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NFL officiating chief explains why Hunter Henry touchdown against Vikings was overturned

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By: Bernd Buchmasser

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Related: Patriots vs. Vikings: Controversial call takes Hunter Henry touchdown off the board

One of the biggest plays in the New England Patriots’ 33-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings did actually not count. An apparent touchdown pass from Patriots quarterback Mac Jones to tight end Hunter Henry, that might have put the team up 30-23, was taken off the board on replay.

The ball was ruled to have touched the ground before Henry bobbled the catch. Thus, the plays was ruled incomplete and New England had to settle for a field goal.

After the game, ex-referee and current NFL head of officiating Walt Anderson explained the decision to overturn the play as it was called on the field.

Question: What did you see to determine New England’s Hunter Henry didn’t maintain control?

Anderson: “He was going to the ground, the ball ended up touching the ground and then he lost control of the ball in his hands.”

Question: Can you explain why he wasn’t granted possession before the ball hit the ground?

Anderson: “Because as he’s going to the ground, he has to maintain control of the ball upon contacting the ground. The term that’s commonly used is ‘surviving the ground’ — a lot of people refer to that. So, as he’s going to the ground, he has the elements of two feet and control, but because he’s going to the ground, he has to maintain control of the ball when he does go to the ground.”

Question: He has two hands on it. How much is that factored into this decision, that he had two hands on the ball?

Anderson: “Well, if he had maintained control of the ball with two hands, even if the ball were to touch the ground, if you don’t lose control of the ball after it touches the ground, that would still be a catch.”

Question: Is there anything else that I didn’t ask that is important to add to this discussion?

Anderson: “No, we’ve pretty much covered all the elements of the catch that are required to make it complete.”

“They called what they called,” Henry said in the locker room after the game. “I believe I caught it. But, I mean, they made the call, and just gotta live with it.”

“They said it hit the ground, but my hand was under it — I believe my hand was under the ball. The hand was under the ball with it hitting the ground, that’s what kind of caused [the ball] to jump up.”

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit