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Official ruling: Final pass was uncatchable

New England Patriots v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

The officials that picked up the flag at the end of Monday’s Panthers-Patriots classic explained themselves.

But they’re not going to make many in New England happy.

The official explanation, via a pool report distributed to the media, was that the pass intended for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was uncatchable, which made the assault and battery committed by Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly a moot point in the wake of Panthers safety Robert Lester’s interception.

“There were two officials that came in. One was the umpire and the other one was our side judge and there was a discussion at that point as to the, in essence, the catchability of the ball due to its location,” referee Clete Blakeman said. “So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone. So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.”

Asked if he was confident after seeing replays that the call was correct, Blakeman, unsurprisingly, did not contradict himself.

“Yeah, in review, yeah.  I think so,” he said. “I’m pleased that…well, two situations. You never like to end the game with some controversy like that on a call, but I’m pleased that our officiating crew got together and communicated and discussed it and, ultimately, I believe we got it right. So that to me is the part that is coming away from it.  I’m pleased that our crew was able to discuss it and make the call right.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took the polite approach, saying he should have thrown a better ball. But that’s not going to pacify too many of his fans, who are going to be wailing about this one for some time.

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111 Responses to “Official ruling: Final pass was uncatchable”
  1. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:10 AM

    I have no love lost for the Patriots, but MY GOD that was blatant. Did they have CAR -3 and the under? How do you make that call, and then completely (and inaccurately) blow the explanation on the field and in the booth? (Gerry Austin should be ashamed).

  2. Steeley McBeam says: Nov 19, 2013 1:12 AM

    These poor refs get absolutely chastised for calling a sport that is impossible to officiate; often times even with the help of slow motion review. They are paid scraps and do this as a second job on a one-day-a-week basis.

    Sure they get some calls wrong, but with thousands of plays happening every week they come out with a pretty great ratio. Still, it’s the ones that they miss that get all the attention.

    Was it the wrong call? Probably. Could any of us do a better job on a constant basis? Probably not.

  3. dubblelznhell says: Nov 19, 2013 1:14 AM

    Total B.S. Explanation. Otherwise known as T.B.S.E. Syndrome. Doesn’t matter if it was “uncatchable”. Lol. Makes me laugh. If a penalty is committed on a play, while the play is happening, it’s a penalty. Plenty of “uncatchable” balls are caught, should they be overturned?

  4. dubblelznhell says: Nov 19, 2013 1:15 AM

    And I am an NFL fan, not a team-exclusive fan.

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 19, 2013 1:16 AM

    “After watching the replay several times, we consulted and cobbled together this half assed explanation. Sorry, it was the best we could come up with.”.

  6. kac1993 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:16 AM

    “Tom Brady took the polite approach, saying he should have thrown a better ball.”

    …Only after he pulled out an F-bomb while yelling at the ref. Can’t blame him though, it’s a competitive game and that was definitely a dubious call.

  7. jay231991 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:16 AM

    If that wasn’t interference it was definitely holding! Gronk would have been 2 yards away from that ball if Kuechly hadn’t wrapped him up. Poor officiating is an understatement.

  8. nfl4days says: Nov 19, 2013 1:19 AM

    Underthrown? Luke Kuechly pushed gronk back a good 3-4 yards while having his arms wrapped around gronks elbows. Luke isn’t exactly a pushover physically, so don’t tell me Gronk could have made a diving effort. Not a pats fan at all, but the call was bull. Everyone knows that if the pats had been the beneficiary of that call people would be raising hell about how the refs are in the pats pockets, don’t even try and deny that. It doesn’t make this any better that the refs ran away like cowards like they usually do when a bull—- call is made at then end of the game.

  9. bobman2 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:22 AM

    Waiting for the “they mugged our guy and there was no penalty called” chorus.

  10. mimitaroo says: Nov 19, 2013 1:25 AM

    In essence, it’s still BS.

    How many times do we see PI/holding called on a DB wrapping up a WR and bringing him to the ground when the ball is thrown 5 feet over the receivers head out of bounds?

  11. jonsilver1947 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:25 AM

    The eventual call was correct: Gronkowski was 4-5 yards past the ball and, if Kuechly wasn’t there, Gronkowski had way too much momentum away from the ball to be able to plant and successfully dive back the opposite way in time to reach Lester before he clearly has possession and ends the game. Looking at it in real time is the key.

  12. geektriumvirate says: Nov 19, 2013 1:26 AM

    “He took the polite approach”

    You mean after him and Mallet went and bitched and moaned to the refs?

