Riveron comfortable with call on Jets' non-touchdown

NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron made the controversial decision to overturn a would-be New York Jets touchdown in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Riveron reviewed the play and is comfortable with the decision to overturn the ruling on the field.

With 8:31 to go in the fourth quarter and the Jets trailing 24-14, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught a short pass in the flat, headed upfield, and dove for the end zone pylon. The call on the field was a touchdown. Upon review, it was determined Seferian-Jenkins bobbled the ball prior to breaching the goal line and fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone resulting in a touchback.

Later Monday morning, Riveron explained the ruling during a conference call with reporters.

"The last time we had control was by an offensive player, somewhere around the 1 1/2 or the 2 [yard line], never regains control of the football while contacting inbounds. So in that sense, by rule, we have a touchback," Riveron said. "We might not agree with the rule, we might have situations where we disagree with the rule, but that is the rule. So the rule was enforced correctly."

Speaking with pool reporter Bob Glauber after the game, referee Tony Corrente walked through what he saw on the play.

"The final shot that we saw was from the end zone that showed the New York Jets' runner, we'll call him a runner at that point, with the football starting to go toward the ground. He lost the ball," Corrente said. "It came out of his control as he was almost to the ground. Now he re-grasps the ball and by rule, now he has to complete the process of a recovery which means he has to survive the ground again. So in recovering it, he recovered, hit the knee, started to roll and the ball came out a second time. So the ball started to move in his hands this way... he's now out of bounds in the end zone, which now created a touchback. So he didn't survive the recovery and didn't survive the ground during the recovery is what happened here."

Corrente said the ruling didn't have to do with the catch and was overturned due to ASJ losing control of the ball before reaching the end zone. Riveron and Corrente determined the tight end didn't regain full control of the ball before it went out of bounds.

"Had the ball not come loose and he had crossed the goal line and he had possession and started to roll on his back, that would have been the touchdown," Corrente said. "But because he lost the ball on his way to the ground the first time and had to re-grasp, that means now it's a loose ball. He has to have control and survive the ground in the process of the recovery or, as we say, the process of the catch. So that's what that was about."

The decision to overturn the call won't sit well with the Jets or their fans, but Riveron is comfortable that his team made the correct decision.

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