The Panthers beat the Patriots 24-20 after a controversial reversed call to end the game. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
When asked about the controversial pass interference no-call that ended Monday night's Patriots-Panthers game, Dean Blandino, the NFL's head of officiating, said he wouldn't downgrade the officials over the situation.
"I wouldn't say they got it wrong," Blandino said, according to ProFootballTalk, Blandino said officials did the right thing in conferring before reversing the call, noting that they made the decision in real time:
"This is a judgment call. The officials don’t have the use of replay. They don’t have slow motion replay and ultimately they ruled that the restriction occurred simultaneously with the ball being touched. When you watch it at full speed, you could see why they would make that call on the field.”
Officials originally called pass interference on the play. After consultation, they decided the ball was uncatchable, allowing the interception to stand. Blandino says that the refs may have waived off the penalty for another reason as well.
"What they’re going to talk about is when did the restriction occur in relation to the ball being touched? Because once the ball is touched, you cannot have pass interference."
Blandino never explicitly endorsed the call during the interview, but he said none of the refs involved would be prevented for working playoff games.