"Well, it's a tough play," Periera told Eisen. "I mean we're dealing with the endzone here, and the question is, 'Did he get two feet clearly down completely in the endzone with possession of the ball? As you know now the initial ruling made on the field is extremely important and the question is, do we have enough to overturn it?
"The real question is, 'Did he get both feet clearly down?' and I'd like to take a look at the play (begins replay) and, really, when we stop here and take a look you can see the toe is going to get very near the ground or does it in fact actually get on the ground. Clearly you going to see that, here we go, the contact, is the toe down, is it not? The contact simultaneously when the toe hits the ground and, when you look at it, can you piece it together and say that it's a catch? Maybe, do you not have enough to overturn it? That's certainly where the referee, Larry Nemmers, was in this. But really in this case on the field, we want this officiated as an incomplete pass because he does not clearly have a second foot down. While we'll treat the endzone differently, especially with the player standing like this, he still has to have both feet clearly down with possession of the ball before he has a touchdown and I really don't think that he does here and that's what we're dealing with."
Pereira also said that the Amani Toomer touchdown pass was a "great catch" and a "great call". The Toomer touchdown always seemed to be less in doubt, as it appeared to many eyes that he did indeed drag both feet on the correct side of the end zone line.
So...did they, or didn't they? Did the NFL admit that Larry Nemmers blew two TD calls in the Seahawks-Giants game? Was it only one bad call? Or was this simply an instance of an overzealous sportswriter taking comments out of context? What is the NFL reacting to, and is that reaction appropriate? Guest columnist Karl Betts tries to get to the bottom of ApologyGate.
Here’s what the NFL said and did not say as we break down and delineate the initial AP report and the later NFL reply.
1) We can be reasonably certain that Holmgren is not making it up that the NFL admits that there were officiating mistakes in the game. This conversation did happen no matter what the League office says.
From the original report: “The NFL said touchdown catches made by Jeremy Shockey and Amani Toomer shouldn't have been ruled completions.”
2) Note that “The NFL said” cites the NFL as the source of this information, not Holmgren -- in the assertion that “touchdown catches made by Jeremy Shockey and Amani Toomer shouldn't have been ruled completions.”
However, in a later statement of clarification, NFL officials said, "Our officiating department never discussed with the Seahawks the Amani Toomer touchdown reception, which was properly called."
3) Evidently, the Associated Press story by Gregg Bell mistakenly included the Toomer TD reception question in the “shouldn’t have been ruled completion(s)” assertion.
"The Jeremy Shockey touchdown catch at the end of the first half was not overturned because the referee determined that there was insufficient visual evidence to reverse the call."
4) Note that the NFL did not deny that the Jeremy Shockey TD catch “shouldn’t have been ruled completion(s)” (pardon the double negative) in the same manner that they informed us that the Toomer TD catch was “never discussed.’ The plural on the word, “completions” could certainly be referring to other completion questions besides the Toomer one.
5) Piecing together what the NFL is willing to disclose, we can resolve this by recognizing that the Shockey TD call and ruling was subject to correction and “shouldn’t have been ruled a completion,” but not the Toomer one, hence the inaccuracy.
6) Instead of reporting that both the Toomer and Shockey TD catches “shouldn’t have been ruled completions,” the AP report should have cited the Shockey TD reception as the only instance of officiating mistakes regarding the errant ruling of a TD reception.
7) Therefore, the actual (not official) score should reflect the substitution of a FG for the Giants instead of a TD in the instance of the errant call and ruling on the Shockey TD reception at the end of the first half.
This clarifies a the difference between the errant call and ruling over Shockey’s catch that can be proven by replay evidence, but acknowledges that it was impossible to overturn that Toomer got both feet in bounds while making the catch in the back of the end zone.
Therefore, Seattle still wins convincingly, successfully defending against the Shockey TD, and allowing only one TD (Toomer’s) the entire game.
If presented with this scenario, you can bet that the NFL would not deny it. They simply don’t want to disclose it either.
Guest columnist Karl Betts is also known as "KingdomeKarleesimo" in our Fan Forums. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to our own Dylan Johnson for transcribing Mike Pereira's remarks from NFL Network.