On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys were given a 1st down after referee Gene Steratore used an index card to determine that the ball was touching the measuring stick.
As he was announcing the 1st down, Steratore had a smirk on his face, which drew the ire of Oakland’s head coach Jack Del Rio, who was upset about the unusual move.
According to Steratore, he didn’t use the paper to determine if the Cowboys had a first down, he did it to reaffirm what he thought was a first down.
During the week, and NFL spokesperson addressed the situation, saying Steratore didn’t do anything wrong.
After Del Rio’s complaint, NFL’s VP of officiating, Al Riveron, said he has advised referees not to use paper as a measuring tool again.
“Geno made the decision strictly, strictly by visual affirmation that the ball had made the line to gain,” Riveron said. Riveron also apologized to anyone who interpreted Steratore’s smirk after using the card as a sign of disrespect.
“At no time was Geno being disrespectful to Coach Del Rio, to the Oakland Raiders or to anyone,” Riveron said. “If that’s the way it was taken, then I need to apologize because at no time do any of our officials show any kind of disrespect, and that’s the last thing we want anyone to think.”
In addition to the controversial decision by Steratore, Riveron said league will review other controversial calls, like the decision to reverse the touchdown by Jesse James against the Patriots, which cost the Steelers the game.
“We’re constantly taking suggestions,” he added. “We’re constantly taking advice. We’ll put some videos together and some film and we’ll look at it. Like everything that’s important to our players, fans, to the media and the coaches, we’ll look at it again.”