Referee Tony Corrente blamed the league office for not reviewing Rob Gronkowski‘s catch late in the first half. With the half inside the final two minutes, the onus was on the NFL to initiate a review from New York.
Corrente said the league office did that, but the Patriots already had snapped the ball. That made the catch too late to review.
“It is [up to the league office in] New York,” Corrente said in a pool report, “and the situation was that New York did get back to us. However, unfortunately, they didn’t get to the game officials on the field until after the [next] play had already started.”
CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Tony Romo were critical of Texans coach Bill O’Brien for not calling a timeout before Tom Brady and the Patriots rushed to the line to snap the ball. But O’Brien said it’s not his job to call a timeout in that situation.
Officials would have penalized the Texans if O’Brien had thrown his challenge flag since only 42 seconds remained in the half. The Patriots scored a touchdown five plays later and ended up winning 27-20.
Gronkowski’s nifty grab for a 28-yard gain was ruled a catch on the field, though it appeared the ball touched the ground before he completed the catch. Either way, the league office should have seen in real time it was close enough for a review and buzzed Corrente immediately.
Instead, no one will ever know what NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron would have ruled. Or how the game might have changed.