NFL pipeline should have been used to fix Titans-Steelers fumble ruling

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Several years ago, the NFL opened up a real-time fiber line from the league office to every game site, in order to permit assistance and consultation with the replay review process. The league has since expanded the use of the pipeline to include matters relating to game administration.

Here’s the rule, as it’s currently written: “The Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating Department at the League office may consult with the on-field officials to provide information on the correct application of playing rules, including appropriate assessment of penalty yardage, proper down, and status of the game clock.”

On Thursday night, the game officials, the replay officials, and senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron failed to apply the proper when Steelers receiver Antonio Brown fumbled the ball forward from the 40 to the 31, where it was recovered by Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant. The ball should have been placed back at the 40. Four plays later, the Steelers extended their lead from 13-7 to 16-7 via a 50-yard field goal just before halftime.

During a Monday media briefing, NFL spokesman Michael Signora explained that the league office had “no disagreement” with the explanation provided during the NBC broadcast regarding the failure to spot the ball in the right place.

But to the extent that the game officials are catching the bulk of the blame for this, the truth is that the accountability extends more broadly. Yes, the officials should have noticed the situation and fixed it. The on-site replay official also should have noticed the situation and fixed it. And Riveron should have noticed the situation and fixed it.

25 responses to “NFL pipeline should have been used to fix Titans-Steelers fumble ruling

  1. The refs also blew it by calling intentional grounding against Kirk Cousins in the last minute of regulation in the Saints-Redskins game. The QB has to be under pressure for that call to be made, and Cousins wasn’t. That penalty was a killer, as the Redskins were driving for a game winning FG, the penalty pushed them out of range, and the 10 second runoff didn’t leave the team with sufficient time to recover.

  2. One has to wonder whether certain outcomes are predetermined. I know it sounds crazy, and it does, but it isn’t just one or two incidents, these types of obvious blown calls are happining almost on a game by game basis. Professional game officials should be better. Officiating is getting to the point of woeful ignorance or at worst a blatant aide.

  3. The Steelers are one of Goodell’s super six of the Jets, Giants, Ravens, Steelers, Colts and Donks that he turns a blind eye to.

    If this had happened and favored the Pats it would be a national crisis.

  4. Maybe the NFL should consider allowing corrections even if a play has been run when it is only a spiking.

  5. Officiating is failing at every level in the NFL. There is at least one blown call per game. I don’t mean missed call; I mean something they saw and then inexplicably made a decision contrary to the rules. They missed an obvious safety in the Bucs/Dolphins game. It was challenged and they still missed it. Forward progress was given when it shouldnt have been. Their rationale could have been no more valid than saying when the QB received the ball he was outside the end zone so that was his forward progress point. Fitz was tackled 2 yards deep in the end zone but according to the game officials and the morons in NYC, that’s not a safety.

  6. Officiating has to be better, but the solution isn’t full-time officials, it’s simpler rules. Right now, NFL rules are like the tax code — you need a law degree to follow them. The examples of complex rules are numerous. This is as much of a reason why viewership is declining as any other. So tell me, when is catch not a catch?

  7. Steelers have gotten away with officiating breaks all the way back to the Immaculate Reception. Outside of Jerome Bettis’ Thanksgiving coin flip call, they get every call.

  8. As Red zone zipped around yesterday, me and my household saw at least a half dozen game-altering egregious calls. JAX def was robbed of a scoop score, Julius Thomas phantom OPI in end zone, etc. I don’t want to think it’s all rigged, but this league has proven they have zero integrity so who knows?

  9. rufustfireflyjr says:
    November 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    The refs also blew it by calling intentional grounding against Kirk Cousins in the last minute of regulation in the Saints-Redskins game. The QB has to be under pressure for that call to be made, and Cousins wasn’t. That penalty was a killer, as the Redskins were driving for a game winning FG, the penalty pushed them out of range, and the 10 second runoff didn’t leave the team with sufficient time to recover.

    ———-

    That was text book intentional grounding. It was a 3 step drop and the Saints sent the house. he would not have been able to pull out of it and could not throw the ball to a receiver due to being covered so he just chunked it out of bounds. He may not have been getting hit but he was definitely getting pressured.

