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The NFL admits it goofed at the end of the Steelers-Chargers game

As it turns out, it WAS a touchdown for Troy Polamalu, but it’ll never show up that way in the history books.  Fortunately, this error didn’t change the outcome of the game.  However, it messed up a lot of gamblers and fantasy players, and could possibly affect the playoff picture under certain scenarios.

The problem is that if ANY forward pass touches the ground, the play is dead.  The officials simply got confused about which pass was which.

The little flip pass from LaDanian Tomlinson to Chris Chambers was an illegal forward pass, but was handled cleanly by Chambers.  When Chambers tried to lateral again, the ball hit the ground.  However, because that pass went backwards, the ball was still live and it was legal for Polamalu to pick it up and score.

There still should have been a penalty on the Chargers for the illegal forward pass from Tomlinson, which the Steelers could decline so they could keep the touchdown.  That’s what happened initially.  After that, referee Scott Green changed his mind (got confused, etc) and things got a little weird.

As a result of this mess, the NFL is looking at making some slight tweaks to the replay system.  With the new rules, officials will be allowed to re-review a play if they think they need to.  This new system could be in place in time for the playoffs.

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Jerry Jones fined $25K for comments about the referees

Just days after Saints’ coach Sean Payton was fined $15,000 for ripping the officials, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been fined $25,000 for a similar offense.

Jones had made comments about Ed Hochuli‘s famous week one mistake in the Broncos-Chargers game.  Jones admits he was out of line, saying that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is “doing his job”.

Jones was fined more than Payton because owners are held to a higher standard.  Chargers coach Norv Turner was not fined for referring to the blown call as “unacceptable”, since he limited himself to that single word and referred all other questions about the matter to the league office.

Hochuli issues an apology for Chargers-Broncos blown call

Referee Ed Hochuli has issued a brief statement apologizing for the blown call in last week’s Chargers-Broncos game.  His statement:

“I’m getting hundreds of e-mails — hate mail — but I’m responding to it all.  People deserve a response. You can rest assured that nothing anyone can say can make me feel worse than I already feel about my mistake on the fumble play. You have no idea … Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection — I failed miserably. Although it does no good to say it, I am very, very sorry.”

At this point, I’m not sure what else can be done.  He’s apologized and the league will look into the “inadvertent whistle” rule, so hopefully this story can start to go to rest.

You can bet his next game will be scrutinized closely, though.

Hochuli punished a little bit. Was it enough?

The NFL has decided to give Ed Hochuli some “marked down” grades for his bad call in the Broncos-Chargers game, which may mean he can’t work in the playoffs this year.  GIven all of your harsh comments, I’m guessing most of you think it’s too light.

The official statement, from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello:

 “Officials are held accountable for their calls. They are graded on every play of every game.  Ed has been an outstanding official for many years, but he will be marked down for this call. Under our evaluation system, an official’s grades impact his status for potentially working the playoffs and ultimately whether or not he is retained.”

At the same time, the referees association has made it clear that they are standing behind Ed.  They admit that he obviously screwed up, but they point to his 19 years of experience (with very little criscism).  Tim Miller, the executive director of the NFLRA, had this to say:

“No one feels worse about this than Ed, but like the coaches and players in our high-speed game, mistakes will occur.”

“The NFLRA stands by Ed Hochuli as a 19-year veteran with multiple Super Bowl and countless playoff game experience who has the integrity and character to admit a mistake and accept the criticism that comes with it.”

So what do you think?  Should Hochuli have been punished more, for what was really just one quick mistake?  Or does the fault lie with the NFL, whose rules didn’t allow Hochuli the ability to fix it (by awarding the ball to San Diego)?

League to officially look into “inadvertent whistle” rule in the offseason

After the Broncos-Chargers mess, we figured it would happen — the NFL has officially announced they’ll be looking into the inadvertent whistle rule during the next offseason.

ESPN compares it to the “down by contact” rule that was changed a few year ago, which allowed officials to review some plays that they previously couldn’t.

It’s it a bit to late to please Chargers coach Norv Turner, but it’s nice to see the NFL taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

The disappearing fumble in the Denver-San Diego game

I was going to write a more complete recap of this situation later, but we’re already seeing some comments about it.

The quick version, via ESPN:

Trailing 38-31, the Broncos (2-0) reached the 1 but on third-and-goal, Cutler reared back to throw and the ball slipped out of his hands, bounced off the grass and into linebacker Tim Dobbins’ hands. 

But referee Ed Hochuli blew his whistle, apparently ruling it an incomplete pass. After a review, Hochuli said that the Broncos would keep the ball because his whistle had blown the play dead. The Broncos got the ball at the 10-yard line, where it had hit the grass out of Cutler’s hands.

I’m kind of torn on this.  Hochuli obviously blew the call, but did all he could to make it right.  Once he had blown the whistle, there was nothing he could do.  Of course, he never should have blown the whistle.

The difference last week in the Washington-BYU game was that the refs had time to discuss it, and still blew the call. Of course, that game would have only tied it, whereas this call certainly lost the game for the Chargers.