The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were robbed of an instant replay challenge that should have come from the booth during overtime in the team’s 34-31 loss at Chicago. As it turns out, the fact that a 28-yard catch by Bears wide receiver Rashied Davis stood when television replays clearly showed the ball hitting the ground helped rob the Bucs of a potential victory. Davis’ grab came on third-and-8 and put the Bears in field goal position at the Bucs’ 20-yard line. Chicago kicker Robbie Gould kicked the 25-yard game-winner three plays later.
What was stunning was that there was no instant replay challenge from the NFL officials booth in the press box during the game. In overtime, only the booth can challenge plays – not the coaches.
During his Monday morning press conference, PewterReport.com asked Bucs head coach Jon Gruden to address the lack of the instant replay challenge by the booth on that play.
“It hit the ground,” Gruden said. “The disappointing thing is that the play’s not ruled properly on the field. You’d have to make that phone call to the league office and see why that wasn’t reviewed, as why wasn’t Anthony Becht’s first down reviewed. Plays are reviewable in overtime, subject to the official’s point of view. But that would be a good phone call for you to make, why it wasn’t reviewed. Clearly the ball hit the ground; it should have been ruled properly on the field. In that case, with the dramatic situation that it was, the impact on the game…I’ll comment no further on that. It should have been reviewed.”
PewterReport.com had already phoned the league office on Monday morning to get an official response from NFL Director of Officiating Mike Pereria as to why Davis' 28-yard catch was improperly ruled a completion on the field and was not challenged in overtime by the instant replay booth. Here is the statement PewterReport.com received this afternoon:
"During overtime of the Tampa Bay-Chicago game on Sunday, replay assistant Jim Blackwood attempted to stop the game for a replay review following a 28-yard completion by the Bears that was ruled a completed pass on the field. The pager system used to contact the referee and umpire from the booth failed to operate on this particular play. The pagers will be checked to determine what happened and to ensure that they operate properly for the rest of the season."
Davis’ catch occurred at the 5:40 mark in overtime and that is apparently when the pager didn’t work. But at the 9:02 mark of OT, the pager system was working just fine as Brad Maynard’s punt down to the Tampa Bay 2-yard was signaled for review by the instant replay official in the booth.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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