The play was ruled a touchdown, but ex-NFL referee and current CBS rules expert Gene Steratore said cornerback Pat Surtain should have been awarded an interception instead.
The game’s referee, Alex Kemp, explained his crew’s decision in an interview with PFWA pool reporter Jeff Legwold after the game.
“We ruled on the field that the Green Bay receiver controlled the ball while airborne and came to the ground and never lost control of the ball and therefore, by rule, it is a touchdown,” Kemp said.
Kemp went on to say that Surtain’s feet hitting the ground first has no impact on the play’s ruling. NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson also told Legwold that the scoring play was reviewed in New York and they agreed with Kemp’s decision.
Kemp also said that “simultaneous possession” did not come into play.
“That’s not what we ruled on the field,” Kemp said. “But had we ruled that on the field, it would still be a touchdown. By rule, simultaneous possession is a touchdown, or is a catch by the receiver.”
Touchdown or interception? You decide:
Unreal this from both Romeo Doubs and Pat Surtain II pic.twitter.com/1UqWwTzdok
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) October 22, 2023
Kemp and Steratore clearly aren’t on the same page. Fortunately, the play did not end up deciding the game as the Broncos held on to win 19-17.