Seahawks receiver Golden Tate (81) catches a controversial 24-yard touchdown pass as Packers players try to intercept it (Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)
(WUSA) -- The National Football League says it reviewed the video from the controversial Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks game from Monday night and that it "supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review."
With less than five seconds left in the game, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary. Receiver Golden Tate came down with the ball and the winning touchdown. But the replay showed that Tate pushed off, which should have been a flag. It also showed the Packer defender had actually intercepted the ball, but the referee signaled that it was a TD.
The play gave the Seahawks the come-from-behind 14 to 12 victory.
The NFL says the following rules apply in this case:
"A player (or players) jumping in the air has not legally gained possession of the ball until he satisfies the elements of a catch listed here.
Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3 of the NFL Rule Book defines a catch:
A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:
(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and
(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and
(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).
When a player (or players) is going to the ground in the attempt to catch a pass, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 states:
Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.
Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 5 states:
Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball."
You can see more about the NFL's decision here: http://on.wusa9.com/OSgasS