  13. pobreezy says: Nov 19, 2013 1:27 AM

    The last play was kinda a joke, but what I thought was actually disgraceful was the flop from Greg Olsen on the pi call that was basically a setup. Olsen was holding onto the db and making hand motions from his freee hand to look like pi and he got it. Of all the sneaky, underhanded moves I’ve seen in football over the years, I can’t think of one that matches.

    From a non-patriots fan.

  14. kuckamorris says: Nov 19, 2013 1:27 AM

    Patriots did not deserve to win this game. As a Pats fan I don’t care about that last play and possible penalty. I’m more upset with our offensive line breaking down every other play.

    If I am going to wail about a call it’s going to be the penalty we got during the Jets game on the final play.

  15. rhymeswithpunt says: Nov 19, 2013 1:31 AM

    I think the Patriots are being spyed on.

  16. goodknave says: Nov 19, 2013 1:32 AM

    Uh…OK…but what about defensive holding the entire play?

    Should have been a 5-yard penalty, auto first down (irrelevant in this case), and one play from the 13 with no time left. At the least.

  17. nunan says: Nov 19, 2013 1:32 AM

    They shouldn’t really be deciding whether the pass was catchable or not, especially on a play like that, to end the game. What if the ball was tipped? What if Gronk could have made the adjustment? Poor form by the refs. The more upsetting call was the one on McCourty for holding on Olsen, the previous drive, that set up the Carolina TD. Olsen was clearly holding down McCourty’s arm. But in reality, the game would have been completely different had the pats tried to pick up a first down on third and one but decided to go for it all, only to fail and have to kick a field goal. Should have gone for the first down instead. A lot of bad decisions to go around here.

  18. shotgunnoblitz says: Nov 19, 2013 1:34 AM

    The ball was uncatchable because kuechley made it that way. Was it a bad throw, sure. Was it a tough catch, easily. But uncatchable. You are talking 6 and a half feet of pure athlete only a few feet away. Take away any pass interference and hes definitely got a shot of the ball.

  19. truthserum4u says: Nov 19, 2013 1:40 AM

    Don’t have a horse in this race and actually like both teams.

    “So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone.”

    What a crock! When Kuechly initiates contact, Gronkowski is right next to Lester, who intercepted the pass! The contact removed any chance Gronkowski had of coming back on the ball. Kuechly was also face guarding which is also illegal and may have prevented Gronk from seeing the ball to try and make a play.

    The odds Gronkowski actually makes the catch without the contact is probably slim; but the very reason he has NO chance at all is because of the contact.

    I don’t know which is worse, the call or the explanation defending it.

  20. mrjpil says: Nov 19, 2013 1:41 AM

    Aaaaannnd nobody feels bad for the Patriots

  21. brobroski says: Nov 19, 2013 1:47 AM

    Well I guess when you hug a guy there’s no chance to come back to the ball, so yeah, uncatchable. Maybe Greg Olsen could have caught the ball that went 10 yards past him when McCourty was called for PI. Flip a coin, make a call.

  22. jebdamone says: Nov 19, 2013 1:57 AM

    its terrible for a game to be decided by a flag and that ball may have been uncatchable but Kuechly was mugging Gronk well before anyone could determine the “catchability” of the throw. pretty much any other play of any other game thats PI.

  23. anicra says: Nov 19, 2013 1:57 AM

    Could have called D holding or illegal contact, which I think would have been fair.

  24. provguard says: Nov 19, 2013 1:57 AM

    Whatever happened to the “The Ronnie Lott Rule” that was B.S. also…

    If Gronk wasn’t interfered with, are you telling me he couldn’t catch that pass? That’s it – All refs report in immediately for eye checks …

  25. mattface83 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:04 AM

    they should be able to review plays like that. they couldn’t allow challenges on penalties ask the time but plays like this that effect the outcome at the end of a game should be reviewed, no question

  26. junglerat524 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:09 AM

    Good call

  27. jerrysglassescleaner says: Nov 19, 2013 2:09 AM

    WOOOOOOW! IT wasn’t catchable cause the defender was all over him!

  28. cardinal11 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:11 AM

    Some refs have no clue. He was being held well before he entered the back of the endzone. You can’t reward a team for such an outright hold. Could care less for the pats but they got hosed.

  29. jrs1972 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:11 AM

    ahhh, so to avoid pass interference you simply slam your guy 5-10 yards away from where he and the ball would be and it’s no longer a penalty.. noted.

  30. cardinal11 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:13 AM

    Seahawks and panthers now have something in common!

