Official to Bills: “I don’t know” why Kelvin Benjamin TD was overturned

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The Bills weren’t the only ones confused about why Kelvin Benjamin‘s touchdown was overturned on replay Sunday. The officials on the field didn’t know why the call was changed, either.

A video from Sunday’s game shows Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and coach Sean McDermott both talking to the officials on the sideline, seeking an explanation for why the ruling on the field of a touchdown was reversed to incomplete. But that change was made by the league’s head of officiating, Al Riveron, and the officials in the stadium couldn’t explain what Riveron was thinking.

“That’s a hell of a throw, and a catch, I thought,” deep judge Mark Hittner told Taylor.

McDermott then asked, “How is that incomplete?” to which Hittner replied, “I don’t know.”

The point of instant replay is supposed to be fixing obvious errors — the kind of mistake that anyone can easily see. If the error isn’t obvious to an NFL official, it’s hard to see how it could be a mistake obvious enough that it should have been overturned. Riveron has a problem on his hands if his own officials are acknowledging to the players and coaches on the sideline that they don’t know what Riveron was thinking.

175 responses to “Official to Bills: “I don’t know” why Kelvin Benjamin TD was overturned

  1. So some third party Office with dubious interests gets to decide the outcome of the calls? Why do you even have officials on the field anymore? Just set up a bunch of cameras and watch from your office, dictating the game as you go.

  2. Time to breakout a collage of the overturned calls – the “Riveron follies” and rehire Pereira or even Dean Blandino. The problem is the man running the system – not the system itself.

  3. They cant get rid of riveron fast enough.
    Cant imagine how pissed off these players and coaches are that have been robbed of T.D.’s and possible wins.

  4. Or, maybe, just maybe, he said “I don’t know” because he wasn’t the one under the hood? Seems to make more sense than a conspiracy theory to help the Patriots from a league office who HATES the Patriots.

  5. The NFL is shooting itself in the foot with these ridiculous rules and replay overturns. Figure it out Boys before you prove Mark Cuban right. Ratings aren’t down because of anthem protests, they’re down not only due to overexposure but because the game and the rules within are becoming a joke. You’re doing it to yourselves!

  6. They need to retroactively reverse that terrible call. The score was really 37-20. Give KB the stats.

    Actually for a call that bad we should give the bills the TD and the FG. From now on that score shall forever be 37-23.

  7. The conspiracy theorist in me says that Patriots owner Kraft made a deal with Goodell in exchange for backing Goodell’s new contract. I mean, in two weeks we have two blatant touchdown calls reversed and isn’t that a little strange? I remember Kraft actually came out against Jerry Jones when I thought at the time that was very strange after the deflate-gate stuff. If I were able to pull back the curtain on the NFL and see how it is run I wonder if I would see a level of corruption that would make organized crime look like the minor leagues.

  8. “The point of instant replay is supposed to be fixing obvious errors…”

    Is it? Or is Al Riveron working to a much more explicit definition in the NFL Rule Book or NFL Officials Manual (if there is such a thing)?

    Let’s not discuss what the rules and definitions SHOULD be before we define what they ARE today. Once we understand what rules Al Riveron is SUPPOSED TO BE working to, then we can discuss if he appears to be operating in a manner consistent with them, and ultimately, whether or not the rules should be changed.

  9. Another two part Goodell blunder. One for hiring Al Riveron and two for not firing his dumb a## after having no idea what “too close to over rule means”.

  10. firegoodell says:
    December 27, 2017 at 8:49 am
    Really? The answer is obvious….”because you’re playing the Patriots”…..is the answer

    #excusemaking

  11. Buffalo, worry about the playoffs and the enormous game this week standing between your team getting in.

    Put. Last. Weeks. Game. In. The. Past!

    Time to focus all your energy on beating the fish. Good luck.

  12. Why are the Bills the only team in all the 4 major sports to have not made the playoffs this century?

    So many questions.

  13. Pretty sad that the head of officiating can’t follow the rules. Clearly thinks he is the smartest guy in the room. Sack him.

  14. Gosh – what could it have been? I’m going to go out on a line and guess that the answer was he didn’t have possession of the ball with 2 feet down in the end zone? Is this really that complicated?

  15. Oh my god. His left foot was off the ground after he showed final possession. Clear as day.

    My question is, why do the refs miss the call so much originally? If there isn’t clear possession and two feet down that you can see, it has to be incomplete.

    Stop the attempts to cheat my team constantly. Ugh.

  16. No one knows why it was overturned. If you spend nearly four minutes reviewing it, it wasn’t clear and obvious.

    You can’t legislate perfection. It’s not obtainable. If there isn’t a clear and obvious view to overturning a call, it shouldn’t be overturned.

  17. Well… I dont really believe in conspiracy theories, but:

    1. The Jets game, where a late TD was taken away, claiming the Jets’ TE was claimed to lose the ball out of bounce;

    2. the Texans game, where Brandin Cooks did the same thing, but the TD was allowed;

    3. The Chargers game, where a TD was removed when 2 Pats’ defenders ran into each other and it was called offensive PI, for an “illegal pick”

    4. and of course the Steelers game.

  18. As a Patriots fan I understand other fans hatred which in all honesty is down to their successes but I would love to hear an explanation of why the NFL wants the Patriots to keep winning. The league does everything it can to level the playing field, Roger Goodell absolutely despises the whole organisation so why do you think they are favoured it makes ZERO sense>

    …and for the record, I think it MAY have been an incomplete pass but it was called a TD on the field and SHOULD not have been over ruled. Unlike the catch rules that need to be changed all the league needed to do here was follow its own mantra if its not obvious you stay with the rule on the field.

    That said the Bills had a whole second half to win the game and they came up very very short.

  19. Benjamin’s foot came off the ground before he was able to establish possession of the ball. Therefore, it was an incomplete pass.

  20. firegoodell says:
    December 27, 2017 at 8:49 am
    Really? The answer is obvious….”because you’re playing the Patriots”…..is the answer.
    ————-

    And no other answer is accepted.

