Did this short Eagles punt hit the Skycam wire? Officials couldn't decide
An already bizarre NFC championship game got even weirder.
The Philadelphia Eagles caught the first big officiating break of Sunday's NFC championship.
The next one appeared to go in favor of the San Francisco 49ers on a bizarre play where an Eagles punt appeared to hit a Skycam wire.
With 15 seconds left in the first quarter, the Eagles punted from their own 26-yard line. Brett Kern's punt traveled just 34 yards to set the 49ers up in prime field position. Making matters worse for Philadelphia, an illegal use of hands penalty tacked on 10 yards for San Francisco. The punt and the penalty added up to a net of 24 yards that gave San Francisco possession at the 50-yard line.
But Kern and his Eagles teammates protested. Video replay showed Kern pointing up and clearly mouthing "the wire." Kern contested that his punt hit the Skycam wire and sent the ball tumbling back to the ground well short of where it would have otherwise. If that was the case, the Eagles would have had the opportunity to punt the ball again.
Officials took a look. But referee John Hussey ultimately announced that "we cannot confirm whether the ball hit the wire or not."
Here's the wide replay that shows the ball turning end over end as it traveled back to the turf. Should the Eagles have been allowed to punt again?
— not highlight heaven (@ABsneurosurgeon) January 29, 2023
Fortunately for Philadelphia, the 49ers couldn't capitalize. San Francisco's ensuing drive gained just six yards before a 49ers punt. Quarterback Brock Purdy was injured on a previous possession, and the 49ers struggled to move the ball with backup Josh Johnson.
Tack on an opening-drive Eagles touchdown that shouldn't have counted, and it added up to a very weird first quarter with a Super Bowl berth at stake.