Late in Sunday’s Ravens-Chargers game, the officials took about 10 minutes to review the pivotal fourth-and-29 catch and run by Ravens running back Ray Rice before ultimately determining that Rice had, in fact, picked up the first down. So did the officials get it right?
According to the league, yes. Although the NFL is acknowledging that 10 minutes is too long a delay.
In a video reviewing some of last week’s biggest calls, Dean Blandino, the director of officiating and instant replay for the NFL, says that what ultimately matters is that Rice did, in fact, get a first down, and that the officials correctly awarded the Ravens a first down.
“It took a little longer than we would have liked, but they correctly reset the chains where it should have been, and you can see when we stretch the chains out it still was a first down,” Blandino says while narrating several different replays of the play and the subsequent measurement. “We probably could have moved the ball back to the 34, but as you can see, where the chains were, it would have been a first down. So, again, it took a little longer than we would have liked, but it was, in the end, properly handled.”
Blandino is going easy on referee Gene Steratore when he says the review took a little longer than we would have liked. During the closing moments of a game, a 10-minute delay feels like eternity and saps all the energy out of the stadium. A replay review should never take that long.
But while none of the replay angles was completely conclusive, the officials did appear to get the spot right. It was a good spot on a great play by Rice.