The bad spot the New York Giants got on the pass reception pictured above isn't particularly noteworthy. Spotting the ball on bang-bang plays is often a spatial guessing game and, as a result, there are a handful of placements per game that are off by a few feet. It's what happened after this spot that angered Giants fans.
Head linesman Phil McKinnely spotted the Hakeem Nicks catch nearly one yard behind where New York receiver had his forward progress stopped. That placement brought up a third-and-one for the Giants that was close enough for a measurement.
It never came. Nor did the Giants seem to ask for one. On Fox's broadcast, analyst Troy Aikman was baffled by both decisions but admitted that it wouldn't have mattered either way. McKinnely's spot was far enough back that bringing out the chains would only have confirmed the third down.
What it might have done, however, was give more time to the replay booth to realize that McKinnely's spot was incorrect. The play took place with under two minutes in the first half, meaning all reviews were up to officials. In the Giants' haste to get off that third-and-one play, the pager of referee Carl Cheffers never buzzed.
Blame lies with the officials on the field and in the booth, though the Giants didn't help their case at all. The team can't compel officials to measure a spot or the replay booth to call for a review. They can nudge, however. New York had two timeouts remaining in the half. It's understandable that Tom Coughlin didn't want to burn one of them; he figured his team would get the first down and need them later. In hindsight though, Coughlin should have used the timeout and worked officials to measure the spot, or raised enough ruckus to get the booth to review the catch. Had he done the latter, the call on the field almost certainly would have been overturned.