  31. jimthebuilder27 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:16 AM

    And people continue to say that the league and officials always favor the Patriots. Aside from possibly spygate, I can’t think of an occassion to support that argument.

    The Jets, on the other hand…

  32. bspurloc says: Nov 19, 2013 2:26 AM

    not a Patriots fan but um if the dude wasnt held he could have caught that ball…
    Brady saw that and threw the ball there on purpose.
    bad call over ruled call

  33. jimthebuilder27 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:31 AM

    The league favors the Patriots?
    -2006, the league orders the Patriots to change their playing surface, which they do. However, Soldier Field and Reliant Stadium have had and still have terrible playing surfaces. Nothing from the league.
    -2010, Braylon Edwards of the NYJ gets a DUI. Not even a fine from the league.
    -Roger Goodell heavily punishes the Saints for Bountygate (which isn’t even fully proven by the NFL). Meanwhile, the following year, the Jets even publicly admit they were trying to injure and knock Reggie Bush out of the game. They don’t even receive a warning from the league.
    -Earlier this year, the Patriots were called for that penalty on the field goal which allowed the Jets to kick the game winner. Yet the Jets did the SAME exact thing and yet NO CALL.

    So how does the league favor the Patriots? They have favored the Jets and having the Super Bowl in Metlife Stadium this year helps prove it.

  34. dontcensormebro says: Nov 19, 2013 2:32 AM

    Most passes thrown, if not all, will be uncatchable when the defender is holding the receiver’s arms down with a bear hug.

  35. sweetnlow44 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:33 AM

    In essence you should maybe explain why, in essence, a flag was thrown, in essence, on the field but there was “no foul on the play.” In essence, you’re not very good at something you get paid a lot of money to do. In essence.

  36. chukdee11 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:37 AM

    Watch the game tape, the red was all buddy buddy with Cam. Too coincidence that the same guy overruled the play…local ref/fans suk

  37. flashyash says: Nov 19, 2013 2:38 AM

    It’s funny, in this game, a TE gets pushed out of the back of the endzone, and the ball is deemed “Uncatchable” even though it was intercepted 3 -5 yds from receiver. Yet, in the Seattle game vs. Vikings yesterday, Ponder threw a ball away that landed at least 20-25 yds down field, and the refs deemed it catchable. HMMMMM!!!

  38. blacksunday1 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:46 AM

    Remember the “Tuck”..patriot fans!

  39. Rumor says: Nov 19, 2013 2:47 AM

    This is known as the “in essence” rule. It’s in there somewhere.

  40. broncosaddict says: Nov 19, 2013 2:53 AM

    Not a patriot fan, was glad panthers won.
    That being said, pats got screwed out of one more play.
    It may not have been pass interference, but it sure did seem like illegal contact/some form of holding. Whatever you want to call it sure did not seem like any legal football move I’ve ever seen.

  41. riverace19 says: Nov 19, 2013 2:56 AM

    That ref was a spineless jellyfish.

  42. prezmtdewcamacho says: Nov 19, 2013 3:02 AM

    If Gronk believed he could catch and tried to, he would have got the call.

    In the end Brady threw a bad bad and even if Kuechly doesn’t hold him a bit, that ball is at least knocked down by Lester.

  43. Iain says: Nov 19, 2013 3:05 AM

    No surprise there, they’re always wailing about something.

  44. fasbss53 says: Nov 19, 2013 3:08 AM

    This was a bush call by referees that did not have guts to make the right call. If it was the right call, why did it take so long to give an explanation? It was because it was CYA time and they had to get together to get their story right! The head referee was 40 yards down field behind the line of scrimmage! Granted, it should not have come down to this on the Pats play, but it did, and the refs did their usual screw up! and then would not admit it! It was as much a penalty as the McCourty call was!

  45. chuckles214 says: Nov 19, 2013 3:09 AM

    OK Cleteman you are dillusional and in denial if you think there was no penalty on that play and you should be fired for even trying to imply that your crew got it right. First let’s dissect the play the ball is in the air when Kuechly makes contact with the receiver an bear hugs him, which in itself is a penalty, for illegal contact beyond the allowable 5 yards, for you to imply that the ball was uncatchable is utter non sense! Gronkowski is 6’7″ tall and where the ball was finally intercepted was less than his body length away. You are a lousy Referee and your whole crew should not be allowed to referee games that have any ramifications in playoff standings. Message to Roger Goodell don’t send any of these guys to New England to referee any of our teams games again they aren’t welcome here. They don’t even know the rules.

