Vikings coach Brad Childress was furious Sunday night when Visanthe Shiancoe caught what was ruled a touchdown pass on the field, only to have the catch incorrectly changed to an incompletion on the replay review. On NFL Network Wednesday, V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson acknowledged that Childress had a reason to be angry: The Shiancoe touchdown should have counted.
“We wish the ruling on the field would have stood as a completed catch,” Johnson told Rich Eisen on the “Official Review” segment on NFL Total Access.
Johnson said that when a referee is reviewing a play like Shiancoe’s diving catch, he needs to look to see whether the ball moves at all when it hits the ground, or whether the receiver’s hands separate from the football. And Johnson said the referee in this game mistakenly thought the ball was bobbled, even though it wasn’t.
“In the referee’s judgment, he thought that there was movement — there was some loss of control,” Johnson said. “However, as we further assessed the play, we saw that there was not enough to change this call.”
Johnson didn’t specifically address Childress’s comments, which earned him a $35,000 fine. But it’s clear that Johnson is saying Childress is right: Shiancoe scored a touchdown, and a mistake by the referee took the touchdown off the board.
The “Official Review” segment also examined Ben Roethlisberger’s late fumble against the Dolphins, which was incorrectly ruled a touchdown on the field, then overturned on replay and ruled a fumble.
Miami fans are angry that the Dolphins weren’t awarded the recovery of the ball in the end zone, but Johnson said the referee correctly applied the instant replay rule — and he said the on-field ruling of touchdown was just a mistaken judgment.
“It’s just a judgment call,” Johnson said. “If, in an official’s judgment, a runner broke the plane, we want him to rule touchdown.”