  10. “Several years ago, the NFL opened up a real-time fiber line from the league office to every game site, in order to permit assistance and consultation with the replay review process”
    ————————-

    Ah, so now it all makes sense- several years ago I notice a significant increase in inexplicable calls that seemed to effect the outcome of the games. So it seems the hotline is not there to help the officials as much as it is to “direct” the officials. #itsallaruse

  11. The officials actually have someone in the replay booth AND someone at the League office whose responsibility it is to record down and distance and notify everyone of the correct placement of the ball. Unfortunately, these people fall under the responsibility of Troy Vincent and Kim Fields, so they are completely incompetent and can only speak in buzzwords.

  12. Refs have agendas going into every game. How do you explain last nights swallow the whistle/keep the flags in your pockets while on other occasions it’s every other play nit pick penalties are called right and left. Totally my biggest NFL issue. Unless it’s out right obvious……stop allowing the officials to control game flow and keeping games close!

  13. If the Steelers always “get those calls”, then how come they had a td taken away on replay and the Titans had a td stand on replay? Plus a Steelers defender was flagged for a low hit on the QB when he hit Mariota in the thigh.

  14. You can open up all the ‘lines’ you wish but when there idiots on either end of the line it really doesn’t mean crap now does it? Goodell and his band of cronies need to be a clean sweep out the offices of the NFL. These people make more mistakes in a week than a normal CEO and his BOD would be allowed in a year. Good thing the NFL isn’t a publicly traded entity. The clown car full of these idiots would be sitting on a siding up around Cleveland.

  15. John Henry’s Hammer says:

    November 20, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    rufustfireflyjr says:
    November 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    The refs also blew it by calling intentional grounding against Kirk Cousins in the last minute of regulation in the Saints-Redskins game. The QB has to be under pressure for that call to be made, and Cousins wasn’t. That penalty was a killer, as the Redskins were driving for a game winning FG, the penalty pushed them out of range, and the 10 second runoff didn’t leave the team with sufficient time to recover.

    ———-

    That was text book intentional grounding. It was a 3 step drop and the Saints sent the house. he would not have been able to pull out of it and could not throw the ball to a receiver due to being covered so he just chunked it out of bounds. He may not have been getting hit but he was definitely getting pressured.

    Look at the video again. There was no one within five yards of Cousins when he threw the ball.

  16. unfairbutbalanced says:
    November 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm
    Officiating has to be better, but the solution isn’t full-time officials, it’s simpler rules. Right now, NFL rules are like the tax code — you need a law degree to follow them. The examples of complex rules are numerous. This is as much of a reason why viewership is declining as any other. So tell me, when is catch not a catch?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The short answer is when it is profitable based on close games meaning more viewers and/or bigger fan-bases in the playoff hunt.

  17. The Steelers, Pats and packers get more calls than any other teams. It is not even close. They made up the tuck rule to hide a horrible call that stole a AFC championship game. The NFL needs to fix this officiating problem quickly or fans will walk away. There are too many calls in question, in too many games. And it isn’t a new thing for the league. They just haven’t stopped it yet. Replay was supposed to help this and it hasn’t at all. They still get it wrong a lot after replay.And if it continues to be too much like WWE why watch? People will go back to college football.

  18. FinFan68 says:
    November 20, 2017 at 3:03
    The short answer is when it is profitable based on close games meaning more viewers and/or bigger fan-bases in the playoff hunt.
    )))))))))))))))
    The NFL isn’t the first sport to do this either. Dave Stern made up a phony lottery so Ewing would be in NYC. He had Mike go to Chicago The college player of the year taken 3rd in the draft. Boy did Chicago get lucky, yeah right. Boston and LA were already set. Stern took care of the big cities. The NBA grew and other sports copied it.

  19. Suspend the refs that continue to make horrible calls not that hard to fix the problem and make refs review the rules yearly

  20. harrisonhits2 says:
    November 20, 2017 at 1:39 pm
    The Steelers are one of Goodell’s super six of the Jets, Giants, Ravens, Steelers, Colts and Donks that he turns a blind eye to.

    If this had happened and favored the Pats it would be a national crisis.

    Tuck rule. Stop talking.

  21. Does this surprise anyone, you continue to see officials standing in front of a play and can’t call it correctly. To many rules to many inconsistent crews officiating. Adds up to games won or lost by the crew a team may get.

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