NFL's Explanation of the New York Jets' ASJ Overturned TD Insults Everybody's Intelligence
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 15: Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #88 of the New York Jets is seen fumbling the ball after what was originally called a touchdown against strong safety Duron Harmon #30 and cornerback Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter of their game at MetLife Stadium on October 15, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Replay Official reviewed the runner broke the plane ruling, and the play was reversed and called a fumble. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The explanations from the NFL regarding the New York Jets overturned touchdown on Sunday make many believe they’re making it up as they go along. 

This is bad. And what’s worse is the National Football League is doubling-down on the horrendous call.

Instead of admitting epic failure (or at least one mistake), the league has taken an all-too-familiar stance that we’ve come to know and hold dear to our hearts:

We are right. You are wrong and know nothing about football you minions who make us rich. 

On the other side of things, us poor, retched fans take a shot to the solar-plexus again as it relates to our football intelligence. For the millionth time, they’ve insulted us.

It’s enough to make you bend over and hurl. Forget fandom for a moment. Their explanation not only defies logic, it resets everything we know about “indisputable evidence.”

Of course, we’re referring to the New York Jets overturned touchdown call in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. In the fourth quarter, it looked like Austin Seferian-Jenkins had made it a three-point game by barreling through defenders and into the end-zone:

Here’s what senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron had to say about the controversial play, via Kevin Patra of the

“The last time we had control was by an offensive player, somewhere around the 1 1/2 or the 2 [yard line], never regains control of the football while contacting inbounds. So in that sense, by rule, we have a touchback,” Riveron said. “We might not agree with the rule, we might have situations where we disagree with the rule, but that is the rule. So the rule was enforced correctly.”

Forget the touchback rule. I, for one, disagree with those who don’t like it. It’s a big part of football’s past and brings an element of a wild card into the game. I personally like it.

Riveron says “he never regains control of the ball.” What shot proves that? This is what we’re waiting for. From everything the entire world’s seen, there is convincing evidence that he did, indeed, regain possession after a slight bobble.

He clearly lost the ball for a moment. That’s something nobody can argue. But nothing from what anybody’s seen can definitely tell us if he did or did not regain control after that.

Here’s what referee Tony Corrente had to say to a pool reporter Bob Glauber following the contest:

“The final shot that we saw was from the end zone that showed the New York Jets’ runner, we’ll call him a runner at that point, with the football starting to go toward the ground. He lost the ball,” Corrente said. “It came out of his control as he was almost to the ground. Now he re-grasps the ball and by rule, now he has to complete the process of a recovery which means he has to survive the ground again. So in recovering it, he recovered, hit the knee, started to roll and the ball came out a second time. So the ball started to move in his hands this way… he’s now out of bounds in the end zone, which now created a touchback. So he didn’t survive the recovery and didn’t survive the ground during the recovery is what happened here.”

“Had the ball not come loose and he had crossed the goal line and he had possession and started to roll on his back, that would have been the touchdown,” Corrente said. “But because he lost the ball on his way to the ground the first time and had to re-grasp, that means now it’s a loose ball. He has to have control and survive the ground in the process of the recovery or, as we say, the process of the catch. So that’s what that was about.”

Corrente says the runner lost the ball. This is correct. He then re-grasps the ball. This is also correct. He then claims he was in bounds with the ball in his hands, but lost control again after he was already out of bounds.

He didn’t survive the recovery. How is this possible? There are no more angles in addition to what we’ve all seen. (If there were, it would have come out already. The NFL isn’t that stupid.) And from all of the angles, it’s impossible to tell if he regained or didn’t regain possession.

Corrente is acting like he was waiting for ASJ to prove to him that he recovered the ball after losing it. Why? Shouldn’t the play need to prove that he definitely (100 percent without a shadow of a doubt) didn’t regain control since the call on the field was a TD?

I mean I may just be one of the simpler folks the NFL looks down upon, but that sort of makes sense to me.

From the look and feel of it, what they’re doing is taking the “indisputable evidence” rule and magically applying it to the point in which ADJ lost control of the ball rather than doing the correct thing and abiding by indisputable evidence in relation to the original call on the field. It’s like Corrente was looking for proof to defy the bobble of the ball rather than the touchdown itself.

They harp the fact ASJ lost control. Everybody knows this. In essence, they’re taking that moment, the moment in which the Jets big tight end lost control and starting the clock from there. There’s no other way to interpret it since there’s no legitimate and clear shot of ASJ regaining or losing control of the ball through the play — or as Corrente likes to put it, “surviving the play.”

Doubling the frustration for fans is the fact that the NFL told us they’d start enforcing the “indisputable evidence” rule more heading into the season. We witnessed it all preseason.

The rule is clearly there. What matters least is that ASJ lost control of the ball for a brief moment. That point becomes moot once it’s realized we can’t 100 percent tell if he regained possession and survived the fall.

What matters most is that the replay was so close and so controversial that anything other than going with the call on the field is the wrong decision.

Hey, at least they admitted their mistake. Oh, wait, they didn’t. Yet again, they treated all of us peasants like our eyes are missing the real point.

It’s a terrible look and one that the National Football League is going to regret for a long time to come.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]