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#pounditThursday, March 23, 2023

Referees commit huge blunder during Wild Card game to help Bengals

Jerome Boger and his crew

The Cincinnati Bengals benefitted from an enormous error by the crew officiating Saturday’s AFC Wild Card game.

With just under two minutes remaining in the first half, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow found receiver Tyler Boyd in the end zone for a Cincinnati touchdown. There was some question whether Burrow ran out of bounds before releasing the pass, though replays indicated that he did not.

That was not the problem with the play, however. A referee whistle was clearly heard before Boyd made the catch. According to NFL rules, the play should have been dead at that moment and the touchdown should not have counted.

The whistle was clear on the TV broadcast of the game. NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay, a former NFL referee, said the down should have been replayed due to the erroneous whistle. The play was reviewed, but only to make a determination on whether Burrow remained in bounds. The timing of the whistle is not reviewable.

Notably, the NFL’s only comment was to defer to McAulay’s on-air explanation.

The Raiders will be fuming about this, as will many fans. It’s also not the first time Jerome Boger’s crew has taken over a game in the wrong way.


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