NFL referee, Tony Corrente, may be remembered long after he retires for his apparent ability to make Pittsburgh Steelers fans mad as hornets. In fact, his recent (highly controversial) call in the final minutes of the Steelers versus Patriots game continues to spawn contentious debate and discord on social media networks, sports news programs and in living rooms throughout the nation.
The gist of what happened is that Steelers’ tight end, Jesse James, caught Big Ben Roethlisberger’s pass and scored whatever most everyone thought was a winning touchdown in the final 28 seconds of the game. However, the Steelers wound up losing to the Patriots when Big Ben threw an interception in the end zone two plays later.
If you didn’t watch the game, you might be confused as to how James could score a winning touchdown with 28 seconds left and yet, there were two additional plays, one of which cost the Steelers a victory. Well, that’s where referee Tony Corrente comes in (and makes a lot of people angry as all get out).
After reviewing video of James’ touchdown, Corrente ruled that it was, in fact, not a touchdown after all but an incomplete pass. Corrente explained his call by stating that in order to be considered a legitimate touchdown, the player must have complete control of the ball before hitting the ground. He further stated that a receiver does not become a runner until he has control of the ball. Therefore, if he hits the ground before gaining control, it is an incomplete pass, regardless of his field location at the time.
As for James, Corrente claims it is very clear in the video that as he is going toward the ground, the ball begins to rotate and hits the ground, which, according to Corrente, deadens the play.
James, on the other hand, was convinced he had scored a touchdown and said he must not know as much as he thought he did about football because he has no idea how Corrente could have ruled otherwise. Steelers fans near and far agree with James and have been making their feelings about Corrente’s call widely known on social media sites, often including long strings of expletives in their messages.
The trouble with things like this is that no matter what the ultimate outcome would have been, one side or the other would likely dispute the call. What if Corrente has let the touchdown stick? You can bet your bottom dollar Patriots fans would say it was a bad call. Ironically, I noticed some of my own friends who are not even Steelers fans rallying in support of the Black and Gold, saying it was, indeed a touchdown and Corrente cost the Steelers a victory.
At least, when something like this occurs in the NFL, everyone stops talking about the National Anthem debacle for a minute or two.
The bottom line is there are rules in the NFL and officials must adhere to those rules just as players and coaches are required to do so. We could launch an entirely separate debate as to whether replay videos should be allowed to be reviewed, leading to official call changes. That system was implemented in the hope that it would decrease the amount of human error that negatively affects the game through on-filed officiation. As you can see, it might not have solved any problems because now, people just argue over the recalls!
Did you watch the game? Was it a touchdown or incomplete pass? Share your thoughts!
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.