There is no doubt the NFL has gone totally “Hi-tech” with its HD replay system in an attempt to get calls right. And, at the outset of this, they do get the call correct with replay the vast majority of the time.
However, the “checks and balances” system they have set up and the policies in place to help the teams understand why a call should or shouldn’t be overturned, does have disconnects and they don’t follow it all the time.
And, when it involves a crucial play like in the late stages Sunday in Jacksonville, as it looked like the Jaguars had returned a fumble for a TD in the final two minutes to take a 23-17 lead over the Chargers, the policies mean everything.
As we laid out earlier Monday, the closing minutes of regulation was essentially “Keystone Kops” of turnovers, penalties, and mayhem, as the Jaguars eventually, tied the game in the final seconds of regulation with a field goal. Then they won it OT with Josh Lambo’s deflected 30 yard game winner barely getting over the cross bar.
But before it got to that, there was the fumble/fumble return by Tashaun Gipson that was called a touchdown on the field and then after a lengthy replay review was overturned.
It happened with 1:43 remaining when Austin Ekeler was stripped by Malik Harrison (above) and with the ball loose on the ground, Gipson went to a knee, scooped it up, stood up and took off.
The on field officials adhered to the NFL policy/directive, and did not blow their whistles allowing the play to continue and Gipson to be escorted to the end zone. And, every fumble and scoring play is automatically reviewed, and that’s where the NFL has a real problem.
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk pointed out, per the policy it has to be “clear and convincing evidence” to overturn the call. There were three angles provided by CBS TV and not one of them definitively showed a Charger touching Gipson while he was down on one knee.
Therefore, by their own policy, the call on the field should have “stood.”
It did not.
The end result was the go ahead TD came off the board and eventually, QB Blake Bortles throwing his second INT in the final three minutes and almost costing the Jaguars a chance to tie or win.
The Jaguars most certainly complained formally to the league Monday (teams routinely send plays in to the New York office where they believe calls were missed or in error) and we’ll see if the NFL officially comments on botching the overturn, by not having a clear replay to do so.
For now, we love this Jags fan’s tweet to summarize the situation:
— Bortles 13-3 🇦🇺🐆 (@AussieJag) November 12, 2017