Too slow: Rob Gronkowski’s grab not reviewed by poky NFL
DENVER (AP) — The NFL spent a lot of time and effort in the offseason simplifying what constitutes a catch and trying to make the game safer with new rules that require both offensive and defensive players to use their heads and not their helmets. Blunders, however, are here to stay. Take Rob Gronkowski’s spectacular 28-yard catch between two Texans defenders — which maybe wasn’t really a catch — that set up a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half, giving the Patriots a 21-6 lead on their way to a 27-20 victory Sunday.
The catch stood as called, not because NFL headquarters confirmed the reception upon review, but because the league didn’t buzz the officials on the field fast enough to stop the next snap so they could further scrutinize Gronk’s grab.
“New York did get back to us,” referee Tony Corrente said. “However, unfortunately, they didn’t get the game officials on the field until after the (next) play had already started.” Crucially, the catch/non-catch stood as called. Houston coach Bill O’Brien, who would have been penalized for throwing his red challenge flag inside the 2-minute warning, could have called timeout to allow the league office more time. But he said he didn’t have a good view of the play himself.