Trindon Holliday returned a punt for 76-yards during the Denver Broncos game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The refs on the field ruled that Holliday had scored a touchdown, but the league said today that the TD was actually a touchback.
The score of the game won’t be changed, but the league did admit that the refs made a mistake.
The Broncos punt returner raced past the defense toward the endzone on Sunday, but, before he reached the goal line, he flipped the ball into the end zone. The ball left his hand before it crossed the goal line and should have been ruled a touchback.
The NFL said in a statement:
“Because the video showed that Holliday lost possession of the ball before it broke the plane of the goal line, Boylston should have stopped the game to initiate an instant replay review. Had that occurred, Riveron would have had the indisputable visual evidence necessary to overturn the on-field ruling. The result of the play should have been a touchback — not a touchdown — with Carolina gaining possession at the 20 yard-line.”
ESPN reports that the Broncos won by more than 7 points, but the game would have played out much differently if the Broncos TD was ruled a touchback.
“I thought I was actually in end zone this week but I wasn’t … Coach (John Fox) told me next time, just bring in the ball.”
The outcome of the game isn’t the only thing that may have changed due to the incorrect call on the field. Carolina special teams coordinator Brian Murphy was fired the day after the game. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that Murphy was fired due to “philosophical differences and productivity.”