For the second time this year, NFL V.P. of Officiating Al Riveron is being criticized by his predecessors for overturning an Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown.
Seferian-Jenkins, the Jets tight end who controversially had a touchdown turned into a turnover on a replay review earlier this year against the Patriots, had another touchdown overturned on replay on Sunday against the Panthers. Former officiating department heads Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino both said after the Patriots game that they thought Riveron erred, and now they’re saying that Riveron erred again in overturning the touchdown against the Panthers.
In a video published by FOX, Blandino said that although the ball did move while it was in Seferian-Jenkins’ hands, his hands stayed on the ball as he completed the process of the catch and therefore the call on the field should have stood.
“His hands are on the football the entire time,” Blandino said. “You’ve got to go back to the ruling on the field, and if it’s not clear and obvious, you’ve got to stay with the ruling on the field.”
Pereira told Blandino he saw it the same way: The replay wasn’t sufficient to overturn the ruling on the field.
“I agree with you,” Pereira told Blandino. “The danger of replay is overturning something that shouldn’t be overturned.”
The NFL’s replay rules haven’t changed since Riveron was promoted to the top job this offseason: Calls are only supposed to be changed on replay if there’s clear and obvious video evidence that the call on the field was wrong. The problem is that Riveron has a different definition of “clear and obvious” than Pereira and Blandino do. Seferian-Jenkins is finding that out the hard way.