Those controversial calls on the final play of this week’s “Monday Night Football” game? All of them were correct, according to the NFL.
Scrutiny of NFL officials is at all-time high this week after a weekend that featured an inordinate amount of questionable penalties, puzzling no-calls and other dubious refereeing decisions.
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That continued straight through the very end of Monday night’s Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns matchup, when observers spotted several potential errors on Ravens safety Will Hill’s last-second, game-winning blocked field goal return for a touchdown.
The primary accusations: that Baltimore’s Anthony Levine Sr. was lined up in the neutral zone when the ball was snapped, and that Hill had stepped out of bounds during his Cleveland-crushing runback.
The NFL later reviewed both plays, however, and determined that the refs were correct in keeping their whistles holstered.
“The ball was spotted at the 33-and-a-half-yard line for the kick,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora wrote Tuesday in an email to ProFootballTalk. “The center moves the ball up slightly to get in position for the snap. The black line you see, which television uses to denote the line of scrimmage, appears to be at the 33, not the 33-and-a-half. So when the ball is snapped, the defensive player is not at the 33-and-a-half-yard line and he appears to be in a legal position.”
The stunning loss was the latest in a long line of heartbreaking defeats for the 2-9 Browns, who are tied with the Tennessee Titans for the NFL’s worst record.