NFL correction, without corrective action, should be no consolation to Ravens fans

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks about the penalty that wasn't called that would have ended the game against Jacksonville. (Kevin Richardson)

Just guessing, but I don't think the Ravens or their fans feel any better about Sunday's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars now that the NFL has said that the Ravens should have gotten their third win of the season because of a game-ending Jags penalty.

That just makes it worse.


The Jaguars won the game on a 53-yard field goal that was kicked on a final, untimed down after the clock had run out because the officiating crew didn't bother to call Jacksonville for a fairly obvious illegal procedure penalty.

So, if it was so obvious to the NFL, why doesn't the league have the ability to correct that error by changing the records of the two teams?


A league spokesman said the Jacksonville Jaguars should have been called for a false start penalty on their final offensive snap, which would have ended the game and given the Ravens a win.

Sound ridiculous? I don't think so. Major League Baseball has a scarcely-used provision for protesting and correcting bad calls that directly affect the outcome of games. That protest system wouldn't work in football because NFL teams can't be brought back together to continue the game from the point of the bad decision, but there's no reason why the league cannot reverse a score when there is no real opportunity for any further change in it.

Obviously, the wise guys in Vegas wouldn't be too happy about that, but they can simply make it clear to bettors that the score that stands at the end of the game is the official score for payoff purposes. If the NFL overturns the final score on Monday, tough luck.

(Remember, the NFL is against all forms of gambling on its games. That's why just 15 of the 32 teams signed sponsorship deals with real-money fantasy company FanDuel last April.)

This isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened. There have been two very obvious instances over the past few seasons that have handed victories to the Seattle Seahawks that were reviewed and ruled incorrect by the league.

The Baltimore Ravens are on the brink of collapse after a last-second loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 10 of the NFL season.

This time, at least, it involved two 2-6 teams and probably won't impact the playoff hunt.

No, wait. The victory moved the Jags to within one game of first place in the totally sub-.500 AFC South.

"There's nothing we can do about it now,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on Monday.

Actually, there's plenty the NFL could do about it. The league could improve its officiating by having full-time crews. The league could also expand the replay system to make anything reviewable that impacts a game in the final two minutes of play, even if it requires a 20-minute meeting among the replay officials in New York to re-read the rulebook and make sure everybody is on the same page.

Sorry if that makes for a ragged transition from the early games to the late games on television, but the networks can move on if they want to and just report the outcome during the second game ... or break into the ensuing programming for a minute to report any change.

Face mask penalty on Ravens' Elvis Dumervil gives Jacksonville one last chance to win and the Jaguars take advantage.

We've been hearing for years from the suits that run the NFL that it's all about getting the calls right. And they keep getting it wrong.

But hey, the Ravens really won that game.

Don't you feel better now?


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