Skip to content

NFL says Roethlisberger lateral was legal

Brown AP

Thirty-one years to the month after the Immaculate Reception, the Steelers nearly crafted an NFL version of the “band is on the field!” play, if only receiver Antonio Brown had managed to stay on the field himself.

And if Brown hadn’t stepped slightly out of bounds only 13 yards from paydirt, the outcome would have become nearly as controversial as the Bradshaw-to-Tatum-to-Franco-possibly-by-way-of-Fuqua touchdown in the postseason.

One of the various pitches on the play included a lateral from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that initially appeared to be an illegal forward pass.  On Tuesday, NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino said on NFL Network that the ruling on the field of a lateral would have survived replay review, given the lack of indisputable visual evidence to the contrary.

This assumes, of course, that the referee John Parry wouldn’t have pulled a Triplette when reviewing the play.

The far more impressive bit of officiating came from field judge Scott Edwards, who remained in proper position throughout the chaos of the final play, saw Brown’s left foot land slightly out of bounds, and blew the play dead.

Making Edwards’ decision even more gutsy was the absence of the safety net of replay to overturn an erroneous call.  While the failure to blow the whistle could have been corrected after the fact, if Edwards were wrong he would have been solely responsible for swiping a season-saving win from the Steelers.

In a year featuring so many high-profile officiating mistakes, Edwards deserves credit for getting a big call in a big spot right, and for having the nerve to be true to what he saw.

Permalink 51 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill
51 Responses to “NFL says Roethlisberger lateral was legal”
  1. blackngold4life says: Dec 11, 2013 12:30 AM

    That “Clearly ” was a forward pass..y’all “Clearly” need ya eyes checkd

  2. jonsilver1947 says: Dec 11, 2013 12:30 AM

    As I said in a comment on another site on Monday morning, the official’s call in real time on Brown’s left foot was superb, and a great contrast to the miserable officiating all over the place Sunday.

  3. imatroll300 says: Dec 11, 2013 12:33 AM

    top 3 qbs blaine gabbert mark sanchez and Matt flynn all in that order

  4. smarterfootball says: Dec 11, 2013 12:33 AM

    So not legal, just not enough evidence to prove it was illegal.

  5. ampatsisahypocrite says: Dec 11, 2013 12:36 AM

    Joe Flacco is still mediocre.

  6. rickintexas says: Dec 11, 2013 12:42 AM

    Agreed… fair article and credit given to the ref as it should be.

  7. rodge1 says: Dec 11, 2013 12:45 AM

    Was not legal. Please get rid of the refs and hire some that act like they want their jobs. These guys don’t seem to care, almost arrogant.

  8. mataug says: Dec 11, 2013 1:03 AM

    When this play happened, I told my roommate that the refs can save their a$$ in such cases by calling it a TD and then getting it overturned via replay if they were incorrect. But kudos to Mr Scott Edwards for spotting the out of bounds.

  9. dudeicle says: Dec 11, 2013 1:42 AM

    soon they’ll call everything a touchdown so that someone else can make the call. Games will take 9 hours to complete

  10. doctorrustbelt says: Dec 11, 2013 2:05 AM

    I thought the only reason the OBVIOUS FORWARD PASS would pass the video review was because there was no flag thrown on the OBVIOUS FORWARD PASS.

    I’m shocked the NFL officials didn’t go back to find a BLATANLY BOGUS CALL to penalize Minnesota… to guarantee the win for pittsburgh.

    Another NFL referee failure.

  11. ped013 says: Dec 11, 2013 2:07 AM

    Kudos to Edwards on getting the call right. We so often criticize the officials (justifiably) for getting things wrong, that it’s great to see a perfect example of an official getting it right.

    When you watch the replay, you can see Edwards running down the sideline, with his eyes fixed at Brown’s feet watching to see if he stayed in bounds. He did a great job and should be applauded. The times when officials get calls wrong overshadow the good work and effort they can do.

  12. sowcrates says: Dec 11, 2013 2:07 AM

    Yes, glad he got the call right. However, don’t call it a “gutsy decision” when he was doing precisely what his job entails, and likely not “making decisions” but reacting to the best of his abilities to get the calls right.

  13. richal13 says: Dec 11, 2013 2:10 AM

    If you watch the play, Brown is actually offsides and moving before the snap. Not reviewable I know. But if Brown hadn’t stepped out, it would’ve been an extremely controversial TD. Glad it didn’t come to that.