  21. yep the referees were paid off by our Owner. If that was the case, the referees should’ve blown the whistle dead and called an ” injury timeout” when Buffalo decided to kick a field goal on 4th and 1 in our territory down by 7 in the 4th quarter.

  22. why? because cheater Kraft & the Patriots obviously have paid off the league. Also, no one in the league wants to see a small market like Buffalo in the playoffs, even though we have the best fans in the league by far.

  23. Riveron was a horrible official, and he’s even worse in the replay booth. And I agree with @ihavenoeyedeer – the official(s) who made the call on the field should be part of the replay process, similar to baseball.

    This isn’t rocket science, but we have a GED student in Riveron trying to use big words to impress people and doing so incorrectly, and instead, he’s just making a fool of himself.

  24. It’s Wednesday and they’re still talking about this? It’s not like it was the last play of the game. They had plenty of time to come back from that call (and I think it was a bad call).

    I like how the rules need be changed when they work against a team, if the shoe was on the other foot these holes would be saying ‘thats the rules’.

  25. Last time I checked before kickoff, the pats were 11.5 point favorites. Had the touchdown stood (in place of the FG) there’s a 4-point swing for the Bills. Combine that with the 4th down call that should’ve been a turnover on downs, there goes another potential 7 for Buffalo. Add 11 to the bills score that game & you have all you need to know…

  26. I really don’t understand what the NFL is thinking, the fans hate the rule, and when a team gets knocked out of the playoffs because some idiot in NY decided the outcome of a game, thousands of fans will see it as the games are being fixed. Then it will become a big problem for the NFL.

  27. the jesse james thing was not a catch and its been explained and discussed ad nauseam. aside from that, i agree with everyone else, it’s total BS that some officiating (note: i didn’t say ‘replays’) is being done from a remote location now which is a troubling trend. ESPECIALLY with the NFL preparing to rake in gambling money.

  28. How can the NFL be biased towards the Patriots when they made Brady sit for 4 games for something they couldn’t even prove, for something they never even cared about and for something that every QB does?

  29. dwinsgames says:
    December 27, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Pretty sad that the head of officiating can’t follow the rules.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    Actually, he DID follow the rules. The uproar seems to be that people want him to let the call stand if it’s “kinda close”.

  30. truthinesshurts says:
    December 27, 2017 at 9:01 am

    “The point of instant replay is supposed to be fixing obvious errors…”
    —————————————————————————————————-
    No, it’s supposed to be fixing errors.

    Can you show me where it says they are only supposed to fix “obvious’ errors? Is this in the rule book somewhere?

  31. There are teams the NFL loves (NE & Pitts come to mind), and others they hate (Buffalo, Cleveland, for example).

  32. Give replay back to the officials on the field for starters. If they don’t see enough to change the call within 60-90 seconds the call on the field stands. I don’t care if they miss one every now and then. I do care when some suit in New York watches a frame by frame replay for 10 minutes and still screws it up!!

  33. The other issue is that sometimes, calls like that, can change momentum of a game. Let’s face it, the Pats are a formidable opponent. The Bills were very much in the game at that point. They would have taken the lead just before half and getting the ball to start the 2nd half. Maybe (probably) wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but who know? GO BILLS!

  34. It was reversed because the rules state a player must have control with both feet in bounds. Why does this story keep floating to the top. The ruling was correct according to the rules.

  35. The reply center should only just be that. a replay center. Not an officiating center. The final decision should come from the officials on the ground. That’s how it is in the NBA anyways.

    But how many TDs against the Pats have been overtuned this year? Jets TD, Steelers TD, Bills TD, etc… and don’t give me the b…. that it didn’t matter in the end. Yes, it did matter. There is something like killing the momentum.

  36. They should be forced to play the conversation with NYC over the refs microphone as it happens. Then we would all know if there was any disagreement between the on-field referee and Riveron. If there is and they still rule overturn instead of stands then there is no denying the league-level outcome management.

  37. “Oh my god. His left foot was off the ground after he showed final possession. Clear as day… Stop the attempts to cheat my team constantly. Ugh.”
    —————————————
    What planet are you living on? Nobody gets cheated more than any team that happens to be playing against the pats AND their mvp players who wear black and white uniforms. Some day it’s all going to come out, all of it.

  38. I am a Patriots fan and don’t think that Benjamins TD should have been reversed. Although it may not been a TD by the definition of the rule it was to close to overturn IMO. The call reversal against Pitt last week was more obvious and think they made the correct call (by the rule). The rule needs to be changed going forward.

    Instant replay is great when it benefits our team but when it works against our team we hate it. I agree it was meant to fix obvious mistakes not things like we are talking about. Football was much more fun to watch in the old days!!

  39. If it is necessary to study individual frozen frames of the video for over five minutes in order to evaluate a play, it is both clear and obvious that Al is abusing the purpose of replay.

  40. The reason the replay calls from New York take so long is because they have to do a quick financial analysis to how each call will affect the bottom line.

  41. Good work commish. The refs on the field and the replay officials aren’t on the same page about what the rules are. That’s $200 million worth of tight ship right there.

    As a Pats fan, my gut is that it wasn’t a catch, but I didn’t think there was anything close to conclusive proof to overturn. Should have been stands as called on the field.

  42. One for the other thumb says:
    December 27, 2017 at 9:00 am
    They need to retroactively reverse that terrible call. The score was really 37-20. Give KB the stats.

    Actually for a call that bad we should give the bills the TD and the FG. From now on that score shall forever be 37-23.

    ——————————————————————————-

    Patriots likely would have still won the game, but if the TD counted it would have been 17-13 Bills at halftime with Buffalo getting the ball. Could have completely changed the game for all you know. You are making it way too simple.

  43. Everybody, especially those who wager a few cookies on a game, clamored for instant replay. Now they got it. And lo and behold! it affects 50% of the teams playing in a particular game. It makes some happy; it makes some sad. You can’t have it both ways. And as for the on-field officials, I just as why Gene Steretore can no longer officiate a Steelers game. That’s one of the reasons for instant replay.

