The Ref Who Made The Call At The End Of The Patriots-Panthers Game Explains Why He's Right

The referee who decided against calling pass interference on
the final play of last night’s Patriots-Panthers gameis standing by his decision.

The Patriots lost 24-20 after the referees waved off an interference call on Carolina in the end zone.

The consensus is that it should have been in penalty.

Clete Blakeman, the referee in charge, explained the decision after the game. He says that the ball was uncatchable (transcript via

“There were two officials that came in. One was the umpire and the other one was our side judge and there was a discussion at that point as to the, in essence, the catchability of the ball due to its location.

“So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone. So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.”

“Yeah, in review, yeah. I think so. I’m pleased that … well, two situations. You never like to end the game with some controversy like that on a call, but I’m pleased that our officiating crew got together and communicated and discussed it and, ultimately, I believe we got it right. So that to me is the part that is coming away from it. I’m pleased that our crew was able to discuss it and make the call right.”

If a ball is ruled “uncatchable” pass interference can’t be called.

We don’t think it was uncatchable.

Here’s the play.

The primary contact actually occurs before the interception, not during it. Without the benefit of replay though, the refs didn’t see it that way at the time:

We don’t think this ball is “clearly uncatchable” — as it would have to be ruled for interference to be waved off. The refs did though:

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