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Travis Kelce loses ball in slowest fumble ever



Week 14: Chiefs at Cardinals (video)

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has a reception with the ball popping out after he is down. The replay review reversed it on a really tight observation, but correct, nonetheless. The key is when Kelce loses control of the ball, because a ball carrier cannot be down by contact when he is not in control of the ball. If Kelce was able to re-secure the ball and then lose possession, then he would be down, but as the video progresses, Kelce loses more and more control of the ball to the point that it’s in his fingertips.

Vice president of officiating Dean Blandino posted a quick explanatory video on the call on on Sunday night.

Referee Craig Wrolstad explained this call and a pass interference call to a pool reporter:

Q: On the [offensive pass interference] in the third quarter, involving [Chiefs tight end Anthony] Fasano that nullified the touchdown — yes, number 80 — simply what did you guys see on that?

Wrolstad: My back judge [Lee Dyer] reported to me that he had Fasano blocking downfield to create separation which allowed him to be open for the pass.

Q: On the play in the fourth quarter, the Kelce fumble that was reviewed, what did you see on that play?

Wrolstad: The tight end caught the ball, took a number of steps, got hit as he was going to the ground. Before any part of his body was on the ground, he ball came loose. The ball remained loose. He tried to get it, the other guy tried to get it, but the ball continued to be loose and rolled to a stop, at which time a player five yards away picked up the ball. So, he actually had a clear recovery. So, the challenge was that we had initially ruled it a catch, and that he was down by contact. And, when we looked at it in replay, we saw that, indeed, the ball had come loose. He was not down by contact, and then if there is a clear recovery, then we can reverse it and give the ball to the defense. And that’s what happened.

Q: And, obviously, a key part of that: he, in your eyes, did not retain the ball once it came loose when it came back up he did not —

Wrolstad: He tried to maintain possession, but he did not regain possession.

h/t Mike Jurecki, Fox Sports 910/Phoenix

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)