth let the call stand even though he could have overturned it.  The Ref in the booth was a regular Ref, not a replacement!  Only on-the-field Refs have been replaced.

LindaLuttrell
LindaLuttrell

Well that settles it...Jennings had the interception after all!

John Higgins
John Higgins

oh my goodness. NOWHERE does it say the official made the correct call in determining it was a TD. All the statement says that based on how it was called the outcome was correct meaning the ref said he didn't find evidence to overturn it.

is reading this hard for some? Sheesh