San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci, upon learning from the NFL office that the officials blew a call that could have given the New York Giants a second chance at the winning field goal, had a succinct reaction.
The 49ers rallied from a 24-point deficit to pull off a memorable 39-38 victory over the Giants. Now, the game is even more memorable.
Mariucci said he talked with NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira on Monday morning and was informed that the officials erred on the final play of the game. Giants holder Matt Allen threw a pass downfield after the snap on a 41-yard attempt was botched.
Niners defender Chike Okeafor interfered with guard Rich Seubert, who had reported as an eligible receiver on the play. But the officials called a penalty of Tam Hopkins for being ineligibly down field.
The league said there should have been offsetting penalties called and the Giants should have received another opportunity to kick the game-winning field goal.
"Over the course of time, they even out, especially the longer you're in it," Mariucci said.
The comeback was the second-biggest in NFL playoff history. Ten seasons ago, the Buffalo Bills overcame a 35-3 second-half deficit in a game they eventually won against Houston. Niners special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven handled the same duties for the Bills back then.
"I talked to Bruce about this and the difference he said is that Buffalo team was a very veteran team," Mariucci said. "They had been in the Super Bowl and AFC Championship games and they were more apt to do something like that. They expected to be in the Super Bowl.
"This is an up-and-coming team. This is not a veteran-sort of team."