Al Riveron statement:
The NFL’s senior vice president of officiating said Monday that the controversial replay reversal that negated Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ fourth-quarter touchdown in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Patriots was the correct call and proper enforcement of league rules.
“No doubt about it. It was clear and obvious,” Al Riveron said Monday on an afternoon conference call with reporters. “Unless it’s clear and obvious to us, we will not change the ruling on the field.
With the Jets trailing, 24-14, Seferian-Jenkins initially was awarded a touchdown when he took a short pass from Josh McCown and ran into the end zone. But a subsequent replay review determined that Seferian-Jenkins lost possession of the ball shortly before he reached the goal line after being hit by cornerback Malcolm Butler, and that he did not fully regain possession until he was out of bounds. The play was then ruled a touchback, and the Patriots took over at their own 20-yard line.While it appeared to be difficult to tell on televised replays that Seferian-Jenkins hadn’t re-established possession when he went down in the end zone, Riveron said there was no doubt in his mind that he did not have possession before going out of bounds.
“Once [Seferian-Jenkins] is going to the ground, we see the ball is loose,” said Riveron, who makes all replay determinations from the league’s New York office. “Now, we know we have a fumble. By rule, he has to re-establish possession, must regain control of the football again. We see in two other instances [on the replay review] where the ball is loose, he has not regained control of the football before he lands out of bounds.
“By rule, we have a touchback,” Riveron said. “We might not agree with the rule, but that is the rule. So the rule was enforced correctly.”
Riveron said any replay review he looked at was from the CBS broadcast, not from any additional video feed from inside MetLife Stadium.
“We told the [CBS production] truck to dump the bucket [of television angles],” Riveron said. “Give us everything they had.”
Several Jets players said after the game they disagreed with the call, but Seferian-Jenkins accepted the ruling.
“I feel like I scored, but at the end of the day, that’s what the ref called,” he said. “I’m going with what the ref said, and I have to have better ball security. I have to make sure I make the necessary corrections so that doesn’t happen again.”