  44. when I first saw this play and the replays during the game, before they announced to overturn it, I said to my daughter there’s no way they overturn it. I can’t say that I saw every replay that they showed during the game because I was cooking while watching the game on the kitchen TV, but from all the ones I did see, I couldn’t see how they could overturn it.

    I was shocked at the time that they overturned it. However right after the game (not sure if it was national TV or local) they showed a replay from outside the corner of the end zone that that showed Benjamin bobbling the ball while never

    A call so technical as this one is due to the combination of replay, TV technology, and the rules of the game. Before high resolution TV, when replay came to be, I don’t think the call gets overturned. But with today’s technology, I believe overturing it was the correct call.

    Bottom line is, the rules haven’t kept up with the technology.

  45. Hahahahahahaha

    Lots of cry babies. His foot wasn’t down when he finally stopped bobbing the ball all over the place. Next time catch the ball and maybe it would have been a TD

  46. And then they wonder why the ratings are down…Football is a game of inches and a single bad call can completely change the outcome of a game. And the outcome of a single game can determine if a team goes to the playoffs. When the commissioner is making $40mil a year, but year after year there are problems with the officiating and there is zero accountability on the side of the officials, you can see why fans lose trust and interest in the game.

  47. Belichick is a great coach because he does not let anything distract him during a game. He wouldn’t be bitching about the play 3 days later. The Bills had a whole second half to score and win and couldn’t get the job done. Every team in the league has had calls go against them and will continue to do so. To be a winner you have to act and play like a winner not feel sorry for yourself.

  48. tylawspick6 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 9:11 am
    Oh my god. His left foot was off the ground after he showed final possession. Clear as day.

    My question is, why do the refs miss the call so much originally? If there isn’t clear possession and two feet down that you can see, it has to be incomplete.

    Stop the attempts to cheat my team constantly. Ugh.

    ==============

    Only delusional Pats fans think it should have been overruled. Did you use an index card to measure if his foot was off the ground?

  49. He wasn’t under the hood so he didn’t see Benjamin’s foot off the turf when he gained control of the ball. Good grief.

  50. And the NFL wonders why ratings are down.
    Because terrible officiating is part of the problem.

  51. Count this as one of the reasons that my interest in the NFL is waning. Was Riverton in some bookie’s pocket? What other explanations are there? Regardless, the correct call was blatantly overturned. If the rules are that loose, then what makes this different than any scripted WWE performance?

  52. That changes my view on this.
    When looking at the replay Benjamin is bobbling the ball. To me that’s incomplete.
    But now since the referees don’t know why it was changed, that’s a HUUGE problem. That’s a stunning admission.

    I can’t believe the league office wants control of game decisions.

  53. “firegoodell says:
    December 27, 2017 at 8:49 am
    Really? The answer is obvious….”because you’re playing the Patriots”…..is the answer.”

    But only if the question is “Why is this a story? It happens every week, often multiple times. The only time anyone cares is if it is the Pats or the playoffs.”

  54. Dagnabbit.

    I thought #CryGate was over when the games kicked off on Sunday and all the poor Steelers fans finally moved on.

    BUT WAIT!

    No, #CryGate continues with the Bills Mafia and at this point it doesn’t matter if it was complete or not. When did he have possession? When did we see the black pellets after the ball was secured? What does it matter now? The call was made. Time to move on people.

    At least we should be safe from the continuation of #CryGate this coming week… Oh, no it’s the J-E-T-S! Will it ever stop?

  55. I actually think both calls were correctly overturned (this and the one vs. the Steelers). I’m not sure it took so long to overturn this one, it seemed obvious to me after about 2-3 times of watching that foot come off the ground as Benjamin was hauling the ball in. I have more of a problem with last week’s call than this one.

    I think the main issue is that the catch rule sucks. What happened to catching the ball, 2 feet down and making a football play? If it were that simple, the Steelers TE would have had a TE because lunging for the goal line is a football play. This call though…not a catch.

  56. Same thing happened in the Chiefs/Dolphins game, but a little different. Tyreek Hill made as great a catch as you will ever see. He stretches out, grabs the ball with both hands, and clearly has the tips of both feet just inches inside the line. Refs say no catch. Andy Reid throws the challenge flag. Call upheld, although it was clearly a catch. Riveron gave no explanation as to why it was not a catch. Call did not get the air time as the Pats call, because, well, it wasn’t the Pats.

  57. This Pats fan is perfectly willing to admit I didnt get it either I even struggled to see it on the replay, I understood the argument but thought it was so close it could go either way which does not warrant overturning what was called on the field. (And I would have said the same had it been called out on the field, the replay just wasnt conclusive enough for anything to come of it)

    So Ill agree with Bills fans that they got robbed and the final score should be considered 37-20 instead of 37-16. Good luck guys I am honestly rooting hard for you to make the playoffs, that would be fun.

  58. Pats fan as well. While I thought overturning the catch in the Steelers game was text book according to the rule, the Benjamin catch was clearly a catch. And text book at that.

    I would even go so far as to say that had it been ruled NOT a catch on the field, I thought there was enough evidence in the video to say it was a catch.

    I don’t think the rule had anything to do with it on this one. BY THE CURRENT RULE, that was a catch!

  59. Look at the NFL office. There are something like 42 vice presidents. Of what, I have no idea. Look at the head man. It is like the huge Federal Govt, lots of bureaucracy. No integrity whatsoever, yet claims the league is trying to protect its integrity. I don’t think he knows what the word mean.
    When I watch a college game, I never complain about officiating. When I watch an NFL game, all I do is complain about officiating.
    So what has happened? Roger Goodell happened.

