Source: Missed Call Ending Pats-Bills Game Happened Because Ref May Not ‘Know The NFL Rule’


Can someone, anyone, please explain to me like a four-year-old what in the hell is going on with referees in college and pro football this season? Seriously, how many times have fans been forced to watch an obvious mistake by the zebras and actually have it be upheld because the officials forgot or straight-up didn’t know the rule?

For anyone who watched last night’s Monday Night Football game between the Pats and Bills, you probably noticed a few more mistakes that the refs made, with the final play of the game being one that ended a bizarre night for the men in black and white stripes and left us all wondering what the fuck was up.



Here’s a quick video of what happened on the final play, where Bills receiver Sammy Watkins made the catch and rolled himself out of bounds to purposely stop the clock—which should’ve left the Bills 2 seconds and a chance for a last-second heave to the end zone to tie the game from their own 47-yard line.

// to a Boston Globe report, which cited a source “from the NFL Referees Association, who has officiated dozens of NFL games,” here’s what happened on that final play:

Head linesman Ed Walker didn’t stop the clock, instead ruling that Watkins gave himself up as a runner inbounds. The final 2 seconds ticked off instead of the Bills having one last chance from their 47.

OK, so clear mistake there. To echo that, here’s what head official in the game, Gene Steratore, had to add, according to the Boston Globe report:

“The fact that he scoots out of bounds is not as important. It was a judgment call by that head linesman that he felt like [Watkins] gave himself up in the field of play. It’s not a reviewable play. So winding the clock or stopping the clock is not something we review.”

And this is where things get really fucked up, because the Globe’s source says that Steratore was just covering for Walker, as the latter used to be a ref in college football as a Pac-12 official and that Walker mistakenly applied the college rule instead of the NFL rule. This is what the Boston Globe source boldly added:

“In the NFL, the way it’s always been officiated is if a guy gets out of bounds, you give it to him and stop the clock,” the source said. “But he called it like the college rule. I’m not sure he knew the NFL rule.”

So, what you’re telling me is that a referee who, allegedly, didn’t know the NFL rule was officiating a primetime game between two bitter rivals and fucked things up in a critical moment? Only in the NFL, guys.


In reality, the additional 2 seconds probably wouldn’t have meant much. But, then again, with the Bills on their own 47-yard line and given the chance to launch a Hail Mary, something crazy could have happened that led to a game-tying touchdown.

Whether you’re a Pats fan or not, as a football fan you should be pissed that common sense shit like this simple rule was messed up and ended a game that saw its fair share of mistakes.

[H/T Boston Globe, Deadspin]

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