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In the final seconds of the Patriots-Steelers showdown Sunday, Pittsburgh tight end Jesse James caught was appeared to be a go-ahead touchdown, before the call was overturned upon review, in the latest example of the NFL’s bizarre and counterintuitive catch rule.

The play, which according to the rules of common sense was clearly a catch, confused many spectators, including Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, who were calling the game for CBS.

When James first dived across the goal line, Nantz and Romo, like the rest of us, thought Pittsburgh had scored. The first two replays did not change the commentators’ minds.

Romo: This is going to stand, unless he got touched.

Nantz: Oh he’s in. He never got touched.

Romo: He’s in for sure.

Even after the referees initiated a review, Nantz and Romo failed to catch on, apparently thinking they were looking to see if James was down before the goal line. Watching yet another replay, Nantz commented, “I don’t know why this is taking so long to review because clearly Harmon is nowhere close to him.”

Around this point, fans began wondering why the commentators were so slow on the uptake.

Of course, you can argue Nantz and Romo’s confusion was less their fault and more the fault of a silly rule.

Nantz and Romo eventually caught on to the question at hand: whether James maintained possession as he fell to the ground.

By the time the call came down, Nantz and Romo had recognized that James did not necessarily complete the catch. That didn’t stop them from sounding surprised when the call was overturned.

We can’t fault Nantz and Romo too much for being a bit slow on this one given how messy the catch rule is and how hectic the end of that game was. Still, it was jarring to see a duo known for seeing the future finish last on this one.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • CreightonRabs

    It shouldn’t have even gotten to that point. Anybody with half a brain could have ruled that was a catch, but, in their idiotic haste to “make things correct” the NFL screwed the Steelers over again. I’d bet that if it was uber-douche Gronkowski, the play would’ve been upheld.

    • PAI

      Yeah, the NFL has a vendetta against the Steelers…

      • Keith P.

        I thought the NFL had a vendetta against the Pats? I’m so confused…

      • CreightonRabs

        Either that or the NFL, despite Deflategate, is kissing up to the Patsies. Three times this season, bad replay decisions have benefited the Beli-cheats, so I can’t be completely shocked by what happened on Sunday.

    • StoJa

      WAAAAHHHH…my team loses so everything is against us! You had TWO more plays after that to score. And didn’t. Grow up, Peter Pan.