Calvin Ridley Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton (14) pressures as Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) catches the ball but is ruled an incomplete pass during the fourth quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-7. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

In Sunday’s Baltimore Ravens-Jacksonville Jaguars game, a non-touchdown call became a more significant story due to its fantasy football implications. However, the more critical issue here is Terry McAulay’s stance on what everyone at home thought should be a touchdown.

With the Jaguars losing 23-7 and only four minutes left in the game, a pass from Trevor Lawrence to Calvin Ridley in the back of the end zone was ruled incomplete.

Jaguars coach Doug Pederson challenged the call, and the replays showed that Ridley had caught the ball but had juggled it before bringing it into his chest. Upon further review, it seemed that Ridley had gotten his right knee down in bounds before his left foot touched out of bounds. According to the NFL rulebook, one knee being down is counted the same as two feet being down.

The officials didn’t see that way, much to the dismay of McAulay.

Now, McAulay has offered a refreshing perspective to the booth this season. It’s not that he hasn’t in prior years. Still, he’s seemingly been willing to have spirited debates with his colleague Cris Collinsworth, in addition to calling a spade and spade, like when he criticized the officiating in the Green Bay Packers-Kansas City Chiefs game earlier this season.

On Sunday, McAulay again rose to the occasion. The league office in New York checked in with the NBC rules analyst, who vehemently disagreed with a call of no touchdown.

“They’re telling me they just did not believe it was clear and obvious. And like I said, I just disagree,” said McAulay. “We’ve looked at all the shots, we’ve pieced them together; knee’s down with control — we have a touchdown.”

Ask Mike Tirico pointed out that “clear and obvious” is the standard, where the fine line comes in. It may have been clear and obvious to McAulay and the viewers at home, but the league office didn’t see it that way.

This adds another layer to the ongoing discussions about officiating in the NFL and the challenges of consistently interpreting and applying review standards. While McAulay was passionate in his assertion that the replay footage provided and stitched together by NBC was enough to constitute a touchdown, the League office disagreed. Of course, we understand that it has to be “clear and obvious” to overturn the call on the field, but that’s not the design of instant replay. Replay is in place to get the call right, which again fell short of that standard.

Good on McAulay for his willingness to express a dissenting perspective compared to the league’s. That can’t be said of every rules analyst, but McAulay was candid about Sunday’s ordeal.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.