In an article from the Tennessean, the NFL admitted that their officials made an error during the sequence that eventually took away the Titans’ recovered onside kick on Sunday against the Rams.
In what would have been a huge, game-changing moment for the Titans, the referees said that the Rams had called a timeout — and then said that they didn’t. A flag was also thrown on the play, which was picked up. Everyone was confused. The officials eventually announced that the ball was never actually put in play, so the play didn’t count. No further explanation was given, leaving everyone totally confused and rightfully upset.
The Titans were forced to re-kick, this time choosing to launch the ball down the field instead. The Tennessean reached out to the league for clarification. Here was their response.
“The officials inadvertently miscommunicated to the Los Angeles sideline that it was a full timeout instead of a 30-second timeout” following Murray’s touchdown, Signora wrote. “When L.A. was not ready for the kickoff due to the miscommunication, the officials decided to shut it down and allow for a re-kick.”
So there you have it. A bold, perfectly executed onside kick that may have allowed the Titans to take control of the football game was irrelevant because a referee didn’t know how long the timeout was supposed to be.
The NFL has some serious evaluating to do with their officiating. First and foremost, they need to figure out what a catch is. The last two weeks have seen controversial calls that have wiped touchdowns from Jesse James and Kelvin Benjamin off the board. They’re making it so much harder than it has to be.
If the Titans end up losing this week to the Jaguars and miss the playoffs, we’ll all look back on this botched onside kick situation, along with the Matt Cassel “fumble” in Miami. I’ll even look back to the Erik Walden interception that was taken away in San Francisco.
You’re going to have bad calls in football — it happens. But it’s happened far too often to the Titans this season.