With just over four minutes remaining in the contest, Super Bowl MVP Von Miller came screaming around the edge, knocked the ball out of Cam Newton's hands. A scramble for the ball ensued. While most of the attention since has been on whether Newton should have dove on the ball, few were watching Miller scoop it backwards.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com noted Miller's bat of the ball and spoke to the linebacker about it over the phone on Friday.
"I was being held for a minute," Miller told King. "So I couldn't get to the ball right away. I thought Cam was going to jump on it, but I guess, I mean, he didn't want to dive down there on it. I couldn't fall on it, so I was just trying to, I don't know, get it to one of our guys."
NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino explained after a controversial ending to a game between the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks earlier in the season that a batted ball by the defense should be flagged as a penalty.
Miller's comment makes it seem like he did intentionally swat the ball backwards. The linebacker's move in real time during the Super Bowl was so swift it didn't appear as a bat, but rather a player trying to corral an oblong pigskin, which is likely the reason no flag was thrown.
If the NFL decides to expand instant replay in the offseason, batted balls could be one play that becomes reviewable in the future. We'll never know if the rule could have changed the outcome of Super Bowl 50.