Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula called out the NFL on Tuesday following the reversal of a touchdown catch by Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in Week 16 against the New England Patriots.
Benjamin appeared to have caught a 4-yard TD on Sunday just prior to halftime, which could have given the Bills a halftime lead. All scoring plays are automatcially reviewed, and replays seemed to show Benjamin getting both feet inbounds. The only question was whether Benjamin had complete control while his left foot was touching.
But the review overturned the touchdown, and the Bills had to settle for a field goal and a tie game before halftime. Pegula made it clear, while speaking on the team-produced radio show on Buffalo's WGR-Radio on Tuesday, that he's not happy with the current system where a play such as that one can be overturned.
"Replay was developed by this league to correct obviously mistakes, and if you got to look at play 30 times from five different angles, and keep looking at it, and looking at it and looking at it, you go with the call on the field," Pegula said. "That's what the league has been doing ever since replay started. As a matter of fact, Dean Blandino, who was the head of replay last year, said last year that was a touchdown."
Pegula then made his strongest comments — that changes must be made — but tried to take off his ownership hat before saying it.
"I don't know what's going on, but we have to fix [the system]," Pegula said. "And I'm not saying that as the owner of the Bills, I'm saying that as a football fan. We can't have stuff like this happening in our league."
The NFL has not responded to a request for comment. Pegula said on radio that he expects to hear from the league for his comments.
"I'm sure I'll be having another conversation with somebody [from the league about his criticism]," he said. "If it's unfriendly from the other side, I can dish back on unfriendly too, because it's a little upsetting."
But Pegula wasn't alone in his criticism. Bills head coach Sean McDermott said after the game he was "at a loss" to explain the reversal call, and former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira — now an analyst with FOX — said that the call shouldn't be reversed by "someone in a suit in an office in New York."
The Bills are 8-7 and can make the postseason for the first time in 17 years, but they need to win and get help to qualify. Their owner apparently believes that the league didn't help them with a poor execution of replay on Sunday.