  46. theRed says: Nov 19, 2013 3:21 AM

    Even though the rulebook would say that’s a penalty, I don’t think you make that call if Gronk had no chance of catching.

    It hurts, and coming from a Pats fan, I wish we could’ve got the call. But the Pats had a controversial penalty called in a favor just two plays before.

    If Brady had thrown it in Gronk’s direction, or if he’d thrown it a second later, it’d make sense. But he didn’t, and the game was over.

    Good game overall. The red zone turnover by Ridley was the real game-changer. Hopefully the Pats won’t have those turnovers against a great team like Carolina. We’ll see if the lesson is learned against Peyton & Co. this Sunday.

  47. gimmeabruschi says: Nov 19, 2013 3:21 AM

    National Fixed League.

  48. ghlatty says: Nov 19, 2013 4:12 AM

    If that call was correct, the rules need to be changed.

  49. crp63 says: Nov 19, 2013 4:51 AM

    at the very minimum it was illegal contact/holding while the ball was in the air….5 yards and one more play…no way there was no penalty…..

  50. boomgrounder says: Nov 19, 2013 5:46 AM

    I’m not a fan of either team but that is just wrong. The catch was “uncatchable” but the primary contact was made long before the interception ever occurred. The proper call should have been defensive holding. The referees 1) Blew the call and/or 2)Don’t know their own NFL rules. I agree it was not pass interference due to being an uncatchable ball but that does not negate the defensive holding.
    The Referee that threw the flag blew the call. He was “gutless”. It was so obvious you had to call it and that is why he threw the flag in the first place. But then he just couldn’t stand the thought of being booed by the home crowd!

  51. iammrbinky says: Nov 19, 2013 6:11 AM

    One only needs to refer to the final play of the Pats-Saints game to see an attempted murder by strangulation a Pats OL committed that would have nullified the TD.

    Comical that any Pats fan could actually cry foul after years of getting calls their way.

  52. turfdaddy says: Nov 19, 2013 6:14 AM

    Lord knows Brady has gotten plenty of calls in the last 12-13 years. It’s about time they didn’t get one in their favor.

  53. ravensrooster94 says: Nov 19, 2013 6:14 AM

    After all the calls over the years that went the Patriots way that they DIDN’T deserve, we finally have this mug job on Gronk, that should have been called but didn’t stand.

    How ironic.

  54. bwisnasky says: Nov 19, 2013 6:17 AM

    That’s funny… Patriot fans wailing about a bad call that cost them a game…. at least it wasn’t a playoff game….. in the snow…. where they were clearly beat.

  55. cranespy says: Nov 19, 2013 6:18 AM

    Moot point…..the Pats will end up in Denver for the AFC Championship game either way. If Maning stays healthy the Pats will lose twice to Denver.

  56. imthejuggernaut says: Nov 19, 2013 6:24 AM

    Tom Brady took the polite approach? are you being sarcastic? did you not see him berate the officials in the tunnel on the way out? Are you serious DG? Yeah maybe after the game he didnt wanna look like the db that he really is.

  57. drainbameged says: Nov 19, 2013 6:28 AM

    Patfans will whine no matter what…but I see the irony in loosing a game on a questionable call.

  58. xangiles says: Nov 19, 2013 6:30 AM

    I can’t understand why they didn’t call at least Defensive Holding (5 yd penalty and a free play) since Gronkowski was being bearhugged and blocked from moving back to the ball. Any issues about the ball being uncatchable is moot since there was obvious defensive holding more than 17 yards from scrimmage which far exceeds the allowable 5 yards contact zone. NFL needs some recourse to review final plays and assure that the game doesn’t end in a controversy. Bad calls/no calls have now cost Pats 2 of their 3 losses. League apologized to Belichick after the Jets game and they certainly need to apologize again.

  59. WACANHFL says: Nov 19, 2013 6:32 AM

    Oh the conspiracy theorists are going to tell you that the pass came from the grassy knoll and there were two receivers open! As well as the ball was 100% catchable…

  60. gborange says: Nov 19, 2013 6:34 AM

    I guess Brady is no better at aiming than his bodyguards.

  61. peterjohnjoseph says: Nov 19, 2013 6:36 AM

    Forget just Brady fans… How about anyone who cares about football, and the fact that with seconds left on a drive the new go-to play for all teams is to bear hug all receivers on the field, and take the chance the ball is viewed as underthrown to one of them.

