NFL's officiating exec gives puzzling explanation on erroneous whistle during Bengals touchdown

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow made an incredible touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd to help put the team up two touchdowns before halftime. Burrow scrambled to his right and threw across his body to connect with Boyd in the end zone. After the extra point, Cincinnati was up 20-6.

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Wide receiver Tyler Boyd #83 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates catching a second quarter touchdown pass with teammates Joe Mixon #28 and Ja'Marr Chase #1 against the Las Vegas Raiders during the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Wide receiver Tyler Boyd #83 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates catching a second quarter touchdown pass with teammates Joe Mixon #28 and Ja’Marr Chase #1 against the Las Vegas Raiders during the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

However, the play became the source of controversy as it appeared an official blew a whistle as Burrow was near the sideline. It appeared it was possible that Burrow was out of bounds before he threw the ball but subsequent replays showed he was well in bounds before firing off the pass. A whistle sounded while the ball was in the air.

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Jan 15, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) catches a pass in the end zone against the Las Vegas Raiders in the first half in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium.

Jan 15, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) catches a pass in the end zone against the Las Vegas Raiders in the first half in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. (Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)

The referees ruled the play a touchdown and the call stood following a replay. The officials didn’t address the whistle that was heard. Because the whistle wasn’t addressed, fans wondered whether if they actually heard the sound or if they were just dreaming it.

The NFL’s senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson gave a puzzling explanation about when the whistle blew, claiming it came after the touchdown scored. The explanation would contradict what nearly every fan watching the game on television heard.

“We confirmed with the referee and the crew that on that play — they got together and talked — they determined that they had a whistle, but that the whistle for them on the field was blown after the receiver caught the ball,” Anderson said, per a pool report.

Anderson added the officials, “did not feel the whistle was blown before the receiver caught the ball.”

Jan 15, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) celebrates with fans after a touchdown by wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium.

Jan 15, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) celebrates with fans after a touchdown by wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. (Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)

When asked where the whistle came from, Anderson said one of the officials on the field blew the whistle inadvertently. He didn’t say who blew the whistle.

Las Vegas would score on the next drive but ultimately lost the game 26-19.

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