  60. Tylawspick6 come on man both feet were down before that shot of his left foot being off the ground, look I’m a die hard SAINTS’s Fan and I don’t understand how Zack Miller’s TD was called back earlier this year in the Superdome, or some of the officiating in the SAINTS falcon game from two weeks or in favor of the falcons or some of the missed PI calls against Marshown Lattimore just last week in favor of The SAINTS. My son-in-law says it’s just bad refereeing that’s compounded by instant replay from NY and now with these stupid what’s a catch what’s not a catch calls it just shows the fnfl has got to the point where they overthink everything and then try to break down plays not to just seconds but to par-sec’s the fnfl has become a joke, and that’s been compounded by letting the biggest idiot goodell make the decisions, or as I call the refs goodell’s striped goons.

  61. tylawspick6 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 9:11 am
    Oh my god. His left foot was off the ground after he showed final possession. Clear as day.
    My question is, why do the refs miss the call so much originally? If there isn’t clear possession and two feet down that you can see, it has to be incomplete.
    Stop the attempts to cheat my team constantly. Ugh.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    You mean your team cheats constantly. There, fixed it for you, Ugh.

  62. The fourth time this year the Patriots were helped by Riveron. He is the problem, not the rules, not the calls on the field but Riveron. It was clearly a touchdown by Benjamin. How that call was overturned is ridiculous. Perhaps this is Goodell’s way of paying back the Pats. I think they have been helped enough this year Roger.

  63. stillabengalsfan says: Steelers and Patriots get preferential officiating – that’s the end of it.

    Oh you mean like the Jesse James catch that determined home field throughout the playoffs? If I were a Bungle fan like you, I would just be happy that I don’t have to see Starvin Marvin Lewis makes excuses for the felonious likes of Burfict & PacMan anymore.

  64. We know what a catch is. relying on a bunch of old guys who never caught a pass on the playing field (or in the backyard) to define a catch, is the overarching problem.

    They make it complicated because they have to justify their existence. A reception, whether going to the ground after one step or 5 steps, is easily determined.What happens after a player hits the ground is immaterial,if he has caught the ball & covered several yards in the process. It’s a catch.Also, if the ball pierces the the goal line, like during a run …it’s a touchdown.

  65. The whole problem is the few billionaire whiners that want to change a rule every time their team loses and the commity of no balls changes them.
    Just look what happen to Nascar. The league office should run the show not the teams and owners.

  66. Oh my god. His left foot was off the ground after he showed final possession. Clear as day.

    My question is, why do the refs miss the call so much originally? If there isn’t clear possession and two feet down that you can see, it has to be incomplete.

    Stop the attempts to cheat my team constantly. Ugh.
    ________________________________________

    Substitute Gronk for Benjamin and there would be absolutely no outrage—and that’s the truth!

  67. One for the other thumb says:
    December 27, 2017 at 9:00 am
    They need to retroactively reverse that terrible call. The score was really 37-20. Give KB the stats.

    Actually for a call that bad we should give the bills the TD and the FG. From now on that score shall forever be 37-23.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    It’s WAY MORE bigger than that. At the time, they would have been up 4. The next drive they came up and kicked a field goal, which would have pushed the lead to 7. There is a major, moral/confidence boost that happens with that. After that, they were deflated and came out really flat for 2nd half. I am not saying they would have won, but the game would have been decidedly different.

  68. deneb1973 says:

    Time to breakout a collage of the overturned calls – the “Riveron follies” and rehire Pereira or even Dean Blandino. The problem is the man running the system – not the system itself.
    __________________________________________________________

    Really? I recall a ton of times people whining and moaning when Blandino was at the helm and he or his office were overturning officials on the field. No matter who has that job there will always be complaints and whining by fans.

  69. One of the big reasons for replay in the first place was Mike Renfro’s non-TD catch Pitt/Oilers 1979 AFCCG. Refs decided he didn’t get both feet down when the TV replay showed he absolutely did – if you’ve never seen it, look it up on You Tube, helluva catch.
    Now they’ve used replay to start taking away TDs like this; maybe the James TD I can understand, but I’ll never agree with this one.

    Sure they’re tough calls, but if they get the rules right in the first place, and have people properly trained to follow them, this kind of thing should never happen.

  70. It was the correct call by the rules. When the excuse is not that the call was incorrect, but rather it wasn’t a blatantly incorrect call initially, you are just going down a slippery slope. How long is someone allowed to bobble a ball until earlier steps no longer count? If a player touches the ball in bounds but gets full control of it 5 yards out of bounds, does that count as a catch? All you are doing is making arbitrary decisions.

    Easily enough, if the players had just held onto the ball there would be no issue. But I guess they forgot that was their job and want good effort rewards for their failures.

  71. I don’t know. Jets TD vs. the Patriots overturned. Steelers TD vs. the Patriots overturned. Buffalo TD vs. the Patriots overturned. Just sayin’.

  72. rgorr44 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 10:51 am
    If I were a Bills fan I’d whine more about my teams putrid second half performance.
    ———————————————————————–

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Today’s spot on winner.

  73. As someone who likes both teams, according to the NFL rules, Riveron got the call correct. Both of the receiver’s feet did not touch the ground AFTER he gained complete possession of the ball. Hence the touchdown call was reversed. In fairness to the on field officials, the boggle and foot coming down after the receiver gained control of the ball, was more difficult to see in real time, which is why they probably said what they did to TT and McDermott. Wonder if they would agree with Riveron after watching the replay. To use Instant Replay or NOT? That’s the main question. Either way one team and their fan base will not be pleased with the outcome.

  74. Alternatively, “Guy selling popcorn to Bills: ‘I don’t know’ why Kelvin Benjamin TD was overturned.”

  75. Well in order to keep everyone in the loop why not set up a video conference? Instead of the ref with a tablet let’s roll a conference room fitted Winnebago out there. Sure it would add some time but think of the promotional possibilities, they could splatter that thing with ads NASCAR style.

  76. “And replay ………… well it’s just plain flawed. Get rid of it.”

    I kind of agree about getting rid of replay, but we’ll never stop seeing the endless high def replays on tv, so the debates will rage on. At least we wouldn’t have all that dead air time, I can’t stand the automatic review of every scoring play.

    Pats fan, thought Benjamin’s catch should not have been overturned based on what I could see. Still think the Pats would win.

