NFL Defends Replay Ruling on Chase Ford Non-Touchdown
By Dan Zinski
Was Chase Ford’s foot in or out of bounds on the 22-yard reception from Teddy Bridgewater that ended up being ruled not a touchdown after replay officials took a look?
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Viking fans are pretty much unanimous in their opinion that Ford was not out of bounds and should have been awarded a touchdown.
In this case, the NFL does not agree with the fans.
NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino laid out the case for why the officials were correct in ruling no touchdown:
"I think we have to remember that, in replay, we assume that the ruling on the field is correct. And you have to see indisputable video evidence that it’s incorrect in order to overturn the ruling on the field. So you’re not looking at it with the clean slate per se, you’re not looking at it and saying I have to make a ruling. You’re starting with the fact that they ruled that the foot was out of bounds. I need to see indisputable evidence that it’s not out of bounds."
Screenshots of Ford’s foot seem to show that he was inbounds, but in Blandino’s mind there is enough gray area that officials had no choice but to stick with the initial ruling that he was out before crossing the goal line.
Interestingly, former NFL head of officials Mike Pereira believes that in past years the Ford play would have been reversed. Pereira addressed a pair of calls from Sunday that he believes reflect an effort by the NFL to stick with the ruling on the field if at all possible (via Fox Sports):
"In my mind, both of these plays would have been reversed last year, with input coming just from the replay official and the referee. But now, with a consistent philosophy coming out of New York, they just didn’t feel like there was conclusive evidence to reverse the calls.I’ve heard Blandino say it many times: “I think it was a touchdown, but I just couldn’t prove it, so I stayed with the call on the field.”"
Fans likely will not be too comforted by these explanations. That being said, it’s hard for fans to complain too much in this particular case. The Vikings still had the ball first-and-goal from the one and should have been able to punch it in. The fact that Minnesota had to settle for a field goal – in a game that would ultimately be decided by two points – is on the Vikings, not the refs.