The NFL admits it made a mistake that may have cost the Washington Redskins a win on Sunday.
With 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams scampered for a 30-yard touchdown. But as the Yahoo! Sports blog Shutdown Corner notes, there was one problem — the whistle blew before he reached the endzone.
The inadvertent whistle came as Williams was near the 17-yard line, close to going out of bounds. When Redskins linebacker Perry Riley heard the whistle, he backed off rather than push Williams further out of bounds, and the running back kept going straight into the endzone.
While it’s not that often the NFL admits a mistake, the officiating crew itself didn’t note anything unusual when reviewing the play. The officials huddled on the field to discuss the play before awarding a touchdown to the Panthers, and referee Carl Cheffers said after the game that Williams was already in the endzone when the whistle was blown.
On Monday the NFL admits its mistake in a statement that clarified what should have happened: “By rule, Carolina should have been given a choice of putting the ball in play where Williams was ruled to have stepped out of bounds — first and 10 from the Washington 17 — or replaying the down — first and 10 from the Washington 30.”
Though the NFL admits its mistake in the game, the damage is already done for the Redskins and possibly the nation. The winner of the final Washington Redskins game before Election Day has predicted the election winner every year since 1940, with the exception of 2004, with the incumbent party winning when the Redskins do.