  77. Reffing is not easy. In my limited experience, I found it can be challenging to see and mentally process everything that happens on every play in real-time. Sometimes, I would make my best guess of what I thought happened, and that on a simpler sport than football. In the NFL, there are many factors to consider on differents plays (the dreaded what is a catch?). The beauty of the replay is that we have these gorgeous high resolution images stored with an incredible frame rate that makes slow motion look smooth and crystal clear. The technology will only get better moving forward.

    My objection to instant replay is that it can slow a game down, which is painful when the game or a drive is hanging in the balance. I am not a fan of expanding the number of times replay is used for this very reason. However, when it is used, the most important factor to me is they get the call right. Looking at a play from multiple angles in high resolution seems like a better determiner of the right call than relying on a ref who is looking at an extremely fast bang-bang play as it happens. I would be okay with the replay being the sole arbiter of deciding contested calls, but limiting the number of contested calls so game flow is good.

    It seems the league is already going this direction by interpreting the “clear and obvious” criterion to give themselves wide latitude in making replay decisions. I do object somewhat to this practice since it seems to go against the intent of the written rules. The league should adjust the rules, or their implementation of the rules, to match each other. This way fans know what to expect and will trust the rulings more.

  78. tylawspick6 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 9:11 am
    Oh my god. His left foot was off the ground after he showed final possession. Clear as day.

    My question is, why do the refs miss the call so much originally? If there isn’t clear possession and two feet down that you can see, it has to be incomplete.

    Stop the attempts to cheat my team constantly. Ugh.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Exactly. MDS says it was the wrong call so it is? No, wrong MDS. When the receiver gained possession of the ball his back foot was off the ground, therefore it was incomplete. AND because it was so fast, no human could make that call in realtime. That is EXACTLY what replay is for. So please stop the whining.

  79. The reason new england fans have major inferiority complexes is because the region of new England produces zero NFL talent. When is the last time you heard of a major college football coach ever went recruiting at podunk hayseed new england area high schools? That will make you laugh for days.

  80. p6one6 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 10:59 am

    It was the correct call by the rules. When the excuse is not that the call was incorrect, but rather it wasn’t a blatantly incorrect call initially, you are just going down a slippery slope. How long is someone allowed to bobble a ball until earlier steps no longer count? If a player touches the ball in bounds but gets full control of it 5 yards out of bounds, does that count as a catch? All you are doing is making arbitrary decisions.

    Easily enough, if the players had just held onto the ball there would be no issue. But I guess they forgot that was their job and want good effort rewards for their failures.
    —————————-

    The problem is that it is taking all of the excitement, spontaneity, and human element out of the game. Sometimes you just need to let the players play, and a couple of these calls to stand.

  81. The explanation is pretty simple. Benjamin does a great job dragging his back toe, aided by Gilmore accidentally kicking KB’s foot down. But the ball was not in complete control at that moment. After the drag, the foot comes back up and onto the opposite foot’s heel, EVER SO SLIGHTLY off the ground, and that was when control was established. Right call, but the rule needs tweaking. And I’d be inclined to say that the call is so close that you could have left the TD on the board on the strength of “inconclusive evidence.”

    But the idea that this is some league conspiracy to help the Patriots, who have famously been screwed by them in the Deflategate debacle, is preposterous. If there’s a team the league DOESN’T go out of its way to favor, its the Patriots. The league wants parity, ultimately, and the Pats mess that whole idea up by being consistently competitive at worst and dominant at best. I promise you no one at 345 Park Ave., full of former Jets employees no less, is trying to do the Pats any favors.

  82. You mean the video review official in NY doesn’t report directly to the back judge? wow

  83. The problem with replay is it encourages the refs to just call any boarderline pass a TD and then rely on replay to fix it if they get it wrong. In all likelihood, neither the Pittsburg or Buffalo “TD” would have been called a TD in the first place without the replay safety net for the officials. We need some way to prevent the officials on the field from taking the lazy/safe way out, passing the buck to someone else, and then whining about it afterwards.

  84. Ralphie says:
    December 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Really? I recall a ton of times people whining and moaning when Blandino was at the helm and he or his office were overturning officials on the field.
    ————————-

    Exactly. Blandino was also the genius that came up with this hairbrained system.

  85. The catch rules really blow but they are what they are….NO FAULT OF THE PATRIOTS, it CLEARLY states a receiver must maintain possession thruout the ENTIRE process of the catch when going to the ground…. THAT DID NOT HAPPEN IN EITHER CASE vs the Steelers or Bills…

    replay (along with HD) Are tools the NFL uses to get incorrect on field calls corrected…. NO FAULT OF THE PATRIOTS…. replay SHOWS that both feet were down BUT he was juggling the ball at that time & when it was secured , only 1 foot was down….the ref was out of position to accurately see that….. SAME THING happened to Kevin Falk VS colts where he had first down but juggled the ball a bit so refs didn’t give him his original forward progress that led to a change of possession & loss for Pats…. this big controversy happened at the end of the 1st half!!!& they STILL GOT 3 points!!!!
    Get over it people…..yes the big bad Pats are STILL GREAT & KEEP WINNING & have been great since Brady & BB JOINED FORCES…..& guess what, the Pats will KEEP ON WINNING WHILE THOSE 2 STAY TOGETHER!!!
    #FACT
    I understand the crying about the calls as the Patriots is the team so many love to hate because they just keep winning no matter what the LEAGUE does to try & stop them….SERIOUSLY, deflategate was the biggest FARCE that the NFL & MEDIA EVER CREATED….

  86. It was “incomplete” because Riveron is either the world’s biggest Patriots fans or they’re paying him off. One of the two. He needs to be removed as head of officiating. His bias towards the Pats is both glaringly obvious & disgusting.

  87. mmack66 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 11:28 am

    The problem is that it is taking all of the excitement, spontaneity, and human element out of the game. Sometimes you just need to let the players play, and a couple of these calls to stand.
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    Really? Which incorrect calls should the league let stand?

