Referee Jerome Boger and crew, who edited the AFC wildcard game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals, are not expected to officiate again this postseason after their troubled performance was highlighted by a controversial whistle on Saturday would.
NFL class officials after each game, and Boger and his crew are unlikely to get high marks for Saturday when they ruled a whistle came after Cincinnati’s Tyler Boyd caught a touchdown from Joe Burrow — though replays say otherwise seemed to show.
The league typically takes on officers assigned to the divisional round — not the wildcard round — to handle the Super Bowl. But officials earning good grades this weekend could and would be considered for the Super Bowl.
A league source expressed no surprise at Boger’s performance; others in the league have commented at various points in the season, and the NFL has received mixed reviews for mixing up its officiating teams in postseason games, taking officials from different teams, and using them to work together.
Boyd’s touchdown gave Cincinnati a 20-6 lead by almost two minutes in Saturday’s first half. Burrow rolled to the right to avoid pressure and threw from near the touchline. Play continued despite a mistaken whistle from an official who thought Burrow had stepped out of bounds. Boyd caught the 10-yard pass in the back of the endzone and the game counted despite protests from the Raiders, who cited the rule that the ball should be returned to the previous spot.
Acting NFL vice president Walt Anderson said after the game that Boger and his crew “didn’t feel like the whistle was blown before the receiver caught the ball.”
“We confirmed with the referee and crew that on that game – they got together and talked – they found that they had a whistle, but that the whistle was blown for them on the field after the receiver caught the ball ‘ Anderson said, according to a pool report.
Accidental and/or erroneous whistle calls cannot be reviewed under current NFL Instant Replay rules.
“We didn’t know at the moment because we heard a whistle,” said Raiders defender Maxx Crosby. “The referee said he was out and then they said it was a touchdown – and then there was no scoring. So we just said ‘okay’ so we just kept going. We had our chances. don’t capitalize.”
Raiders caretaker coach Rich Bisaccia echoed Crosby’s sentiments, saying he had “no problems in charge today.”
The Bengals held off the Raiders’ late rally for a 26-19 win, their first postseason win in 31 years.
ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.