After the Patriots’ 33-26 loss at Minnesota on Thanksgiving night, NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Walt Anderson explained why tight end Hunter Henry’s apparent touchdown in the third quarter was overturned upon further review.
In an interview with Patriots pool reporter Mike Reiss, Anderson claimed that Henry lost control of the ball while it was in his hands.
A full transcript of their exchange is below.
Question: What did you see to determine New England’s Hunter Henry didn’t maintain control?
Anderson: “He was going to the ground, the ball ended up touching the ground and then he lost control of the ball in his hands.”
Question: Can you explain why he wasn’t granted possession before the ball hit the ground?
Anderson: “Because as he’s going to the ground, he has to maintain control of the ball upon contacting the ground. The term that’s commonly used is ‘surviving the ground’ – a lot of people refer to that. So, as he’s going to the ground, he has the elements of two feet and control, but because he’s going to the ground, he has to maintain control of the ball when he does go to the ground.”
Question: He has two hands on it. How much is that factored into this decision, that he had two hands on the ball?
Anderson: “Well, if he had maintained control of the ball with two hands, even if the ball were to touch the ground, if you don’t lose control of the ball after it touches the ground, that would still be a catch.”
Question: Is there anything else that I didn’t ask that is important to add to this discussion?
Anderson: “No, we’ve pretty much covered all the elements of the catch that are required to make it complete.”
Asked about the play post-game, Henry told reporters: “I don’t know. They called what they called. I believe I caught it, but, I mean, they made a call, and (I) just have to live with it.”