Boomer Esiason Boomer Esiason

During Sunday night’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason made a pretty bold claim about the officiating of one of the game’s most pivotal plays. However, it does not appear that he was actually correct in his assessment.

In the second quarter of the game, the Niners scored on a trick play after wide receiver Jauan Jennings caught a pass in the backfield and threw the ball to the other side of the field to running back Christian McCaffrey who the pass and strolled in for a touchdown. But Esiason claimed that the play should not have counted.

During halftime, the CBS analyst claimed that Niners center Jake Brendel should have been flagged for an illegal man downfield penalty on the, nullifying the touchdown.

“By the way, Jake Brendel – the center for the San Francisco 49ers – should have been called for an illegal man downfield,” Esiason said. “This touchdown should not have counted.”


But Esiason’s claim does not appear to be correct.

For starters, since McCaffrey caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, it would not matter if Brendel was downfield. More than that, the NFL rule book states that “ineligible pass receivers can advance more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage … provided that they do not block or contact a defensive player.”

In this case, Brendel was clearly behind the line of scrimmage when the pass was released, McCaffrey clearly caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, and Brendel did not block or contact any defensive player.

Making matters worse, nobody else on the CBS crew ever responded to this assertion by Esiason, allowing the incorrect claim to go unaddressed for the rest of the game.

Had Esiason been correct, it would have been a major storyline as a mistake from the officials would have directly led to the only touchdown of the first half of the Super Bowl. But since he was incorrect, the broadcast wrongly led fans to believe the touchdown should not have counted.

[Craig R. Brittain]