  88. Jets “TD”: Butler clearly dislodged ball before S-J broke plane of goal line. S-J clearly regains control of ball after crossing plane of goal and his back is on out of bounds boarder of endzone. Clear cut visual evidence of a touchback.

    Steelers “TD”: James is clearly going to the ground as he secures possession. He then twists and breaks the plane of the goal line with possession. James then lands and losses control of the ball and it clearly touches the ground. Clear cut visual evidence that james did not survive the ground and the pass is incomplete.

    Buffalo “TD”: Benjamin plants right foot and drags left foot which then lifts off the turf as ball arrives. Benjamin uses one hand to snare the ball and pull it toward his body where the second hand secures the ball against his body after the left foot has lifted off the turf. Clear cut visual evidence that Benjamin did not have both feet down and the ball is secured and the pass is incomplete.

    Patriots TD: Cooks catches ball, secures it against his body and he gets both feet in bounds while he is falling to the ground. Cooks has the ball secured against body as he falls out of bounds. The ball hits the ground but Cooks never loses control of the ball. Clear cut visual evidence of a completed catch in the endzone-Touchdown.

    These were all extremely close calls that went the Patriots way. They were also clear cut.

  89. It’s WAY MORE bigger than that. At the time, they would have been up 4. The next drive they came up and kicked a field goal, which would have pushed the lead to 7. There is a major, moral/confidence boost that happens with that. After that, they were deflated and came out really flat for 2nd half. I am not saying they would have won, but the game would have been decidedly different.
    ______

    Yes, because the Pats have never rallied from 7 points ever before……
    How about this, the teams are still tied at halftime. If the Bills cannot get up and play for the second half, then they are just weak mentally. Sorry, its true. They QUIT in the second half. Poor babies. Got their butts kicked. If they are that fragile mentally that all the momentum was taken away because of this, then they don’t belong in the playoffs.

  90. I have no issue with competent NY office NFL employees making these decisions. Unlike the on field situation, they are always in comfortable surroundings with state of the art equipment an they are not 50-65 year old men running to the sideline to look into screens that at times are compromised from weather conditions.

    Please note the use of the term “competent”, as it is as clear as the nose on my face that the system has badly broken down this year as the replay czar–Al Riveron–is simply a horrible choice to handle the responsibility. Whatever has qualified him to be the replay responsibility is an explanation that is owed to every fan–his decisions simply defy what the evidence shows. This Buffalo touchdown removal is the only example that needs to be related regarding the preceding comment, but the discussion should also highlight the td removed when the Chicago tight end blew out his knee against New Orleans earlier this season.

    There are a dozen other examples from 2017 that could easily relate to this discussion, that is way too high a number. NFL has given the public the middle finger by putting this clown in the position of being the NFL replay czar. Blandino was not perfect, still when he related his decisions he commanded due respect–still does on the tv. Why has NFL put such a clearly incompetent individual in that seat?

  91. I kind of agree about getting rid of replay

    ______

    Did you watch football BEFORE instant replay? If you did, don’t you remember every single time there was a bad call on the field it was shown on TV as being a bad call and EVERYONE was screaming for the league to get it right and add IR. “We have the technology, why not use it to get the calls right”

    It would be worse if you got rid of it.

  92. I don’t know. Jets TD vs. the Patriots overturned. Steelers TD vs. the Patriots overturned. Buffalo TD vs. the Patriots overturned. Just sayin’.

    ____

    Yup, truly a shame when they get the calls right. They should just make incorrect calls so that all the Patriots haters are happy…..sour grapes

  93. Riveron’s rules – Dont let the truth ( ie a catch) get in the way of a real good story.

    Time for the NFL to institute a new rule – if 14 drunk people in a bar think it is a catch then it is a catch.

  94. The bottom line was when the ball was finally secured his left foot was not in contact with the ground. That’s it.

    It took them 3 minutes to come to this conclusion. If it takes more than 60 seconds then you need to stay with the call on the field.

  95. Even as a Pats fan, I admit Kelvin got jobbed. There was not nearly enough evidence to overturn that call. I was taking a pee break during what I assumed would be a commercial, and was flabbergasted to come out of the bathroom to see the call being overturned. Yikes.

    I still think the Pats would have smoked Buffalo either way, but that was a TD all the way.

  96. Would it have been that hard just to give the bills the TD anyways instead if jobbing them. The pats would have won anyways.

  97. part of the problem with having replay, in my opinion, is that if the officials are on the fence about the initial call, they can call it a touchdown and let replay decide. if they call it incomplete, then the coach has to challenge it.

    in this particular case, the official in view on the TV (when the play was live) did not signal TD immediately, he was looking at another official while pointing to the ground. There’s no way either official could see, at the point Benjamin stopped bobbling the ball, if both feet were down. you’re either looking at his hands or your looking at his feet. so together they judged that he made the catch and had both feet down and it was automatically reviewed.

    I wonder how many of these controversial calls get called a TD from the start if there was no replay option.

  98. How about a new rules where teams can play under protest, like baseball? Although rarely granted, if MLB agrees a call is incorrect, they can order the game be replayed from the beginning or at the point where the called occurred.

  99. why? because cheater Kraft & the Patriots obviously have paid off the league. Also, no one in the league wants to see a small market like Buffalo in the playoffs, even though we have the best fans in the league by far.

    Yup…those fans who have now thrown a “personal satisfaction device” on the field tw o years in a row…Yup, those are by far the best fans in the NFL…no question

  100. As a Bills fan this is just ridiculous. Instead of focusing on the 3 POINTS that the offense managed to muster up in the second half against a division opponent, we are all still sitting here listening to the incessant whining from ownership,coaches and players. While I do agree this is normally a touchdown the fact is its a moot point. This team still lost with or without the touchdown and never had a chance in the second half. Ownership needs to be more harsh on this team and the offense specifically.At the end of the day, if this team were good enough to beat or even be in the same conversation as the Pats, then they would be

  101. The fix is in. Big money exchanging hands on big bets. Pittsburg mugs Seatle receivers in Super Bowl. Made for a nice story with the Bus retiring on top. Vikings jobbed in New Orleans makes for a great story after Katrina, Buffalo screwed when the game was still in doubt. Boston is a bigger market than Pittsburg so Jessie James doesn’t get the call. the NFL has a huge trust/integrity problem.

