NFL admits Mistake in Seahawks/Packers Game: Ruling Stands!

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The NFL has released a statement regarding the final play of the Seattle Seahawks' victory over the Green Bay Packers in which the league endorses the actions made by the replacement officials and the replay review after the ruling of touchdown on Golden Tate's catch Monday night.
The key word being "after." As for the before, the wording is kind of fuzzy. 

In the statement, the NFL says the officials ruled on the field it was a touchdown and not an interception by Packers safety M.D.
Jennings, though as anyone who watched the play knows by now, that was one of two rulings on the play. The other one was an interception. No conference between the officials was held to get a consensus final ruling announced by referee Wayne Elliot.

The statement admits the ruling of a catch should've been nullified because of the pass interference penalty that was missed when Tate shoved Packers defensive back Sam Shields in the back before leaping. 

"This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference," the statement says, "which would have ended the game"
in a victory for the Packers. 

But we didn't need the league to tell us that. So back to the ruling of a catch.

The NFL says the replay officials were able to review whether it was simultaneous possession. This is reviewable only in the end zone and not anywhere between the goal lines. The NFL says it "supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review." 

Again, what about the other on-field ruling of an interception? Why did one official's call outweigh another's? 

The league's statement seems to side with the call of a touchdown by pointing to a few rules, including:

  • Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, in which the player catching the pass (whether offensive or defensive) maintains possession as he "touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands"
  • Item 1 of the same article, which states the player "must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone"
  • And Item 5 of the same rule that states, "If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers"

However, Item 5 also includes a sentence that would seem damning to the argument it was a touchdown and support the case for an interception: "It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control."
Replays clearly seems to show Jennings had the ball in both hands and Tate then gained simultaneous possession.
In any event, the NFL has reiterated what league spokesman Greg Aiello indicated earlier Tuesday morning: "The result of the game is final."

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