The work of the officiating crew in the final seconds of a Ravens’ game is once again under scrutiny.
Cleveland fans weren’t happy Tuesday morning when TV replays seemed to show Ravens safety Anthony Levine lined up in the neutral zone on the field goal attempt that ended up turning into a 64-yard game-winning touchdown by safety Will Hill.
But the NFL announced that the officials got the call right. Levine was lined up correctly and should not have been flagged.
The issue was actually where the ESPN broadcast drew the superimposed line to indicate the line of scrimmage. The video below shows the black line of scrimmage marker drawn at the 33-yard line, but the line of scrimmage was actually the 33-and-a-half yard line.
“The ball was spotted at the 33-and-a-half yard line for the kick,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora wrote to Pro Football Talk in an email. “The center moves the ball up slightly to get in position for the snap. The black line you see, which television uses to denote the line of scrimmage, appears to be at the 33, not the 33-and-a-half. So when the ball is snapped, the defensive player is not at the 33-and-a-half yard line and he appears to be in a legal position.”
NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino also tweeted that Levine was in legal position.
Levine actually had little bearing on the play because defensive end Brent Urban was the one who blocked the 51-yard field goal attempt, and Hill recovered it on the opposite side of the field.
Photos of Hill appearing to step out of bounds as he’s running down the sideline for the touchdown have also circulated, but those angles are inconclusive at showing he actually stepped out of bounds.
The NFL reviews plays after every game to grade the officiating crew, and the league has not shied away from pointing out when the officials have erred. The NFL announced after Baltimore’s Week 10 meeting with Jacksonville that the officiating crew missed a false start penalty that would have ended the game in a Ravens victory.