The NFL referees have done it again. They ventured into the deepest recesses of the league's rule book, and found a way to screw over a team facing the New England Patriots. With the Patriots up 27-24 with just 56 seconds remaining, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't have the clock on their side with one timeout in their pocket. Then, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had the hometown crowd thinking about stealing away an improbable win after he took a 69-yard reception to the New England 10-yard-line with 34 seconds left.
On the very next play, Ben Roethlisberger caught tight end Jesse James up the middle for a touchdown.
But wait, this is when the referees work their magic. Following a lengthy review, the refs ruled that James didn't "catch" the ball because, well, I'm just as confused as everyone else.
If you're at all interested in finding out why the touchdown was overturned, here's Al Riveron, NFL SVP of officiating, with the "explanation."
Even self-proclaimed Patriots fan Aaron Paul felt bad for Steelers fans.
Luckily, someone may have finally figured out this widely-debated catch rule thing.
As heartbreaking as the overturned call was, the Steelers still had another opportunity or two to tie the game or take the lead. With time running out, Roethlisberger faked the spike and committed the cardinal sin when it comes to playing the Patriots—don't throw a slant near the end zone to win the game.
After all the hoopla, Pats fans were somewhat pleased at the outcome.
What an amazing experience in Pittsburgh today. The @Patriots vs @steelers game was unreal. By far the best football game I have ever seen live. Shout out to the Steelers fans who are awesome. Very civil and a pleasure to be with. GO PATS!!!— Chris Beattie (@nkfd144) December 18, 2017
In some slightly more uplifting Steelers-related news, it appears their star wide receiver Antonio Brown could be back by the postseason after suffering a partially torn calf muscle.