BALTIMORE -- No one involved in Cleveland's 33-30 overtime defeat of Baltimore could remember an ending as bizarre or extraordinary -- with officials reversing themselves on a critical call without the benefit of replay.
"But they made the right decision, and I'm happy about that," said Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating.
|Pete Morelli and his crew make their boss proud. (Getty Images)|
While the Ravens did not dispute the field goal, they did dispute how Morelli's crew reversed itself. In particular, the club drew attention to a video that showed Morelli putting on headphones following Dawson's apparent miss -- presumably to confer with replay official Howard Slavin.
So what? So field goals aren't reviewable. No matter what replays show, field goals are not subject to review. So if that's the case, the Ravens wondered, what was Morelli doing on the headphones?
"He was talking to Howard Slavin," said Pereira, who spoke to Slavin and Morelli afterward, "and he was told it was not a reviewable play. He wanted to make sure."
Slavin then returned to his crew, consulted with officials and changed the call after back judge Keith Ferguson said he saw the ball hit the support.
"It was a ruling by one of the officials, not by me," Morelli told a pool reporter. "One of the officials signaled incomplete, no good. The other official informed me the ball hit the back of the extension of the goal post, which is the backside of it, which is an object beyond the goal post. And, in discussion with the three of us, we had to figure what the ruling was. Whether the ball hit the bar beyond the extension or not."
Asked if he received help from the replay booth he said he did not.
"I didn't go under the hood or use replay at all," he said.
Which, Pereira said, was true. When officials sorted things out they emerged with the right call, and while that may not make the Ravens or their fans happy it seems to have met the approval of the league office.
"They obviously made the right call," said Baltimore wide receiver Derrick Mason. "They discussed it, and we just had to run back out and play. It was just weird. That's all you can say. It was a weird situation."