Posted December 29, 2013

NFL tells Texans: Peyton Manning’s 50th touchdown pass should not have counted

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Did Peyton Manning know that he got away with one against the Texans? We may never know for sure. (Joe Amon/Getty Images)

Did Peyton Manning know that he got away with one against the Texans? We may never know for sure. (Joe Amon/Getty Images)

Ready for yet another officiating controversy in the 2013 NFL season? Well, here we go. According to Houston Texans interim head coach Wade Phillips, the NFL has told the Texans that Peyton Manning’s 50th touchdown pass of the season should not have counted. Technically, Manning broke Tom Brady’s single-season record for touchdown passes in a season and landed with 51 at the end of Denver’s 37-13 win over Houston last Sunday. But the penultimate score in Manning’s season so far does look a bit dicey  because receiver Eric Decker bobbled the ball and did not maintain possession through the end zone with 7:04 left in the game.

“We did get some good news,” Phillips said on Friday. “Actually, it’s bad news for Peyton Manning because the league did come back and say that the ball was juggled by Decker and shouldn’t have been a touchdown. I guess they’re going to have to take that Hall of Fame ball that they sent to the Hall of Fame back. I feel bad for Peyton celebrating breaking the record and it really didn’t happen. I guess they still count it, don’t they? Anyway, the League came and said that it was not a touchdown. Unfortunately, they ruled it a touchdown on the field and then they reviewed and said it was a touchdown. But now the League came back and said it wasn’t, which we said all along.”

Phillips was joking about the record being reversed — that won’t happen, of course. But Ed Hochuli did appear to blow the call on replay. Manning threw to Decker from the Houston 20-yard line on third-and-9, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can see that per the league’s current rules, Decker did not maintain possession.

Decker gets his first foot down in the end zone as he catches the ball...

Decker gets his first foot down in the end zone as he catches the ball…

Decker then goes forward and starts to bobble the ball...

Decker then goes forward and starts to bobble the ball…

Decker gets his second foot in bounds, but he's clearly bobbling the ball at this point...

Decker gets his second foot in bounds, but he’s clearly bobbling the ball at this point…

And when Decker goes get his second foot down with control of the ball, he's out of bounds.

And when Decker goes get his second foot down with actual control of the ball, he’s out of bounds.

“I’m on the other side of a lot of those too but it really doesn’t change anything,” Broncos head coach John Fox said Friday in response. “So I’ll just leave it at that,”

Fox later told the Associated Press that in Denver’s Week 14 win over the Tennessee Titans, a Manning touchdown pass to Decker was incorrectly overturned on review. It was ruled that Decker hadn’t broken the plane of the goal line, but replays showed that no defender touched the receiver before he went over.

Decker's right knee hits the ground at the Tennessee 1 1/2-yard line...

Decker’s right knee hits the ground at the Tennessee 1 1/2-yard line…

...but no defender touched him before he rolled into the end zone.

…but no defender touched him before he rolled into the end zone. However…

...there was a fanny-pack incident at the two-yard line which bore closer scrutiny.

…there was a fanny-pack incident at the two-yard line which bore closer scrutiny.

“After reviewing the play, the receiver, while he was catching the ball, his foot touched the knee of the defender — he is down at the two-yard line,” referee Scott Green ruled on the reversal.

In addition, cornerback Alterraun Verner touched Decker’s fanny pack as the receiver was going down, and I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever typed that.

We’ll give Decker the last word on this one.

“Obviously, coaches want the games to be called fair. He didn’t think it was the right call, which I thought it was. So, he’s going to voice it to the league. But it still counts.”

Indeed.

15 comments
KUGSUSA
KUGSUSA

It's my understanding that once a game starts the referee controls the field and calls the game. If Roger Goodell himself went onto the field to change a call, the referee's decision would stand. After the game is a different story.  

BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro

The call on the field stands. Get it,morons???????? wade go back to your chittlins.

BillKolb41
BillKolb41

Wrong! NFL has to go by the rules set in place. Since the next snap was made (for the PAT) and play wasn't stopped, then the play must stand as called. NFL just can't arbitrarily decide what they want whenever they desire - had they had an issue, then the play should have been reviewed at that particular moment. NFL is derelict in telling the Texans what they did as well, just for this reason. Then again, the NFL overall hasn't had such a banner year, have they?

Sportsblabber
Sportsblabber

A player can kick the pylon with the ball in his hand and score -- even if the ball doesn't break the plane of the goal.  Yet the refs agonize over the fate of the ball out of bounds in order to determine if it's a catch.  I don't know what my point is -- except that football rules are maddening!

Billll
Billll

What difference does it really make whether or not the receiver "bobbles" the ball or not, as long as he doesn't drop it, that is, if it doesn't come into contact with the ground? This is a silly-assssed rule, and it has not always been the rule in football. We have too many dumb rules like this, and, without the benefit of modern technology (video, etc), no one would really care. It makes the referees' job almost impossible. If he is "bobbling" the ball when he falls anywhere else on the field other than the end zone, the only criterion is whether or not the ball has not contacted the ground before the receiver did. They are making too much of a science of a simple game. 

SandHills
SandHills

Hopefully Brady will get the TDs when they count - maybe in the AFC final in Denver...

RickKitchen
RickKitchen

Wait...Ed Hochuli blew a call?  No way!  The Gun Show can't be wrong.  He is like the Chuck Norris of NFL officials

Wesley11
Wesley11

What about that one questionable call in November of 1984 against the Jets? Will they be reviewing that soon?


I get reviewing a play during a game, but not after (unless it is related to some sort of player penalty like suspension or fine).

45yearCowboyFan
45yearCowboyFan

Oh C'MON MAN!!!  enough with this micro management of the HD digital reviews.  I have no dog in this fight but to come back a week(s) later and start to look at this and say stuff didn't count is ridiculous.  Given the benefit of HDTV 20/20 hindsight I'm sure you could go back  in time and strip many players of a TD or sack or INT here and there.  Enough already.

cknuckles60191
cknuckles60191

Hopefully the NFL does the right thing and strips Manning of that Touchdown.

rambler08
rambler08

@SandHillsHopefully Brady will freeze his butt off, throw 15 interceptions, fumble the ball 8 times,... and only lose by 47 points.  Anything to wipe the smug smile off his face.

BillKolb41
BillKolb41

@cknuckles60191 Here is my note, added just a bit ago...

Wrong! NFL has to go by the rules set in place. Since the next snap was made (for the PAT) and play wasn't stopped, then the play must stand as called. NFL just can't arbitrarily decide what they want whenever they desire - had they had an issue, then the play should have been reviewed at that particular moment. NFL is derelict in telling the Texans what they did as well, just for this reason. Then again, the NFL overall hasn't had such a banner year, have they?

rambler08
rambler08

@cknuckles60191If they do, then they should go back and review every single completion, every single gimpy run, and every single touchdown by Brady in 2007.  It would be only fair.  Maybe they should do it anyway - and check for cheating along the way all during that season and those before and after.

YasserMuzaffar
YasserMuzaffar

@rambler08 @cknuckles60191 Exactly on the point, if they want to check that then all of Brady's SuperBowls should be taken away as we all know the NFL covered it up. Brady and the patriots did not deserve any of those superbowls as they clearly cheated