The Seattle Seahawks lost in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday, dropping their season finale to the San Francisco 49ers, 26-21.
But in typical fashion, the Seahawks primetime contest wasn't without controversy. On 3rd-and-goal from the 49ers 5-yard line with just :15 left in the game, needing a touchdown to win, Russell Wilson threw an incomplete pass to Jacob Hollister. There was plenty of contact between Hollister and 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, potentially enough to warrant defensive pass interference. Any review would have had to be triggered by the replay booth as the game was in the final two minutes. The game wasn't stopped, indicating that there was no review of the play.
However, the NFL's vice president of officiating Al Riveron said otherwise in a pool report conducted postgame. He said there was indeed a review, but there wasn't enough evidence to stop the game and conduct a more extensive review. Here is his full statement:
"Well, we actually looked at it here in New York. We had a great look. NBC gives us a great look of the entire route. So, we actually did perform a review, but based on what we saw, we didn't see enough to stop the game. But we did review it. What we see is, we see the offensive player come in and initiate contact on the defensive player -- nothing that rises to the level of a foul which significantly hinders the defender, nothing that is clear and obvious through visual evidence, which hinders the defender. The defender then braces himself. And there is contact then by the defender on the receiver. Again, nothing which rises to the level of a foul based on visual evidence. Nothing happens that rises to the level of a foul while the ball is in the air before it gets there by either player."
“Decide for yourself” indeed, because the booth won’t look at it even after implementing a rule to do just that. pic.twitter.com/ommFWiSyY9— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 30, 2019
Pete Carroll said he hadn't seen the replay yet during his postgame presser. He did make it known that there were plenty of individuals in the Seahawks locker room who believed it was an obvious pass interference.
"I just saw it live and in color," Carroll said. "I didn't see a replay of it, but everybody else has an opinion on it."
On the ensuing play -- 4th-and-goal from the 5-yard line -- Wilson completed a pass to Hollister, but the tight end was stopped inches shy of the goal line by 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw. It was a heartbreaking defeat and as a result, Seattle will travel to play the Eagles in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs.
There's a good chance that the 49ers and Seahawks meet again in the Divisional Round. That would happen with a Seahawks win and a Vikings loss next weekend. It's only fitting that there's a trilogy of contests this season. A potential rubber match would send the winner to the NFC Championship Game.