Wade Phillips would like to put an asterisk on Peyton Manning’s touchdown record.
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The Houston Texans’ interim coach said Friday the league agreed with him that Manning’s record-tying 50th TD toss Sunday shouldn’t have counted because Eric Decker bobbled the ball.
The touchdown still counts, however, as does Manning’s 51st TD throw. That one to Julius Thomas minutes later capped Denver’s 37-13 win and broke Tom Brady’s record of 50 TD passes set in 2007.
That football, along with Manning’s grass-stained No. 18 jersey and his cleats, were sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Decker said Phillips should just let it go, telling The Associated Press on Friday, "I caught it. This doesn’t change anything. It’s still a big catch for me and one I’ll remember for a while."
Same with Manning, who told Decker after the reception with 6:57 left, "Great catch, man!"
Decker’s 20-yard reception with 6:57 left in the fourth quarter gave Denver a 30-13 lead, and the TD was upheld on replay, much to the chagrin of Phillips, who felt Decker didn’t have control of the ball until after his momentum carried him out of the back of the end zone.
Phillips sent the play to the league this week, contending the wrong call was made.
"We did get some good news. Actually, it’s bad news for Peyton Manning because the league did come back and say that the ball was juggled by Decker and shouldn’t have been a touchdown," Phillips said at the beginning of his Friday news conference.
He jokingly added, "I guess they’re going to have to take that Hall of Fame ball that they sent to the Hall of Fame back. I feel bad for Peyton celebrating breaking the record and it really didn’t happen."
"I guess they still count it, don’t they? Anyway, the League came and said that it was not a touchdown. Unfortunately, they ruled it a touchdown on the field and then they reviewed and said it was a touchdown. But now the league came back and said it wasn’t, which we said all along."
Broncos coach John Fox shrugged off Phillips’ comments, noting there’s been plenty more TD passes that Manning has had this season that were overturned on replay.
"I’m on the other side of a lot of those too but it really doesn’t change anything. So I’ll just leave it at that," Fox said at his Friday news conference.
Later, Fox told The AP there was one play in particular, against Tennessee on Dec. 8, in which Decker caught a pass and rolled into the end zone for the apparent score but he was ruled down shy of the goal line upon further review.
TV replays, however, don’t clearly show a defender touching him before he rolls across the goal line.
"I still thought that was a touchdown, but I don’t pay much mind to all that stuff because it doesn’t change anything," Fox said. "I don’t really put much stock in all that."
Decker said he still doesn’t think he was touched on that play, but those kinds of calls all even out in the end.
As for Phillips checking with the NFL on his record-tying TD catch, Decker added: "Obviously, coaches want the games to be called fair. He didn’t think it was the right call, which I thought it was. So, he’s going to voice it to the league. But it still counts."