    Hell, even if the ball isn’t “underthrown” and the flag actually stands, at least you’ve got one more chance to try and shut them down to avoid losing the game.. or you can just pull out the ol’ bear hugs again and keep trying until the game is over. After the third or fourth time a bad ball is bound to be thrown.

  62. golfsox78 says: Nov 19, 2013 6:37 AM

    As a Pats fan I’m not completely pissed off at this one call. I am pissed at the inconsistently with officiating. You call the hold on McCourty you call it there as well. Every team has bad judgement calls go against them and for them. I can’t complain, Pats fans can’t pretend like we never catch a break. But officials need to be consistent. It only makes the game fair for those playing the game. The players play their butts off and they deserve that the game ends on the field without worrying if a ticky-tac penalty is called. Especially those that the officials see as “illegal hits”. I personally think it was a hold and not pass interference. But the game is over the Panthers played well on both sides. But now people will be talking about this instead of the actual good play of both teams.

  63. vinsanitynow says: Nov 19, 2013 6:43 AM

    So illegal contact isn’t call able if the pass is uncatchable??? Seriously???

  64. Akula says: Nov 19, 2013 6:48 AM

    Gronk starts to cut in…the defender gives bear hug and says ” no you don’t “. Flag on the play. Seems pretty simple to me.

  65. deliveredbysherpa says: Nov 19, 2013 7:08 AM

    Gutless officiating. If the guy in the striped shirt with the best view calls it and all the fans see it, call the penalty.

  66. jimmyt says: Nov 19, 2013 7:13 AM

    Of course the ball was underthrown. That is why ladies should not be allowed to play QB in the NFL.

  67. melikefootball says: Nov 19, 2013 7:18 AM

    Yea Brady took the polite way as the camera followed him chasing down the officials and giving them an ear full. Nice try, he showed himself once more and Gödel should show him some love with a hefty fine.

  68. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 19, 2013 7:32 AM

    Good call.

    Great play by Lester.

    Poorly thrown pass by tom brady.

    To bad brady can’t blame it on Wes Welker again?!?

  69. nolahxc says: Nov 19, 2013 7:41 AM

    How was it still not at least illegal contact though? The only reason it was uncatchable was because Gronk was being held FROM catching the ball, thus making it uncatchable!

    Oh well… at least I don’t have to hear about the Brooks/Brees thing as much after that!

    Panthers @ Saints on SNF in week 14!

  70. 1heatedtoombrayduh says: Nov 19, 2013 7:48 AM

    Call me a hater or whatever..but any day the pats get screwed over is a good day for me…Freaking Tuck Rule lol

  71. fatsolio says: Nov 19, 2013 7:52 AM

    Biggest controversy in NFL history. The officials following an NFL rule is clearly worse than the crap that ended that Hawks/Packers game last season.

    I like how Pats fans will be whining that officials followed a rule. How ironic is that given the tuck rule in that 2001 playoff game and MANY other calls the Pats have had go their way which were iffy over the years.

    Apparently in the eyes of moron Pats fans and the Pats loving media, officials should not follow the NFL rule book if it means they will lose. If they are going to win because of some obscure rule then the officials should damn well follow the rules. Nice double standard.

  72. seabassfan says: Nov 19, 2013 7:55 AM

    I’m not a Pats fan just an independent 3rd party observer and that was one of the worst non calls I’ve ever seen. Unwatchable my posterior! It hit the defender in the gut about 3-4 yards in front of Gronk who was clearly being mugged on his way back to the ball. The only ref that should feel good about that play is the one that threw the flag to begin with.

  73. dirtdawg54 says: Nov 19, 2013 7:57 AM

    I’m hoping the league later announces they were wrong and the flag shouldn’t have been picked up. It would be worth it just to watch Pats fans wig out.

  74. spigster says: Nov 19, 2013 7:59 AM

    In essence, we’d like the replacement officials back please.

  75. gorilladunk says: Nov 19, 2013 8:02 AM

    Not a fan of either team so I have no dog in this hunt, but that was one of the most obvious calls I’ve ever seen. If you want to say the pass was uncatchable then how about illegal contact or defensive holding? It was a pathetic effort by the officials and anyone who thinks officials aren’t swayed by the crowd are delusional.

