The Cincinnati Bengals advanced to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on Sunday with a 26-19 win over the Las Vegas Raiders that wasn’t without controversy, namely regarding some rather baffling decisions from the officiating crew led by head referee Jerome Boger.
Boger’s crew had a rough Saturday in Cincinnati, headlined by the decision to allow a Bengals touchdown to stand despite a whistle blowing the play dead before the catch was made in the end zone — which the league tried to provide cover, saying the decision was made the whistle came after the catch despite video evidence to the contrary. That wasn’t the only questionable decision, as there was a phantom timeout that took away a big Bengals pass play on a third down, among other questionable calls and rulings.
On the whole, the Raiders’ inability to score in the red zone was a bigger factor in their loss on Saturday, but the officiating became a headline for Raiders fans and NFL fans as a whole, which is never a good thing. On Sunday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that when the league grades out the officials for their performance this weekend, Boger’s crew is expected not to do well and, as such, that crew won’t be on any games deeper in the postseason.
Referee Jerome Boger and the crew that worked the AFC wild-card game between the Raiders and Bengals are not expected to officiate again this postseason after their problematic performance Saturday highlighted by a controversial whistle.
One league source did not express surprise at Boger’s performance; others around the league have commented on it during various points of the season, and the NFL has received mixed reviews for mixing its officiating crews in postseason games, taking officials from different crews and assigning them to work together.
It’s unfortunate that one of the lead talking points was the officiating, but in a game decided by a touchdown, a TD being granted despite an inadvertent whistle stopping players midplay certainly stands out.