Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula sounds like he’s bracing for a fight.
Or at least, a strong and perhaps loud disagreement.
Appearing on Buffalo’s WGR 550 on Tuesday, Pegula was of course asked about the play during his team’s 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots that saw what looked like a clear touchdown by Kelvin Benjamin taken off the board.
Not surprisingly, even two days later, Pegula was not happy.
“They obviously weren’t looking at the same television the rest of the country was looking at, were they?” Pegula said, via Mike Rodak, the Bills reporter for ESPN. “You know what, you can probably find somebody in this country that disagrees [with the catch], and I know one guy would be [NFL vice president of officiating] Al Riveron sitting in New York City.
“But everybody I talked to – and they’re not Bills fans and they’re not necessarily anti-Patriots – they’re all baffled by that call, which just wasn’t consistent with what replay [should be].”
Initially, officials on Craig Wrolstad’s crew signaled touchdown on Benjamin’s 4-yard catch along the right sideline of the end zone. Had it stood, it would have given Buffalo the lead heading into halftime.
But all scoring plays are now reviewed, and after deliberation, it was determined that Benjamin bobbled the ball during the play and the catch was negated.
Instead of taking the lead into the locker room, kicker Stephen Hauschka converted a field goal, and the game was tied, 13-13, at halftime.
Pegula wants to see changes to the replay system, and knew that being publicly critical of the league would lead to him having a conversation with someone from the NFL, one he seemed unafraid to have.
“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. That’s what the league has been doing ever since replay started,” Pegula said. “As a matter of fact, Dean Blandino, who was the head of replay last year, said last year that was a touchdown.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but we have to fix it. 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.”
Pegula sounds ready to push back, and after several other baffling instances of catches being negated, he likely will have a fair amount of allies.
“I can tell you this, since we’ve had this discussion, I’m sure I’ll be having another conversation with somebody,” he said. “If it’s unfriendly from the other side, I can dish back on unfriendly too, because it’s a little upsetting.”
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