  76. dstroi says: Nov 19, 2013 8:07 AM

    I am sure the Patriot haters will be in full force today on this call. Any fan besides a Panther fan would have complained about a bad no call from the referees on this. With that being said, if the play resulted in a penalty, then it’s a penalty plain in simple. How can a referee “assume” that the ball was uncatchable? Gronkowski is a lengthy TE with the ability to retract after balls thrown in his direction. I firmly believe if the hold did not ensue, then Gronkowski would have had a great chance to dive and catch the ball. Instead, they throw the flag, pick it up, just kidding no penalty and leave the field without an explanation. If they were so confident in their call, then why leave the field so quickly without giving an explanation? Either way a loss is a loss. They had a lot of opportunities to seal the deal but did not capitalize on them so it’s hard to say they would have won anyway but would have a good chance closer to the goal line if the penalty held up. Now, let the Patriot hating commense!!!

  77. qdog112 says: Nov 19, 2013 8:14 AM

    It’s like a wake at ESPN.

  78. mykpfsu says: Nov 19, 2013 8:15 AM

    If it was uncatchable by Gronkowski, its only because Kuelchy rode him further away from the ball. Even then if Gronkowski has no one stopping his forward momentum, its possible if he dives to catch the ball.

  79. pastcoaches says: Nov 19, 2013 8:17 AM

    In essence, the referees, in essence, made a mistake, in essence. An on field explanation, in essence, to the players and fans, in essence, should be required.

  80. Chuck Norris says: Nov 19, 2013 8:19 AM

    Catchable or not doesn’t change the fact that there were 3 possible fouls on the play and 2 of them dont need the ball to be catchable. Defensive holding (or preventing the offensive player from being able to come back to the ball, we see that every week on under thrown balls), or illegal contact. Obviously when the ball was snapped at the 13 yard line, any contact in the end zone is beyond 5 yards. If there was enough contact that the official thought it was pass interference, then there was enough contact for them to call illegal contact. Why did the call have to be pass interference or nothing? Why not pass interference, illegal contact, defensive holding, or nothing? I don’t agree that it was pass interference, but it definitely was a penalty

    With that said, New England has themselves to blame. When you put the game in the hands of the officials, this is what happens. The Ridley fumble took points off the board (even if it ended up as a field goal, those extra 3 points means the end zone call never happened because they would have kicked a field goal to win it). Their inability to stop the panthers on 3rd down (seemed like 3rd and long was 3rd and inches, neither defense stopped anyone all night). After the game I actually feel better about the patriots than I did going into the game (because their offense is really coming together) and I actually feel less confident about Carolina because of the way the patriots offense abused that defense. New England only had like 2 punts

  81. 3taintedchampionships2biglosses says: Nov 19, 2013 8:31 AM

    good call

  82. kimbo71006 says: Nov 19, 2013 8:43 AM

    All I have to say is…Saints vs Patriots a few weeks ago…KARMA BABY!!

  83. kimbo71006 says: Nov 19, 2013 8:45 AM

    All I have to say is…Saints vs Patriots a few weeks ago = KARMA BABY!!

  84. ufourya says: Nov 19, 2013 8:58 AM

    “…assault and battery…”? It looked more like a clumsy attempt at a man-hug.

  85. coolzog says: Nov 19, 2013 8:59 AM

    As a fan of neither team, was it uncatchable? Maybe. However, if Gronkowski wasn’t being hugged that might be a different story. I’m not sure how you classify something as uncatchable when it was only a few yards away and the receiver was being held when he tried to adjust to the ball. Seems like pass interference to me.

  86. ufourya says: Nov 19, 2013 9:02 AM

    Wail on, Mr. Gantt.

  87. holleywood9 says: Nov 19, 2013 9:05 AM

    Even if gronk wasn’t interfered with, the pass was low and the db would’ve cut off the pass and intercepted it. Yes gronk could have possibly came back to catch it… If the defense wasn’t on the field. That db would have easily been in front of gronk and caught it any how

  88. jbaxt says: Nov 19, 2013 9:06 AM

    It was uncatchable, when a LB bear hugs the TE they’re all uncatchable. I’ve never seen a ball land 3 yards from a receivers feet that was deemed uncatchable. I hate the pats but that was a bad call.

  89. cmstrick says: Nov 19, 2013 9:16 AM

    I’m not a Patriots fan, but…

    actually, that’s all.

  90. psousa1 says: Nov 19, 2013 9:29 AM

    The Patriot TE is trying to stop and turn about halfway into the endzone. The Carolina LB uses the TE’s momentum to ride him to the back of the end zone. The ball is definitely underthrown but the LB wrapping up and riding him to the back of the end zone impedes the TE from making a play on the ball. It is a chicken and egg thing. So what they are saying is if the throw was over the head of the TE then the flag would not have been picked up? I think the officials found a convenient way to get out of Dodge.