  14. bennyb82 says: Dec 11, 2013 2:18 AM

    So basically if Brown did not step out then there would have been a 50/50 chance that the touchdown stood. Blandino is just assuming that the refs make the correct call on the review which as we know is pretty close to a coinflip sometimes…

  15. dmercer3 says: Dec 11, 2013 2:44 AM

    this is exactly what people are pissed about, in regards to the officiating this year, this article points out the positive, but completely ignores the erroneous assumption that the lateral was legal, when in fact, anyone without their eyes shut saw the obvious illegality.

  16. piemasteruk says: Dec 11, 2013 2:54 AM

    “In a year featuring so many high-profile officiating mistakes, Edwards deserves credit for getting a big call in a big spot right, and for having the nerve to be true to what he saw.”

    ——

    Credit or criticism?

    He made the call, he was correct, the right decision was made, all is right with the world. But wouldn’t it have been better to swallow the whistle, even if he was 99.99% certain that his foot went out of bounds? All scoring plays are subject to review, so the call could have been easily overturned, but on the small chance he would wrong he wouldn’t be making a massive season-altering catastrophic screw-up.

    Just a thought…

  17. thegreatestofalltimes says: Dec 11, 2013 4:16 AM

    “Public Says NFL Officiating is Heinous”

    That’s a more accurate headline.

  18. jr4real says: Dec 11, 2013 4:37 AM

    Can you imagine what steelersaregodsteam would have been like this week if Brown didn’t step out of bounds!!?! I may have believed him!!!

  19. ravensruleandharbaughisgod says: Dec 11, 2013 5:09 AM

    I may be geezer but that would be 41 years based upon my Jesuit calendar. But don’t trust me…ask Frenchy Fuqua!

  20. jmblosser82 says: Dec 11, 2013 5:11 AM

    A game of inches…altho the defense cause them to be in this situation.

  21. Joemontanaflacco says: Dec 11, 2013 5:54 AM

    Cody Wallace.

  22. omniscient48 says: Dec 11, 2013 5:54 AM

    This is absolutely stunning. An NFL official made a correct call. All joking aside, I agree. This guy should be congratulated (for doing his job).

  23. watchfullhose says: Dec 11, 2013 6:07 AM

    Glad their commenting on this instead of the crappy officiating in the other 15 games last week.

  24. basexc9 says: Dec 11, 2013 6:09 AM

    What about the receiver being in motion during the snap?

  25. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Dec 11, 2013 6:31 AM

    “The far more impressive bit of officiating came from field judge Scott Edwards, who remained in proper position throughout the chaos of the final play, saw Brown’s left foot land slightly out of bounds, and blew the play dead. Making Edwards’ decision even more gutsy was the absence of the safety net of replay to overturn an erroneous call. ”

    “In a year featuring so many high-profile officiating mistakes, Edwards deserves credit for getting a big call in a big spot right, and for having the nerve to be true to what he saw.”

    = = =

    The official saw an obvious bright line infraction and called it. It involved the bare minimum amount of judgment or complexity of issues. It was an easy call and he simply did his job on a 1o second play – so let’s not go awarding him the Congressional Medal of Honor just yet.

  26. olcap says: Dec 11, 2013 6:32 AM

    I just watched Blandino go through this. This is the first I’ve seen of the play, and it was a forward lateral. Guy is a talking head talking BS.

  27. peytonwantsaflag says: Dec 11, 2013 6:37 AM

    Does the nfl not realize us common folk have access to hi- def and tivo? Where brown caught it was a good 2 feet ahead of where roethlessberger pitched it.

  28. bst3975 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:16 AM

    If an important player had been injured during the play after the lateral, the decision not to blow the whistle would not have seemed so praiseworthy.

    Still looked like a forward lateral anyway.

  29. zam0854 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:21 AM

    BUT…But…but…Didn’t he step out of bounds? Then who cares!

    2013-14 Playoffs will not include the Steelers!

    Soak it in Pittsburgh, and let it burn deep down inside.

  30. duece5 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:22 AM

    Hmmm…..most will call this karma…….football gods giving back Tomlin some medicine.

  31. ogascadan says: Dec 11, 2013 7:24 AM

    NFL=No Forward Lateral

    I call BS!

  32. cubancigar10 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:28 AM

    I have been a proponent of abolishing the instant replay for a long time now. This article substantiates my position.

    1. It interrupts the flow of the game and makes the games longer than they should be. (yea the people selling ad time hate this !!)

    2. The instant replay interpretations are by imperfect people. Some of the conclusions leave me screaming, “What play were YOU watching?”

    To return the integrity and flow of the game I propose the elimination of the instant replay and returning it to the refs on the field. I do not believe the reliability of decision making in the long run would be compromised. What do ya’ll say?

