"We just felt when the whistle blew, that the player would have already scored a touchdown."
During this 30-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams, which gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter, everyone watching the FOX broadcast heard a whistle. One short blast, that was all it was. The commentators suspected that the whistle came from the crowd, which might have stood as a reasonable enough explanation had referee Carl Cheffers not conducted an interview following the game with Mike Jones of The Washington Post, acting as the Pro Football Writers of America pool reporter. We've posted the whole interview below, or at least the version that was emailed to us by Redskins PR.
Jones: "Was there an inadvertent whistle on the touchdown play for Carolina?"
Cheffers: "Yes. The line judge blew his whistle. We had a lot of discussion about it. We just felt when the whistle blew, that the player would have already scored a touchdown. [Ed. note: Emphasis ours. Also, no.] So, we tried to piece together if we had to spot -- by rule, we would have to put him down when the whistle blew, and we tried to decide where that spot would be, and we felt that spot would be in the end zone. "
Jones: "That he was already way ahead?"
Cheffers: "Yep. That by the time the whistle blew, he had already crossed the goal line. That was our decision, and that's why I announced that the ruling on the field is touchdown."
Jones: "What's the normal procedure? Is that the norm, that you try to piece it together like that?"
Cheffers: "Yes. So, the options are he can either take the result of the play for the offense, or he could either go back and replay. And so, they're obviously going to want to take the result of the play as a long gainer. And the spot was going to be important, and that's why we were trying to piece together where that spot would be."
Jones: "Who could take the result? You said ‘he could take the result.'"
Cheffers: The offense has the choice during an inadvertent whistle to take the result of the play or replay the down.
Jones: "And the defense doesn't have any?"
Cheffers: "No. No."
Bring back the replacement refs!
(We kid. But seriously, that was a bad one.)