It might not have changed the final score, but Panthers receiver Jerricho Cotchery’s non-catch in the first quarter of Super Bowl 50 could have been ruled a catch, according to new information from Inside the NFL.
With seven minutes left in the first quarter, Cotchery fell to the ground as he scrambled to recover a 20-yard pass from Cam Newton. The pass was ruled incomplete, and the call was upheld after the Panthers’ challenge.
In a conversation between official Clete Blakeman and Panthers coach Ron Rivera, which aired on this week’s Inside the NFL, Blakeman confirms to Rivera that if the pass had originally been called complete, it would not have been overturned on replay.
“We’re gonna go stands,” Blakeman said. “There was not enough confirmation. We couldn’t overturn it.”
Clete Blakeman: “There was not enough confirmation...”
Ron Rivera: “That’s the problem with there’s not enough confirmation, he had his hand under the ball.”
CB: “We couldn't overturn it because...”
RR: “Right—if we had called it complete it’d stay complete right?”
Two plays later, Newton was strip-sacked by Broncos linebacker Von Miller, and Malik Jackson recovered the ball to score the first touchdown of the game. The Panthers never made up the deficit, and the Broncos went on to win, 24–10.
The NFL has formed a six-person committee tasked with reviewing the current definition of a catch this off-season, but NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino does not expect any rules to be changed.
- Erin Flynn