Fans versus referees is a rivalry as old as time. Oftentimes, fans who have just watched their team lose will turn to the refs as a last-ditch effort to cope with the reality. Most of the time, it’s off base or a little far-fetched. However, the fans are not wrong every time.
Sunday afternoon was one of the rare moments where a ref may have gotten it wrong and actually admitted to the fact. Former long-time NFL referee and current rules expert for CBS, Gene Steratore, took to the internet to give his opinion on a call in the Denver Broncos versus Green Bay Packers game.
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Gene Steratore Admits to Mistake
During the third quarter, Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs wrestled the ball away from Denver cornerback Patrick Surtain II in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. At first glance, Steratore thought the play should have been ruled an interception and took to social media to voice his opinion on the call.
IMO in #GBvsDEN, the DB fulfilled the process of the catch before the WR did. After the defender possessed the ball, both of his feet and then his knee were down in-bounds prior to the WR’s.
This would make this play an interception.
— Gene Steratore (@GeneSteratore) October 22, 2023
“The DB fulfilled the process of the catch before the WR did. After the defender possessed the ball, both of his feet and then his knee were down in-bounds prior to the WR’s. This would make this play an interception.”
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However, after further review, Steratore took to social media to admit to the masses that he may have gotten it wrong after all.
No matter what you do, owning up and taking accountability is how you get better. My interpretation of the play in #GBvsDEN was incorrect. I overthought it and just missed it.
As a ref (whether grade school or pro), you learn the most from the <5% of calls that you miss.
— Gene Steratore (@GeneSteratore) October 24, 2023
“No matter what you do, owning up and taking accountability is how you get better. My interpretation of the play in #GBvsDEN was incorrect. I overthought it and just missed it.”
Those are strong words from the former referee, who took accountability and spoke with humility after originally providing a wrong opinion. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a referee — even if since retired — be able to own up to a mistake and speak with such humility.
NFL Referee’s Continue To Be Scrutinized
Whether it’s fair or not, NFL officiating is under a microscope. With more eyes, technology, and more platforms than ever to talk about and dissect officiating and their mishaps, the job has arguably never been harder for the men in stripes.
While they have, by and large, been a quality group, the idea that calls have been missed or incorrectly applied seems to be on the rise. Whether that’s due to the implementation or the eyes on them now, it’s certainly a problem the NFL and their fans are aware of.