In one of the more bizarre moments in recent NFL history, the New York Jets saw a touchdown stripped from the scoreboard for virtually no reason.
During the fourth quarter of New York’s 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins appeared to have scored his second touchdown of the game. He hauled in a short pass and dove for the pylon, seemingly scoring a touchdown to trim the deficit to seven. The referees initially ruled it a touchdown.
After a video review — which was presumed to be about the spot of the ball — the officials stated that Seferian-Jenkins fumbled the ball out of the end zone and the Patriots would earn possession after a touchback.
Below is a video of what may be one of the worst replay reviews in NFL history.
This was called a touchdown on the field… then OVERTURNED and ruled fumble and touchback.
— New York Jet Fuel (@NewYorkJetFuel) October 15, 2017
What the officials claimed is that the ball was poked loose and, although Seferian-Jenkins held on to the ball, he did not regain possession until he was out of bounds. What’s befuddling about that is 1) it didn’t really appear that Seferian-Jenkins ever lost possession and 2) there had to be inconclusive video evidence that it was not a touchdown.
Here’s what head referee Tony Corrente said after the game:
“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. 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.”
The call was detrimental to the Jets’ chances of stealing a win from their division rivals and taking over sole possession of first place in the AFC East. On their next offensive possession, the Jets kicked a field goal, which would have tied the game had Seferian-Jenkins’ score held.
New York still had a chance to tie the game at the end, but a turnover on downs on the final drive of the game dropped Gang Green to 3-3 on the season.