  102. As a Bills fan, New England is a very good team and they have had a lock on the AFC East for a long time, it’s nice to see the rest of the division playing better now that Rex is gone, (he can gladly go back to the jets or move to Miami lol) Now if we can just get the league office to stop sucking up to New England over the Brady suspension, we would be all set.

  103. Patsy fans are the worst.

    THE LEAGUE DOES NOT HATE THE PATRIOTS!!

    You donkeys have bought into the same rhetoric that William most likely spews before they take the field. That’s cool, whatever gets the boys ready to play.

    The league (Roger) destroyed evidence for you.

    The patsies get the benefit of the call, much more often than not.

    Two weeks in a row where TD’s were taken off the board vs the patsies on reviews that were questionable, at best.

    Looking forward to the day when the patsies are routinely getting beat by Mia, Buf and NYJ.

  104. The deep judge is all the officials on the field? It’s probably his call they are overturning. Was the guy in the white hat asked?

  105. @genehall: Exactly.

    There was no way the league was going to allow the RAIDERS to beat the patriots in New England after 9/11.

    Cue the Tucking worst call ever.

    How long did it take them to make that call?

    6 minutes? 8 minutes?

    The fix was in and it has been ever since.

    This is a statement of fact and is not open for interpretation by snow shovelers or Tommy lovers.

  106. Would it have been that hard just to give the bills the TD anyways instead if jobbing them. The pats would have won anyways.
    ———

    Let’s just give them a participation trophy or better yet spot them 10 points whenever they play the Pats

    Kelvin Bobbleman should concentrate on catching the ball with hands and maybe next time he will score an actual TD

  107. Patriots likely would have still won the game, but if the TD counted it would have been 17-13 Bills at halftime with Buffalo getting the ball. Could have completely changed the game for all you know. You are making it way too simple.——
    ————-
    And this is what is being lost with Pat fans who keep bringing up the final score. If that TD stood and the Bills scored coming out of the first half it would have been 24-13 and taken NE out of their comfort zone. If the score is close it’s only a matter of time before Brady carves out a game changing drive. 24-13 forces NE to press and maybe make a mistake taking chances they wouldn’t take other wise. It would also take their run game out of the equation because time would be running short and make their O one dimensional. But please, let’s just look at the final, not how it went down.

  108. damngumbie says:
    December 27, 2017 at 11:32 am
    The problem with replay is it encourages the refs to just call any boarderline pass a TD and then rely on replay to fix it if they get it wrong. In all likelihood, neither the Pittsburg or Buffalo “TD” would have been called a TD in the first place without the replay safety net for the officials. We need some way to prevent the officials on the field from taking the lazy/safe way out, passing the buck to someone else, and then whining about it afterwards.

    They are actually instructed to rule it a TD so it will get reviewed. The idea is to get the call right. If we are going to complain about how long it takes to get it right or how they shouldnt need split screens and all that to get it right then just do away with it altogether. There will be whining either way though.

    The Benjamin call I’ll be honest and say that after about 4 minutes I went to take a leak, was surprised to see they took it away but I still havent looked at all the split screen super duper slo mo stuff (because the game was won by 3TDs) but all the other over turns in Pats games there really shouldnt be any complaining about never mind the conspiracy theories. Finish the catch…It cannot be made any simpler than that…You start ruling those TDs and where do you draw the line? Finish. The. Catch. It’s you’re main job after all…

  109. con·clu·sive
    kənˈklo͞osiv,kənˈklo͞oziv/Submit
    adjective
    (of evidence or argument) serving to prove a case; decisive or convincing.

    Steelers game.. the ball moved but nobody can say they conclusively saw the ball hit the ground. Overturning what you can’t see is ruining the game and showing no respect for the ref’s who are a few feet from the play.

    Buffalo game…Man catches a very tough throw. Refs say feet were down and control maintained. Replay does not show otherwise. Overturning what you can’t see is ruining the game and showing no respect for the ref’s who are a few feet from the play.

    Common denominator,both calls favor New England. NFL needs to quit worrying about whether or not gambling in other places outside of Las Vegas is detrimental to the game and start worrying about calls getting overturned that do not have clear visual evidence.

  110. And this is what is being lost with Pat fans who keep bringing up the final score. If that TD stood and the Bills scored coming out of the first half it would have been 24-13 and taken NE out of their comfort zone.

    Comfort Zone? That’s what were talking about?
    Stop focusing on one play. There were dozens of other plays that made/not made affected the outcome. You have no clue what would have happened if that score had been wrongly upheld. Maybe that lights a bigger fire under NE and they win 45-23. Steelers have won plenty of games on skectchy calls/no calls.

  111. mullman76 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm
    @genehall: Exactly.

    There was no way the league was going to allow the RAIDERS to beat the patriots in New England after 9/11.

    Great, now if you can confirm that the moon landing never happened and tell us who shot JFK we can finish up our class on Conspiracy Theories.

    You used to make sense even while spewing hate. Now you’re just rambling.

  112. People are so irate about this call because they don’t think there was enough evidence to overturn it. But, everyone had to admit it was a close call. If it was called no catch on the field the call would have stood. So, it’s about a really close call that could have went either way that cost the bills 4 points. They lost by 21. They missed a FG and missed a fourth down conversion where they should have kicked a FG. The Bills made bad decisions and lost. One perceived bad call is the least of their problems.

  113. It’s really getting old the constant harping on Goodell for every problem the NFL faces.

    In this case, it’s Riveron, and I agree that they should bring back Blandino or Pereira. Perhaps immediately in time for the tournament.

