2016 AFC Championship
Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the Conference Championship game from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.
Today’s crew is headed by Terry McAulay.
|R||77||Terry McAulay||19||Louisiana State||college officiating coordinator|
|U||49||Rich Hall||13||Boger||Arizona||custom cabinetry|
|HL||106||Wayne Mackie||10||Hussey||Colgate||director of operations, housing|
|FJ||3||Scott Edwards||18||Triplette||Alabama||environmental engineer|
|SJ||41||Boris Cheek||21||Morelli||Morgan State||director of operations and management|
|BJ||112||Tony Steratore||17||Boger||California (Pa.)||co-owner, supply company|
- Replay: Mike Wimmer
- Alternates: John Parry (R), Mark Steinkerchner (LJ), Rich Martinez (BJ)
- January 22, 2017 - 9:48 pm 3:36 | 4th qtr. Steelers TD — Cobi Hamilton 30 yd. pass from Ben Roethlisberger (2-pt: Ben Roethlisberger to DeAngelo Williams pass). NE 33-17 key
- January 22, 2017 - 9:47 pm 6:24 | 4th qtr. Patriots FG — Steven Gostkowski 26 yd. NE 36-9 key
- January 22, 2017 - 9:12 pm 1:35 | 3rd qtr. Patriots TD — Julian Edelman 10 yd. pass from Tom Brady (Steven Gostowski kick). NE 33-9 key
- January 22, 2017 - 8:52 pm 2:44 | 3rd qtr. Patriots TD — LeGarrette Blount 1 yd. run (Steven Gostowski kick). NE 27-9 key
- January 22, 2017 - 8:50 pm 9:59 | 3rd qtr. Patriots FG — Steven Gostkowski 47 yd. NE 20-9 key
- January 22, 2017 - 8:41 pm 11:43 | 3rd qtr. Steelers challenge — down by contact. Call stands: ball was fumbled, but no clear recovery seen on video. key
- January 22, 2017 - 8:00 pm 1:39 | 2nd qtr. Steelers FG — Chris Boswell 23 yd. NE 17-9 key
- January 22, 2017 - 7:59 pm 2:00 | 2nd qtr. Booth review (score) — touchdown. Call reversed: knee down with ball short of the goal. key
- January 22, 2017 - 7:41 pm 7:43 | 2nd qtr. Patriots TD — Chris Hogan 34 yd. pass from Tom Brady (Steven Gostowski kick). NE 17-6 key
- January 22, 2017 - 7:32 pm 11:31 | 2nd qtr. Steelers TD — DeAngelo Williams 5 yd. run (kick wide left). NE 10-6 key
- January 22, 2017 - 7:20 pm 2:47 | 1st qtr. Patriots TD — Chris Hogan 16 yd. pass from Tom Brady (Steven Gostkowski kick). NE 10-0 key
- January 22, 2017 - 6:52 pm 13:08 | 1st qtr. Patriots FG — Steven Gostkowski 31 yd. NE 3-0 key
3:36 | 4th qtr. On the onside kick, there was a recovery in the field of play. By rule, there must be at least 1 second taken off the clock. Each crew has their preference, but they usually work out with the clock operator in advance that the one second should be taken off as an adjustment, rather than a start/stop of the clock. McAulay made the announcement to do that adjustment.
Phil Simms chimed in that there might be an illegal bat. In the field of play, illegal bats cannot be called if the ball goes towards a team’s goal line. (In the end zones, a deliberate bat in any direction is an illegal bat.)
13:41 | 4th qtr. On a third-and-goal pass to the end zone, Steelers receiver Cobi Hamilton steps on the end line before catching the pass. This is a foul for illegally touching the pass, as he is the first player to touch the pass.
The penalty was modified in the offseason to be a loss of down and zero yards, rather than yardage with a repeat of the down. Under the old rule, the Steelers would replay 3rd and goal after the 5-yard penalty; they would have to accept the penalty in any case, as the result of the play would be a touchdown. The revision to the rule makes it effectively an incomplete pass, just as if the receiver remains out of bounds.
If Hamilton remained out of bounds, there would be no foul, but it would be incomplete.
For a successful challenge of a fumble when one is not called on the field, the replay must show both the fumble and the recovery clearly. It does not matter who has the ball exiting the pile, because officials are pulling off players telling them to give up the fight for the ball. Even though the ball appears loose, there is no clear evidence to reverse.
CBS announcer Jim Nantz erroneously stated that Terry McAulay stated that the Steelers had a clear recovery. McAulay was announcing the premise of the challenge: if there is a fumble and a clear recovery; not that there was a clear recovery ruled.
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) January 23, 2017
12:42 | 3rd qtr. Cancel the post-game ceremonies. No foul-free game. Tony Steratore with the first foul–personal foul on Ryan Shazier for hitting a defenseless receiver. The receiver was going down when Shazier lowered his head. On replay this looks like an iffy call. What caused Steratore to throw the flag was that Shazier lead with his head and it just depends on how the officials are taught to call this play.
No flags so far, and Terry McAulay only has opened his mic twice: for the coin toss and for a replay review.
Patriots 17-9, halftime
- Penalties, 0.
- Replays, 1 — booth review of touchdown reversed.
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) January 23, 2017
Some old school whistles in today’s game: Terry McAulay, Rich Hall and Tony Steratore are a dwindling number of officials using the old fashioned whistle with a pea in it instead of a Fox 40 whistle.
4:55 | 1st qtr. QB Tom Brady calls an audible and the offense shifts. They are all set for a full second before the snap, with a legal formation before and after the shift, making this a legal shift.
Terry McAulay is in his 19th season as an NFL official and 16th as referee. McAulay will be working his 17th postseason assignment, including 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 4 Divisional Playoffs, 8 Conference Championships, and Super Bowls XXXIX, XLIII, and XLVIII. His Super Bowl assignments were all as a referee.
The 11 assignments between conference and league title games is the most of any active referee, surpassing Ed Hochuli’s 10. McAulay also was the referee for the 1998 BCS Championship at Miami’s Orange Bowl in his final year as referee for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Patriots did the same thing in last year's AFC Championship Game — won the toss, chose to receive. Punted on first possession
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) January 22, 2017