The Pittsburgh Steelers were dealt a difficult hand, but not by the New England Patriots. No, it was the officiating crew, and head official Tony Corrente. After Corrente overturned the touchdown pass to Jesse James, Ben Roethlisberger threw a game-ending interception two plays later after the overturned play.
See what Tony said, per the Athletic’s Mark Kaboly:
Tony Corrente: "We are inside of two minutes and in order to have a completed pass, a receiver must survive going to the ground. So, in this case, he had control of the football but he was going to the ground and as he hit the ground, ... @TheAthleticPIT— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) December 18, 2017
"... the ball began to roll and rotate and the ball hit the ground. It's the end of it at that point." @TheAthleticPIT— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) December 18, 2017
Q: Does it matter that he wasn't touched and his knee was down? "He lost complete control of the football. So, that was the ruling on the field." @TheAthleticPIT— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) December 18, 2017
Steelers fans won’t like the explanation, and rightfully so, but it will be something they will have to live with for the next two weeks, and be prepared for a potential rematch with the Patriots in the AFC Playoffs.
Here is the NFL’s official video explanation of the call: