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NFL: Trindon Holliday TD for Denver Broncos a mistake

The NFL has admitted errors in two high-profile controversies from Week 10 action. Let's start with the punt return touchdown by the Denver BroncosTrindon Holliday.


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We noted Sunday after the Broncos' 36-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers that it looked like the play should have been called a touchback on review because of Holliday's premature celebration. It was never reviewed. The NFL agreed in a released statement:

"Because the video showed that Holliday lost possession of the ball before it broke the plane of the goal line, Boylston should have stopped the game to initiate an instant replay review," the league said in a statement.

"Had that occurred, (referee Alberto) Riveron would have had the indisputable visual evidence necessary to overturn the on-field ruling.

"The result of the play should have been a touchback -- not a touchdown -- with Carolina gaining possession at the 20 yard-line."

That's simple enough. In this day of social media and endlessly available highlights, the NFL has laudably decided to be transparent. The Broncos won in a blowout, which lessens the outrage in Carolina. 

The other issue occurred in the 49ers-Rams game where more than one minute of game action was lost while the officials brought out the chains to measure a potential first down. The NFL blamed the clock operator, not the officials.

"(Line judge Ron) Marinucci -- who as the line judge is by rule responsible for the timing of the game -- spoke directly to the clock operator from the sideline phone and was told that there was no issue with the game clock.

"He relayed this information to (referee Clete) Blakeman who then announced 'the game clock is correct. Fourth and short.' Blakeman blew his whistle and signaled for the game clock -- still at 12:13 -- to start. The next snap occurred with 12:02 remaining in the second quarter.

"No member of the officiating crew recognized that the clock was incorrectly started by the clock operator during the measurement. Once the next snap occurs, there is no mechanism to adjust the clock. Matters of timing are not reviewable by instant replay.

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"The clock operator is employed by the Officiating Department at the league office. The clock procedures will be carefully reviewed this week with all game officials and clock operators to avoid further clock mistakes."

We can't remember a similar clock error in the past, so it's hard to see this as some sort of growing problem. It's interesting to see the clocker operator thrown so publicly under the bus.

We're just happy these mistakes didn't happen when the replacement referees were in place or there may have been riots outside the NFL offices on Monday.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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