  33. idpfantasyfootball says: Dec 11, 2013 7:30 AM

    How was the lateral legal? Now, even the head of officiating is getting it wrong… I replayed the play after it happened. Big Ben and the ball were clearly a yard behind where Brown caught it….

  34. hehateme2 says: Dec 11, 2013 7:31 AM

    “for having the nerve to be true to what he saw.”

    Isn’t this their job Floria? Or is it to set up the playoffs to benefit “certain franchises?”
    Miami already got jobbed from the squealers in 2010 when Ben fumbled into the end zone and it was called a TD. Enough!

  35. steelersaregodsteam says: Dec 11, 2013 7:37 AM

    They are only saying that because we didn’t score. If he had scored, they would’ve brought it back. For the Steelers, it will forever be us vs. our opponents + the refs. That how it has always been and we still have six rings to show for our superiority.

  36. pabrownsfan says: Dec 11, 2013 7:49 AM

    I think it is a shame that he has to be praised for doing his job correctly. That does not say a lot about the officiating this year does it?

  37. ravenswhat says: Dec 11, 2013 7:58 AM

    Tireless Steelers defender.

  38. karla36 says: Dec 11, 2013 8:00 AM

    Just like the lack of “indisputable evidence” when he fumbled in 2010, a Dolphin came out of the pile with the ball and yet, not enough evidence to call it a fumble…SMH…I’m glad Brown stepped out. I’m sick of all the calls (for many years) that have been in favor of the Steelers and this would have been another. Perhaps the tide is FINALLY turning and I couldn’t be happier!!

  39. melikefootball says: Dec 11, 2013 8:03 AM

    One more failing mark for the officials.

  40. mmmpierogi says: Dec 11, 2013 8:15 AM

    Even as a Steeler fan, I was all but certain that Roethlisberger’s lateral on that play was moving forward.

    That said, I don’t recall the camera being perfectly positioned, either (at least from what I remember without having re-watched the play, the camera was at a slight angle by the time Roethlisberger had the ball, which might have given the appearance that it was moving forward).

  41. FinFan68 says: Dec 11, 2013 8:16 AM

    Sure looked forward to me although the arm motion looked funny

  42. gbmickey says: Dec 11, 2013 8:36 AM

    Now we should praise people who do the job they are paid to do?

  43. atleastimnotaraidersfan says: Dec 11, 2013 8:53 AM

    If his call would’ve been wrong, would the would be td still be scored? If not, why not just let him score so it can be reviewed?

  44. 8drinkminimum says: Dec 11, 2013 9:02 AM

    Let’s go back to the start of the play. The Pitt offense wasn’t set as one of their receivers was still getting to the line.

  45. steelcurtainn says: Dec 11, 2013 9:16 AM

    Figures. Of course, if Antonio Browns foot would have been in bounds, Big Bens pass would have been illegal then. Thats just the way the Goodell and the NFL works against the steelers.

  46. mfpepin says: Dec 11, 2013 9:23 AM

    To me, “legal” and “lack of indisputable visual evidence” are not synonymous.

  47. themiamidolphins says: Dec 11, 2013 9:31 AM

    LOL, it was blatantly a forward pass. Thank god for the sideline or else that play probably stands.

  48. Steeler's Didn't-but-Will-eventually says: Dec 11, 2013 10:20 AM

    hehateme2 says:
    Dec 11, 2013 7:31 AM
    Miami already got jobbed from the squealers in 2010 when Ben fumbled into the end zone and it was called a TD. Enough!
    ——————————
    Miami went 7-9 in 2010. If 8-8 got you into the playoffs, it would not have lasted. Get over it. Sure, you might get to sniff a wildcard spot, but make no mistake Brady makes the rules in the AFC East.

    Love it. It’s not enough that Brown was ruled out, a ref called it, the TD didn’t stand, and the Dolphins won. You all have to rage about the entire play from beginning to end, as if the Steelers stole the game.

  49. Deb says: Dec 11, 2013 11:17 AM

    Gee, thanks, NFL. I’m so glad you took time to review the legality of a play that was nullified when Brown stepped out of bounds on the runback. Do you think you might take time to review all the officiating blunders each week that actually have an impact on game outcomes?

  50. cometkazie says: Dec 11, 2013 12:32 PM

    pabrownsfan says:
    Dec 11, 2013 7:49 AM
    I think it is a shame that he has to be praised for doing his job correctly. That does not say a lot about the officiating this year does it?
    +-+-+

    That indeed is the problem.

    Well put . . .

  51. basedrum777 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:05 AM

    Steeler’s Didn’t Win, Just a question. Who would’ve missed the playoffs in 2010 when the wrong call was made by the ref (who conveniently grew up in Pittsburgh)?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!