  114. nestrongsafety says:
    December 27, 2017 at 8:56 am
    I’m a Pats fan but I am also not blinded by my loyalty to New England. Kelvin Benjamin was robbed of an amazing catch and touchdown!

    —————

    No he wasn’t. Should they have let it stand? Maybe. Was it definitely a TD, no.

  115. Comfort Zone? That’s what were talking about?
    Stop focusing on one play. There were dozens of other plays that made/not made affected the outcome. You have no clue what would have happened if that score had been wrongly upheld. Maybe that lights a bigger fire under NE and they win 45-23.
    —————–
    Where was that “fire” you speak of when they trailed Miami 20-10 in the 3rd quarter 3 weeks ago? The NFL did not want a replay of that game. Bigger fire? LOL! No way the NFL or Riveron in particular was going to entertain the thought of NE losing home field advantage.

  116. Great point in an earlier article that perhaps if the pats had not gotten the three calls – jets, steelers, bills – and the one for – cooks earlier in the year they may have 2 or 3 fewer wins. With Brady and the head coach they;re good enough on their own. They don’t need help.

    Any chance Riveron is trying to even out the deflate gate thing?

  117. The solution is to immediately terminate the River Moron who is reversing or screwing up these calls.

    The rules aren’t that bad.

    But the one making decisions is just a few grapes short of a cluster.

  118. Only delusional Pats fans think it should have been overruled. Did you use an index card to measure if his foot was off the ground?
    _______________________________

    Wow I didn’t know Tony Romo was a Pat’s fan!

    I didn’t see the game but when I read about the controversy I watched the video on the NFL app. Romo pointed out right away that it was not a catch, that he was bobbling the ball, and did not gain possession with both feet in bounds.

    After watching the video I really can not understand the controversy. Or maybe I can.

  119. The fact that anybody in their right mind actually believes the same league that spent over 12 million dollars in a witch hunt to crucify Tom Brady without any direct hard evidence is now doing everything in their power to help he and his team… is just fascinating to me.

  120. Nobody talks about the fact that refs are now encouraged to call any close play a TD and let replay get it right.

  121. You rarely get to lose to the Patriots straight up.

    Brady is amazing, no doubt, but the help he and Belichick get throughout a game is sometimes too much to overcome.

    Enough already, Buffalo got hosed and the Steelers too. Now the AFC goes through New England largely on the back of 2 incredible decisions by Riveron.

  122. No he wasn’t. Should they have let it stand? Maybe. Was it definitely a TD, no

    Good point. But we can’t say it was def not a td either, meaning the call should have stayed. Doesn’t change the outcome but it scares me as a football fan that these calls are so inconsistent

  123. mullman76 says:
    December 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Patsy fans are the worst.

    THE LEAGUE DOES NOT HATE THE PATRIOTS!!
    ———————–

    Of course they do. You don’t make up lies, fabricate evidence against a team, and make a federal case out of the most insignificant thing ever in the history of organized sports, if you love them.

  124. Because New York said it wasn’t a catch. What does that dumb ref know who made the call on the field?

  125. I love the catch rule as is. Love to here all the cry and complaining on Mondays. Change it and you will have more problems.

  126. To those that think the NFL is fixed to favor teams with large TV markets, consider the following market size rankings of the most recent Super Bowl champs:

    New England (7th), Denver (17th), Seattle (14th), Baltimore (26th), and Pittsburgh (23rd)

    The top 6 TV markets (New York, LA, Chicago, Philly, Houston, SF/Bay Area) have a grand total of just TWO SB wins in the last 25 years, both going to Giants.

    Either the NFL isn’t getting their money’s worth from the “fixers”, or the whole conspiracy theory is pure B.S. Which is it?

    And BTW, Cleveland’s TV market ranks in middle of the pack.

  127. Let us all remember Edelman’s fake miracle catch in superbowl. Tell me that was more of a clear catch. “The replay shows that Julian’s nose hairs were visable on replay indicating control” . Bad calls hapoen in every game every week. That one call didnt lose the game. The PATs getting away with holding on every play offensively did.

  128. If he had caught it cleanly it would have been a TD. Like it on not this is where we are with replay. Catches are overturned every week because the ball “moves” while the receiver is going to ground out of bounds.

  129. You know who has no part whatsoever in the replay process?
    The deep judge (normally known as the “Back Judge”)

  130. Huge Pats fan because of Brady having played for Michigan, but CLEARLY this idiot suit in NYC overturning that Benjamin TD screwed the Bills big time. The receiver had the ball in his possession, and got both feet down by dragging his toe IN BOUNDS. If God-dell doesn’t fire the clown in charge of replay decisions then we know there is NO credibility in the NFL NY offices. Just so sickening the way this League is incorrectly using replays. STOP already! You’re taking away the enjoyment of the game with this guy playing God in NY on this horrible decisions. Ridiculous! Fire this guy NOW!!!

  131. All of you do a search for “nfl operations completing a catch”

    The problem with this isn’t the rule, it’s that people don’t know the rule. If you keep whining about this all you’re going to do is put these calls back in the hands of these terrible officials, the same ones who week in and week out can’t get offensive holding right, let alone detect a catch or not.

    Also, all of you know the only reason anyone cares about this is because it benefited the Patriots. If these calls had gone against the Pats instead of helping them the day the catch rule came into existence would be a national holiday. Guys would want to buy the catch rule a drink whenever it came in to a bar and ladies would want to hook up with it.

    Also I love the “NFL is helping the Pats win” theory. I totally believe this theory. I TOTALLY believe the same NFL that smeared the Patriots for not one, but TWO BS scandals; the same NFL that stole 3 draft picks from the Patriots in the last 10 years including 2 first rounders, the same NFL that spent MILLIONS of dollars to hire a PR firm to smear the greatest player of all time, the same NFL that suspended said greatest player of all time for 4 games forever tainting his legacy because a bunch of whiny owners who are sick of getting their crappy teams backsides handed to them by the Patriots every year and don’t understand 7th grade science, I’m totally sure that NFL is now helping the Patriots win.

    All of you need to give your heads a shake.

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