  91. kate773 says: Nov 19, 2013 9:42 AM

    Excuse me? “Wailing”? Like Raiders fans are “wailing” 13 years later about the Tuck Rule? At least that was a rule. A bogus one, yes, but a rule.

    The Patriots got legit robbed last night and that ball was catchable. The refs are just trying to cover themselves. The ball was completely catchable to Lester, who was standing a whopping 5 feet (at MOST) away from Gronkowski.

  92. nafsrehtnap says: Nov 19, 2013 9:46 AM

    Panthers fan here…

    It absolutely does suck to have such a great game remembered for this play alone. I’m glad the officials are backing up there call here.

    To everyone who calls Brady a whiner… I have to say that I was impressed with him in the post-game interview. He took the right approach saying that the loss didn’t come down to that one call and put it on his own shoulders. That, I believe, is what a quarterback should do in that type of situation…so kudos to him.

  93. jgedgar70 says: Nov 19, 2013 9:47 AM

    I still don’t think it was PI, but they could have called Kuechly for holding. I’m confident that if that was called, the D could have made a play and we still would have won. It was a great game.

  94. somethingsmellsrotten says: Nov 19, 2013 10:14 AM

    Boo-hoo…at least it didn’t cost them a playoff game like the stupid tuck rule gave them a SuperBowl.

  95. godofwine330 says: Nov 19, 2013 10:17 AM

    I love it. I mean I really love it with the Patrcheat-ots don’t get that last minute, “You gotta be kidding me! There’s a flag!” calls. I saw the flag and was like, “Oh no. Here we go again.” I’m not a Panthers fan, but I remember that BS call in the Raider game 10+ years ago. The domino effect of that call screwed my Rams (I was a Marshall Faulk fan while still a Browns fan) from a title. I just knew it was going to be first & goal at the 1. But the ref picked up the flag. The right call was made, finally. Take that Patcheat-ots, & Belicheat.

  96. CKL says: Nov 19, 2013 10:32 AM

    Steeley McBeam says:
    Nov 19, 2013 1:12 AM
    These poor refs get absolutely chastised for calling a sport that is impossible to officiate; often times even with the help of slow motion review. They are paid scraps and do this as a second job on a one-day-a-week basis.
    _________________________________
    If you think getting paid six figures for a PT (or even a FT) job is “being paid scraps”. I’d love to know what you do for a living.

    I think all penalty calls should be reviewable, and a coach should be able to use a challenge on them. The reviw should be done at the NFL headquarters by Blandino et al.

  97. sanitytrek says: Nov 19, 2013 10:41 AM

    Cry-Brady and the rest of the Patsy fans are so used calls like this going in their favor they don’t know how to handle it when they finally get dealt a hand they don’t like.

    YOU MAD BRO???

    It’s about time the league stopped favoring the Patsys.

    Like it or not the call went against the Patsys and the game is over. Deal with it.

  98. gristlemcthornbody says: Nov 19, 2013 10:52 AM

    As I saw it, Gronk was heading to the back of the endzone, and the ball was underthrown. Even with no contact, he’s still running towards the back (I don’t think he was carried as some are saying), and there’s 2-3 Panthers between him and the ball, so it’s getting picked/knocked down regardless. If nothing else, it probably should have been a holding penalty on Kuechly. But refs miss holding calls all the time, so I can’t get too upset about it. New England had the whole game to score more, or stop Carolina, and they did neither.

  99. golfenigma says: Nov 19, 2013 10:59 AM

    Brady whined plenty…Brady never shook Newton’s hand after the game, instead he swore at the ref all the way down the runway. Stay classy Brady.

  100. metintodd says: Nov 19, 2013 11:12 AM

    Every team was cheating, every team was videotaping you moron. Because it was legal to do so you idiot. Pats got screwed by the refs who clearly had money on the game. They should file a protest and get another chance at the 1. Guess the Panthers had to cheat to win the game.

  101. candidad389 says: Nov 19, 2013 11:59 AM

    I am biased just like the rest of you, but lets just see how many no-calls there are against Eric Decker’s defenders next Sunday night, just like this entire season. Ayone who watched any of the Bronco’s games can atest that Decker is consistently interfered with and rarely gets the call, otherwise Bronco’s could be averaging 50 points per game. Face it, this is just another season when Brady’s defense has him looking great…too bad for him the Panther’s D kicked his butt!!!

  102. cometkazie says: Nov 19, 2013 12:56 PM

    Relax, it’s just entertainment in the form of a faux sport.

