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NFL contradicts itself in calling Steelers' overturned touchdown vs. Patriots incomplete

Matt Rosenberg
| Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, 8:00 a.m.

Perhaps there's no better indication that a rule change should be enacted than an explanation that fundamentally contradicts itself.

In explaining why Jesse James did not score the touchdown that he — and just about everyone watching Sunday's Steelers-Patriots game that saw the Steelers ultimately lose 27-24 — thought he scored, NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron, in summation, explained that Roethlisberger's completed pass was incomplete.

Huh?

Try to keep up with this — or watch the video above if you're interested in inducing a headache.

We know the call on the field, originally a touchdown, was overturned, and the pass was ruled incomplete.

But here's how Riveron opens his explanation 12 seconds into his video.

"As we can see here, Roethlisberger completes a pass to James, and James is going to the ground as he reaches the goal line."

That's right, Al. That's what we all thought. That Roethlisberger completed a pass to James. So would you mind continuing with your instantly contradictory explanation that undoubtedly will cause only more confusion to the already-indeterminable "What's a catch?" problem in the NFL?

Steelers tight end Jesse James catches a pass before crossing the goal line ­on a play that was ultimately ruled an incomplete pass late in the fourth quarter against the Patriots on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field. AP photo

"By rule, to complete the process of the catch..."

You already said it was complete.

"... He must survive the ground."

He already fell to the ground with control.

“... And by that we mean he must maintain control of the football."

He did, which is why he was able to lunge for the goal line.

Go on, Al.

"As we see here, he does put the ball over the goal line extended."

So ... touchdown, right? You're making a good case for it.

"Once he gets there, he loses control of the football, and then the ball hits the ground — we can see here the ball touches the ground."

Sure, but he crossed the plane of the goal line, so no problem, right?

Sum it up for us, Al. Obviously this should've gone the Steelers' way.

"So therefore two things occur."

Right. A completed pass and crossing the goal line. Touchdown, yes?

"He loses control of the football, and the ball touches the ground prior to him regaining control. "Therefore the ruling on the field of a touchdown was changed to an incomplete pass."

So since the would-be touchdown was overturned, there obviously was conclusive evidence that James' hand was not underneath the ball, as the NFL sees it.

Despite one of its senior officials contradicting himself by calling it a completed pass to open his explanation.

Honest mistake or cluelessness? Your call.

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