The NFL released a lengthy statement on the Hail Mary conclusion to the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks game, won by the Seahawks in controversial fashion Monday night. We recommend reading it in full and coming back here.
The NFL said a lot in the Tuesday statement and left a lot out. Here's what we took away:
The game should have ended on a Golden Tate pass interference penalty
This is a key admission. It's even a little surprising. It shouldn't be lost in the explanation of the simultaneous catch explanation. It was a judgment call and is not reviewable. Packers fans probably wanted to admit some wrongdoing. They got it here. The explanation of the simultaneous catch was a little more nuanced.
The final play was reviewable
"In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable," the statement reads. "That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone."
There was a lot of confusion on this topic Monday night. Once the officials on the field determined that both Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate and Packers safety M.D. Jennings had possession of the ball, the replay official could have overturned it.
"Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review."
We're surprised by this but not entirely shocked. We've seen a lot less "indisputable" calls overturned.
The statement does not overtly say the officials were incorrect in determining simultaneous possession
The statement goes out of its way to say that Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference. It does not say that officials were in error by ruling Tate and Jennings came down together with the ball. It also does not say it was the correct call. There was not indisputable evidence to overturn the call, according to the league.
Reading between the lines, the league seems to be indicating the officials might have made an error in judgment, but the judgment wasn't grievous enough to be overturned.
Goodell did not have authority to change game
In an email to Around the League's Marc Sessler, league spokesman Greg Aiello stressed that Roger Goodell, "does not have authority to change the outcome of a game when it concerns judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials."
There were errors Monday night. There will be reaction to the play for years. The league now has spoken on the matter, but the only way to quiet down the controversy will be a resolution to the standoff with the regular NFL officials.