  103. concord148 says: Nov 19, 2013 12:57 PM

    Great day to be a Bronco Fan – Home Field Advantage Baby

  104. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:41 PM

    thegreatgabbert says: Nov 19, 2013 1:16 AM

    “After watching the replay several times, we consulted and cobbled together this half assed explanation. Sorry, it was the best we could come up with.”.
    —————–

    Precisely why they didn’t admit the real reason they picked up the flag, and didn’t announce this until an hour later.

  105. jdd428 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:50 PM

    jimthebuilder27 says: “The league favors the Patriots? … So how does the league favor the Patriots?”

    Two words: Tuck rule.

  106. bwisnasky says: Nov 19, 2013 2:58 PM

    Excuse me? “Wailing”? Like Raiders fans are “wailing” 13 years later about the Tuck Rule? At least that was a rule. A bogus one, yes, but a rule.

    —————————-

    and following the letter of the rule, once the ball was touched by both of Brady’s hands, the “tuck” was over.. which happened before Woodson knocked the ball out… so in essence, the rule should have never been invoked.. and at the very least, there wasn’t conclusive evidence to overturn the call on the field. That said, and as I stated earlier.. at least you lost a non conference, regular season game on a bogus call.. and trust me, I thought it was a mugging… You didn’t see your entire season ripped from based on horrible officiating.

  107. 1mommicked1 says: Nov 19, 2013 3:39 PM

    someone did catch it—a panther

  108. rabidbillsfan says: Nov 19, 2013 7:25 PM

    Ok, enough about this. I’ll say this, and stick to it. I watched the video, before the ball is intercepted, Luke contacts Gronkowski, I would deem that incidental. The ball is intercepted at the moment Luke wraps his arms around Gronkowski, no flag should have been thrown, no foul. Here is something I think everybody is missing, for Gronk to catch that pass, he would have to come back through Luke to do so. If he pushes the Panther linebacker, that’s OPI all day long. Now, if the ball is intercepted near the back of the end-zone, you have a gripe as that is where Gronkowski was and position of Luke would have prevented Gronk from making a play on the ball. Also, who says the Pats score on that possession from the 1? As the old saying goes, don’t leave it up to the refs to decide who wins. This isn’t a dual-possession call, it’s a penalty that results in 0 points, only field position. You can argue that the odds were the Pats would score from the one all you want, but the percentages are not 100% so your argument is invalid.

  109. purplereign2 says: Nov 20, 2013 8:59 AM

    They shouldn’t really be deciding whether the pass was catchable or not, especially on a play like that, to end the game. What if the ball was tipped? What if Gronk could have made the adjustment? Poor form by the refs. The more upsetting call was the one on McCourty for holding on Olsen, the previous drive, that set up the Carolina TD. Olsen was clearly holding down McCourty’s arm. But in reality, the game would have been completely different had the pats tried to pick up a first down on third and one but decided to go for it all, only to fail and have to kick a field goal. Should have gone for the first down instead. A lot of bad decisions to go around here.

    —————————————-

    It was uncatchable because the Panthers’ defender standing 10 feet in front of Gronk took it, not because Gronk couldn’t have reached it if it wasn’t picked. Because it was picked, it is uncatchable.

  110. purplereign2 says: Nov 20, 2013 9:01 AM

    metintodd says:
    Nov 19, 2013 11:12 AM
    Every team was cheating, every team was videotaping you moron. Because it was legal to do so you idiot. Pats got screwed by the refs who clearly had money on the game. They should file a protest and get another chance at the 1. Guess the Panthers had to cheat to win the game.

    ———————————

    Delicious delicious tears.

  111. purplereign2 says: Nov 20, 2013 11:26 AM

    dstroi says:
    Nov 19, 2013 8:07 AM
    I am sure the Patriot haters will be in full force today on this call. Any fan besides a Panther fan would have complained about a bad no call from the referees on this. With that being said, if the play resulted in a penalty, then it’s a penalty plain in simple. How can a referee “assume” that the ball was uncatchable? Gronkowski is a lengthy TE with the ability to retract after balls thrown in his direction. I firmly believe if the hold did not ensue, then Gronkowski would have had a great chance to dive and catch the ball.

    —————————-

    That MIGHT be true if the ball wasn’t picked off before it got within 5 yards of him, but it would be an AMAZING catch. Since the ball was picked, there was absolutely no opportunity for Gronk to make a play on the ball. Please explain how he catches the ball if not held, if the ball is caught by the defender. Does Gronk jump over the defender’s head, maybe a backflip?

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