Al Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, said Monday it was "clear and obvious" to overturn New York Jets tight end's Austin Seferian-Jenkins' touchdown catch in the fourth quarter Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Riveron, speaking on a media conference call, explained his controversial replay decision, which his predecessors disagreed with and drew criticism from the Jets.
Riveron said the ball was loose when Seferian-Jenkins went airborne and was contacted by a defender, making it a fumble. By rule, a player has to re-establish possession before he hits anything out of bounds, and the Jets tight end didn't do so as he crashed through one corner of the end zone.
Riveron said "clear and obvious" is the standard that is used to overturn any call and "this definitely met that criteria."
Riveron said the competition committee this offseason likely will examine the rule that gives the defense the ball when the offense loses it out of the end zone, but that as the rule currently stands it was applied correctly.
"This has been something that has been brought forth to the competition committee on numerous occasions, and I'm sure we'll talk about it again. We might not agree with the rule, but that is the rule, so the rule was enforced correctly," he said.
Seferian-Jenkins' overturned touchdown came with 8:24 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Jets trailing 24-14. Because the ball was ruled to be a fumble out of bounds, the play resulted in a touchback and the Jets losing possession. The Patriots won 24-17.
Former officiating czars Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino, who are both analysts for Fox Sports, said Sunday they would not have overturned the score.
"I really have no comment on that; that's really just their judgment," Riveron said, when asked to respond to their comments.
Riveron said he judged the call based on the same angles the audience of the CBS broadcast had access to.
"Anything that we get in the command center we get directly from the TV feed. That's what we base our decision on," he said.
Seferian-Jenkins acknowledged Sunday that he bobbled the ball, but said he still felt it should've counted as a touchdown.
"I feel like I scored," he said. "But at the end of the day, that's what the ref called. I'm going to go with what the ref said. They make the calls and I have to have better ball security."
Several of his Jets teammates weren't as forgiving.
"I'm pretty sure everybody is going to look back and say that was a B.S. call," wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said.
Jets coach Todd Bowles was ready to move on from the play Monday.
"There's nothing else to talk about. They're not changing the call. We're not winning the ballgame. I don't give two shakes about it," he told reporters on a conference call.
"That wasn't the reason we lost the game. We've moved on from that. It doesn't change. We're not going to cry about it all week. We've got to go play Miami," he said.
ESPN's Rich Cimini contributed to this report.