Terry Pegula pulled no punches on Tuesday in discussing the way plays get reviewed in the NFL.
It comes after his Buffalo Bills found themselves on the wrong end of an overturned call in their 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday. After Kelvin Benjamin scored what would’ve been a go-ahead touchdown heading into halftime, the officials reversed their original ruling despite a lack of indisputable video evidence to do so.
Buffalo Bills Owner Terry Pegula Decries Lack of Consistency in NFL Review Process
Speaking on Buffalo area sports talk radio outlet WGR, Pegula offered a critical assessment of the situation.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but we have to fix it,” Pegula said. “I’m not saying this as the owner of the Bills. I’m saying it as a football fan. We can’t have stuff like this happening in our league.”
Pegula likely speaks for a vast majority of NFL fans in lambasting the abject lack of consistency in the overall review process. What transpired at the end of the first half in Sunday’s game manifested itself as a perfect example.
“It just wasn’t consistent,” he continued. “Replay was developed by this league to correct obvious mistakes. If you’ve got to look at a play 30 times from five different angles and keep looking at it and looking at it and looking at it, you go with the call on the field. It’s what the league’s been doing ever since replay started.”
This is the second time in as many weeks that New England was the beneficiary of an opponent’s touchdown getting nullified. In week 15, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James appeared to score what likely would’ve been a game-winning touchdown with 28 seconds left. But the officials reversed their initial ruling instead of letting the play stand as called due to scant visual evidence. Two plays later, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception in the end zone that clinched the game for the Pats.
The 66-year-old Bills owner is willing to help spur dialogue with the league on this matter. But he’s also far from reticent to engage in a little mudslinging if that’s what it takes.
“Well, you know, if it’s unfriendly from the other side, I can dish back unfriendly too,” he emphasized. “Because it’s a little upsetting.”
The NFL certainly has a perception problem on its hands with regard to what constitutes a catch. Whether it’s ruling Dez Bryant‘s catch in the 2014 playoffs incomplete or reversing their original decision on Benjamin’s completion Sunday, inconsistency abounds. So what needs to be done? Should the competition committee tweak the wording of the rules so as to make them less ambiguous? What’s readily apparent is that this issue needs a fair bit of attention in the coming off-season. And if Pegula wants to channel his inner Jerry Jones by becoming a thorn in the side of Roger Goodell in trying to rectify things, by golly have at it.