Steelers News

Flag-Happy Corrente Officiating Crew To Referee Steelers-Patriots Game

The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field and now that the officiating crew for that contest has been announced, be prepared to see a lot of penalties called during the game.

According to Rick Gosselin of, the NFL has assigned referee Tony Corrente and his officiating crew to Sunday’s AFC showdown game between the Patriots and Steelers. As Gosselin points out, Corrente and his crew have assessed 203 penalties this season, tops in the NFL, and officiated over three of the four highest penalty games of 2017.

While the the Corrente officiating crew has yet to referee a Steelers game this season, they did work the one between the Patriots and New York Jets way earlier in the season. In case you forgot, that was the game that featured Corrente announcing the decision to overturn the fourth quarter touchdown scored by Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Not only was the touchdown denied, it was also ruled that Seferian-Jenkins fumbled the ball out of bounds through the end zone for a touchback, giving the ball back to the Patriots.

Ater the game was over and the Patriots had won, Corrente defended his crew’s decision to overturn the touchdown and give the Patriots the football.

“The final shot we saw was from the end zone that showed the New York Jets’ runner, we’ll call him a runner at that point, with the football starting to go toward the ground,” Corrente said to a pool reporter. “He lost the ball. It came out of his control as he was almost to the ground. Now he re-grasps the ball and by rule, now he has to complete the process of recovery, which means he has to survive the ground again. So in recovering it, he recovered, hit the knee, started to roll and the ball came out a second time. So the ball started to move in his hands this way … he’s now out of bounds in the end zone, which now created a touchback. So he didn’t survive the recovery and didn’t survive the ground during the recovery is what happened here.”

Not that it matters, but Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating, said while the play was being reviewed that he didn’t believe there was enough evidence to warrant overturning the original touchdown call on the field.

Sunday will mark the second time during his career that a Corrente-led crew has officiated a game between the Patriots and Steelers. The previous time was in Week 1 of the 2002 regular season and that game, which was played at Gillette Stadium, was won by the Patriots and there were 20 accepted penalties for 200 yards during the contest with the Steelers being flagged 13 times for 122 yards.

Are you ready for some flag football Sunday at Heinz Field? I hope so.

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