The NFL office admitted Monday a pair of relatively obvious and egregious officiating errors, including one that allowed a bogus touchdown to stand and one that let the clock run for over a minute when it shouldn’t have.
The league sent out statements effectively apologizing for both.
Broncos punt returner Trindon Holliday’s 76-yard punt return should have been reviewed but wasn’t, after he flipped the ball to the ground before crossing the goal line. Had it been reviewed, the points would have come off the board, and the Panthers would have been given the ball at the 20 after a touchback, with the game tied 7-7 in the second quarter (and Brian Murphy might still have a job today).
“Because the video showed that Holliday lost possession of the ball before it broke the plane of the goal line, [replay official Bob] Boylston should have stopped the game to initiate an instant replay review,” the statement said.
“Had that occurred, [referee Al] Riveron would have had the indisputable visual evidence necessary to overturn the on-field ruling.”
In San Francisco, the problems didn’t involve points, but mass confusion during a spot and measurement took 79 seconds out of a game that stayed tied at the end of the other 73:41.
“No member of the officiating crew recognized that the clock was incorrectly started by the clock operator during the measurement,” the statement said. “Once the next snap occurs, there is no mechanism to adjust the clock. Matters of timing are not reviewable by instant replay.
“The clock operator is employed by the Officiating Department at the league office. The clock procedures will be carefully reviewed this week with all game officials and clock operators to avoid further clock mistakes.”
Bad week at the office for the refs. Can you imagine if they had to keep working with replacements?