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NFL Press Box Official Overrules Call on Field, Then He Overrules Himself

August 24, 1986|RICH ROBERTS

The new National Football League rule allowing an official in the press box to overrule the officials on the field held up the game between the Rams and the San Diego Chargers for six minutes late in the third quarter at Anaheim Stadium Saturday night.

After San Diego tight end Pete Holohan caught an eight-yard pass from Mark Herrmann, Ram cornerback Jerry Gray stripped the ball loose, and safety Nolan Cromwell picked it up and returned it 13 yards to the Charger 31-yard line. Field judge Jack Vaughan ruled the pass incomplete, but official Joe Gardi in the press box beeped umpire Rex Stuart on the field to hold up play while Gardi studied a TV replay.

Gardi then informed referee Jerry Seeman via walkie-talkie that the pass was complete. But as the Ram offense lined up, Gardi watched another replay and overruled himself. Again he beeped Stuart, then conferred by radio with Seeman, who announced to the crowd: "After further re-run, it was determined that it was an incomplete pass."

Still, the officials didn't seem to know what to do with the ball, and after more discussion Seeman announced: "It will be fourth down. The ball was ruled an incomplete pass."

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