Giants-Steelers Official Review
by the Ref
I am somewhat surprised that I have not received any questions about the play that resulted in a touchdown by Boley on Sunday.
As an engineer and Referee, I have always tried to apply Newton’s first law of motion, which states “A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon it” to such situations. As a result, for a pass to go forward, there must be some motive force acting on the ball.
The two possibilities are that Umenyiora hit the ball causing it to go forward or that Roethlisberger’s arm had started forward with the ball in his possession and that was the motive force causing it to go forward. As I have seen no evidence that Umenyiora touched the ball (I believe he hit the arm), the only thing that could have caused it to go as far forward as it did is if Roethlisberger’s arm was moving forward with the ball in his possession at the time that he was hit.
As a result, it appeared to me to be a forward pass and should have been ruled as such by Bill Leavy either initially or upon review.
Also, on Boley’s runback it appears that a block in the back could have been called on JPP. In such situations, the wing officials are hustling to get to the reverse goal line and the Referee has the ball carrier and is also trying to get to the reverse goal line. The deep officials who went downfield on the original play are typically too far out of the action to make a call. As a result, the block may not have been seen by the officials or it may have been felt that the block did not impact the results of the play.
In either case, no call was made although could have been made. Personally I am okay with the “no call” although I must admit it was close (and unnecessary).
As for the other calls in the game, I had no problems with any of the Pass Interference calls on either side and no problem at all with the call against Ryan Clark for the shot to Cruz in the end zone. On the latter, the contact was clearly late to a defenseless receiver.
I have no idea what the Back Judge reported but the Referee will typically just repeat what he is told. So if the foul was mis-stated, which I believe it was, the problem was with the communication from the Back Judge to the Referee, not with Bill Leavy ‘s announcement. Clark is and always has been a cheap shot artist and I would be surprised if he is not fined by the league during the week.