Expedited replay process fails to spot Eagles incompletion on key fourth down


The opening-drive touchdown in the NFC Championship ultimately was salvaged by a great throw and catch that ultimately wasn’t. Or at least shouldn’t have been.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts rolled to his left on fourth and three from the 49ers’ 35. He threw the ball deep along the sideline to receiver DeVonta Smith, who made a great one-handed catch.

Replays eventually served up by Fox (after the ensuing touchdown and extra point and commercial) showed that the ball clearly and obviously came out when Smith went down. It was, without question, an incomplete pass.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t challenge, presumably because no one on his staff saw the replay. The teams have two devices available to help them, beyond whatever the players on the field happened to notice: (1) the replays made available by the network televising the game; and (2) whatever the home team chooses to show on the in-house video board.

But the replay assistant and/or 345 Park Avenue — which has immediate access to all angles — could have/should have seen the key shot and stopped the action. And the expedited replay review process includes catch/no-catch within the group of plays that can be changed without a full-blown replay review.

Whatever the explanation, and there absolutely should be a request made for a pool report after the game, the system failed to fix a key moment that resulted in a touchdown for the Eagles when it should have been a first down for the 49ers on their own 35.

24 responses to “Expedited replay process fails to spot Eagles incompletion on key fourth down

  1. It was obvious from Smith’s reaction when he got up that it was worth a challenge for Shanahan given the stakes. All he would have lost was a challenge and a first half TO. And with expedited replay, challenges aren’t worth as much anyway.

  2. Officials deciding the outcome of the game and a QB injury in the first few minutes. Lousy way to start this game.

  3. I had long refused to buy into the chatter that the NFL is “rigged “, with the folks in New York calling the shots.
    Instead I’m going to take a bite from a different apple.
    The referees in the NFL and the NBA are all independently in the back pockets of gamblers.
    It’s not the league office pulling strings…the refs are independently corrupt. They’re doing their own thing.

  4. The best refs in the world can’t get every call right without video assistance. But, even though Smith bobbled the ball, I still don’t think it ever hit the ground.

  5. Just ridiculous. Shameful. And the yard markers broken again?? Digital age and this is what we get? After ten minutes debating a punt hitting a wire and nothing on the non catch. Dubious at best.

  6. The NFL officiating is starting to make the NFL nearly unwatchable……..and at the same time, the NFL being in bed with gambling is a really bad look. Officials push games in directions all of the time. That 2nd Eagles TD drive is a good example……things that could get called on most plays just start getting called……and it swings the game. This is why you should NEVER gamble on major sports…..the house always wins “somehow”.

  7. SF fans blaming the refs are rich. They’ve made a living this season off of bad calls.

    Maybe your coach shouldn’t have thought he’d try a 2 minute drill with the 4th string QB from their own 20?

    Shanahan again chokes.





  8. The NFL could screw up a wet dream. What’s the use of having the Eye in the Sky to review when the on field officials let the next play get snapped. Where’s the buzzer ? The booth buzzers the Referee to stop play. And they wonder why fans get pizzed off.

  9. I get it.

    Niner fans may have the least football knowledge in the NFL.

    It’s why their front office handed out instructions to their fans, telling them when to be loud and when to be quiet.

    Now their fans blame the NFL for a missed call.

    Guess what that red flag Shanahan has in his pocket is for?


    He could have challenged that like Philly challenged the incompletion call when Joe / Bart / Tom Purdy got hurt.

    Blame your coach who is more worried about being deemed a genius than he is about winning.

  10. Smith knew he didn’t catch it but pretended that he did. Does that make him and the Eagles cheaters?

  11. @ Tony Awesome, It doesn’t matter how many people get pizzed off or how pizzed off they get, NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE UNTIL THEY STOP WATCHING/ATTENDING GAMES, NOTHING!

    Why should the NFL change anything, they’re still getting people’s money?

    Until that changes nothing will change!

  12. Vince McMahon should take notes. Kayfabe is dead in wrestling but alive and well in the NFL.

  13. And another rotten call – roughing the kicker on SF when he was clearly pushed into the Philly punter by the Philly lineman.

    Disastrous officiating extending drives and deciding the game. This whole game feels like a scam.

  14. It really seems like every major NCAA football game would have been automatically stopped to review that play. It shouldn’t always require a challenge, especially a high stakes game like this.

  15. It’s no excuse for the terrible officiating but San Fran was done as soon as Purdy got hurt!

  16. To the iggles fanboi saying that Shanahan should have thrown the challenge flag, you’re forgetting that they didn’t put a replay up on the jumbo screen at all and Fox didn’t show a replay from a different angle until two plays later. How convenient for the iggles, just like everything else in this game where the refs were concerned. NFL is corrupt. This is no different than the NFC championship game with the Rams and Saints in 2019.

  17. kevpft says:
    January 29, 2023 at 5:24 pm
    And another rotten call – roughing the kicker on SF when he was clearly pushed into the Philly punter by the Philly lineman.

    Disastrous officiating extending drives and deciding the game. This whole game feels like a scam.

    Go to bed.

    You lost.

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