Veteran NFL referee and current NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay drew the ire of NFL fans on Sunday following a pair of controversial calls and his support of them.
McAulay, 63, worked as NFL referee from 1998 through 2017. He also reffed in Super Bowls 39, 43, and 48.
In 2018, he retired from the league to become a rules analyst for NBC Sports’ NBC Sunday Night Football and Notre Dame football. Additionally, he serves as the rules analyst for Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime.
Normally, McAulay’s presence is innocuous enough. But that wasn’t the case on Sunday night.
The first of two late-game incidents occurred when the New England Patriots safety Marte Mapu was called for unnecessary roughness for a hit on Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Jaylen Waddle down after that hit… pic.twitter.com/ELwA2SLwsP
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) September 18, 2023
The penalty helped extend the Dolphins’ drive while leading 24-17 with under five minutes remaining in the game.
Many fans felt that Mapu had no chance to avoid Waddle given how quickly the play developed. But McAulay didn’t see it that way.
The veteran referee felt it was a clear penalty and that Mapu should have held up. Fans were not amused…
I can't stand how Terry Mcaulay comes on n says great call by the refs no matter how terrible the call is lol like stfu you goof
— T$nyds〽️ (@ChopChop570) September 18, 2023
"Don't play defense" is essentially what Terry McAuley just used to justify that call
— Ryan 🦍💯 (@ItsKryptick) September 18, 2023
But that was just the start.
The Patriots did eventually get the ball back and marched down the field in search of a tying touchdown. With time running down and facing a fourth down, New England quarterback Mac Jones dropped back and found tight end Mike Gesicki.
Gesicki, knowing was short of the first down, pitched the ball to offensive lineman Cole Strange, who caught it, turned, and rumbled for a first down.
At least, that’s what everybody thought. The play then went to review to see if Strange reached the first down marker.
Forget about the spot. Can we just focus on Cole Strange’s WR-like twisting adjustment on the ball. One of top big-man athlete moments in NFL history.pic.twitter.com/ASb8r2PhjR
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 18, 2023
The replay appeared fairly inconclusive to most viewers. But not to McAulay, who said that Strange was clearly short of the line to gain.
Referees agreed with McAulay and ruled Strange short, ending the game. But yet again, fans weren’t having it.
Terry McAulay is another horrible TV ref. These guys ruin the broadcast and are so pretentious. He is saying that reversal was clear and obvious. What? I can watch that play 100 times and there’s nothing obvious about that play.
— Zach Gelb (@ZachGelb) September 18, 2023
Here’s the problem, Terry is a billion years old and clearly needs glasses
Go look at where the 1st down marker is…it’s not on the hashmark Terry so eloquently thinks it is
Not to mention the shot he says is clearly down the line, isn’t. It’s angled 🤦🏼♂️ https://t.co/ZZPNC7FyTi
— Dan Lifshatz (@DanLifshatz) September 18, 2023
The fact they had to do all of this just proves it wasn’t clear and obvious. Clear and obvious means no debate, and no reason to have this need to prove it. https://t.co/DUPKn81mR3
— Evan Edmiston (@EvanEdmiston) September 18, 2023
If we’re gonna have rules analysts, they can’t be this wrong. https://t.co/5PNCxqGpZ4
— Nico (@naadame96) September 18, 2023
This is why we need to stop putting the sports cops on TV.