The “sting” of the Jaguars narrow loss Sunday in the AFC Championship Game to New England has still not gone away.
And, the subject that we’re writing about here isn’t going to make it any better.
But, here goes.
There continues to be some discussion and even controversy, over the officiating in the game at Foxboro Sunday. As we wrote Sunday night, the officiating was not a factor in the outcome.
There was one penalty called in the entire second half, and, that was a legitimate pass interference on Jalen Ramsey. However, the Patriots punted three plays later. So, that call had no consequence in the scoring or the final moments of the contest.
There was a call that did potentially have consequences in scoring and potentially the outcome of the game earlier in the fourth quarter. It was the strip and fumble recovery by the Jaguars Myles Jack of Dion Lewis with just under 14 minutes remaining.
As King points out in the item, and is correct to do so, we are spending an awful lot of time debating about something that happens in less than a second in real time.
And, let’s be clear, especially for the conspiratorialists, the officials got the call right live that it was a fumble and that Jack had recovered it.
And, the application of replay review was also correct, because there was not enough evidence upon review that the call was wrong. So, the play “stood as called” correctly on the field: fumble recovered by the Jags.
The only criticism was the blowing of the whistle, but in this case, we believe the officials should get a “pass.” This is because at least one of them saw correctly that the ball was out, and one or more of them correctly ruled, Jack had recovered the fumble.
So, if one of them believed the play was over, because Jack was down on the ground and had been contacted, you can understand why the whistle blew.
As the former head of officials Mike Pereira says in King’s item, we have become spoiled with multiple slow-mo high definition replays, and are not taking into account that human beings are having to make decisions in split seconds. You are judging them by an unfair standard.
In this case, the Jaguars could have had a fumble return for a touchdown or at least significant field position in Patriots territory and that would have been enormous. But, the refs on the field still got the call right live and the replay system worked and it benefited Jacksonville.
And one more time for the “officials rigged it for New England” crowd:
The game was decided on multiple possessions after that, when Jacksonville could not move the ball and score, and conversely, New England put two touchdowns on the board to beat them.
As we wrote at the beginning, it still stings for the Jags and their fans, and scrutiny of the refs is fine.
But, they got the Jack strip and fumble recovery call correct.
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