Referee Jerome Boger and the crew that worked the AFC wild-card game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals are not expected to officiate again this postseason after their problematic performance Saturday highlighted by a controversial whistle.
The NFL grades officials after each game, and Boger and his crew are not expected to receive high marks for Saturday, when they ruled that a whistle occurred after Cincinnati's Tyler Boyd caught a touchdown from Joe Burrow -- although replays appeared to show otherwise.
The league usually takes officials assigned to the divisional round -- not the wild-card round -- to work the Super Bowl. But officials that earn high grades this weekend could and would be under consideration for the Super Bowl.
One league source did not express surprise at Boger's performance; others around the league have commented on it during various points of the season, and the NFL has received mixed reviews for mixing its officiating crews in postseason games, taking officials from different crews and assigning them to work together.
Boyd's touchdown gave Cincinnati a 20-6 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the first half Saturday. Burrow rolled right to avoid pressure and threw from close to the sideline. Play continued despite an erroneous whistle by an official, who thought Burrow stepped out of bounds. Boyd caught the 10-yard pass in the back of the end zone, and the play counted despite protests from the Raiders, who cited the rule that the ball should be returned to the previous spot.
NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson said after the game that Boger and his crew "did not feel that the whistle was blown before the receiver caught the ball."
"We confirmed with the referee and the crew that on that play -- they got together and talked -- they determined that they had a whistle, but that the whistle for them on the field was blown after the receiver caught the ball," Anderson said, according to a pool report.
Inadvertent and/or erroneous whistles are not reviewable under the NFL's current instant replay rules.
"In the moment, we didn't know because we heard a whistle," Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said. "The ref said he was out, and then they said it was a touchdown -- and then there was no review. So we were just like, 'All right,' so we just kept going. We had our opportunities. We just didn't capitalize."
Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia echoed Crosby's sentiments, saying he had "no problems with the officiating today."
The Bengals held off the Raiders' late rally for a 26-19 victory, their first postseason win in 31 years.
ESPN's Paul Gutierrez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.