The NFL screwed up yesterday in the Bucs vs Redskins game.
To compound matters they lied about screwing up.
And in fact the media helped them try to pull a fast one on the fans.
Well, you know me. I'm calling bullshit.
At the end of the game the Redskins were driving on the Bucs and got the ball down to the 12. I know it was at the 12 for several reasons. For one the line judge was standing right on the 12 looking down the line to see if anybody was lined up offsides. For two the ball was lined up on the 12. And for three the official scorer listed the ball as being on the 12 on the play by play viewable on nfl.com.
Now I'm no math major but that means the Redskins would have had to get to the 2 yardline or beyond for a first down. Well instead they completed a pass down to about the 3, and this is where it gets wacky.
The scoreboard, one sideline set of sticks and the Fox broadcast all had the next play as 2nd and 1. On the other side of the field however one set of sticks had the play as 1st and goal. How did this happen?
Well for some odd reason the people on that side of the field put the yard marker for a first down on the 3 instead of the 2 and instead of actually measuring the yardage after the catch on 1st down the officials just decided it "looked like" a first down. Now the thing of it is everything would have been fine had they just called for the chains for a measurement. It would have shown that somebody screwed up in putting the marker on the 3 instead of the 2 and it would in fact have been 2nd and 1.
Instead an official just pronounced it a 1st down albeit VERY quietly.
Notice on the play by play that the only way the official scorer can cover for the officials is to indeed list the ball as being on the 2. But it wasn't on the two. AND THAT WAS THE POINT! If you recorded the game its quite obvious that the ball is on the 3 at best and not close to the 2. Its at least a full 2 yards from the 2. But if the official scorer doesn't list it at the 2 then they are admitting that it wasn't a first down.
Technically the Redskins didn't get a 5th down. What they got was 5 opportunities when according to the yardage they should have only had 4. I don't know if their play calling would have changed had they been aware that they didn't have a 1st and goal but that doesn't change the fact that the officials screwed up that spot.
But what's most discouraging about the whole fiasco is that once the NFL saw that Fox had pointed this out and they went into spin mode, most of the media just repeated what they were told instead of checking it out for themselves. And in fact several were kind of cavalier about it, blaming all of the confusion on the Fox broadcast instead of the refs.
Well at least one journalist, AP writer Joseph White Jr. (no relation) saw the same thing I saw and tweeted this:
Watching replay, I see how #Redskins got "5th down": Chains only measured 9 yds for 1st down. (12-yd line to 3-yd line)
See the only way the explanation possibly works is if the ball was spotted on the 13 or further away. The mere fact that the NFL's own scorer listed the 12 as the spot before the supposed 1st down destroys the NFL's own explanation.
In the end the Bucs still won and for that we are all thankful, but I hope the journalists who so enthusiastically put out the NFL's version of events last night take a second look and question the NFL further about this. If not they really aren't doing their job in my opinion.