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Statement from Referee Bob McElwee

Statement from Referee McElwee on final TD: The on-field ruling was a touchdown.

On the reversal of an interception to an incomplete pass on the New England Patriots' final drive in Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears…

The on-field ruling was an interception. The replay assistant asked for a review to determine if the intercepting player had possession of the ball. By viewing the replay, it was clear that he never had control of the ball, so the proper call was to reverse the on-field ruling to an incomplete pass.

On why there was no measurement on New England quarterback TOM BRADY's fourth-down run for a first down…

The ball was spotted and the Patriots were in a hurry-up situation with the clock running. Inside one minute with a running clock, we are told not to stop the clock too quickly. But as I was blowing the play dead to check if it was a first down, the Patriots, in that hurry-up situation and after a quarterback sneak, were able to snap the ball very quickly. Since I was blowing the whistle, there was no snap and no subsequent play. But because the ball had been moved, I could no longer call for a measurement. I conferred with my crew and they strongly felt that the quarterback had advanced the ball past the first-down marker.

Note: In the final two minutes, the referee is the only member of the officiating crew that can stop play for a measurement.

On re-setting clock from 20 to 28 seconds…

On the play, the receiver was down and Chicago signalled for a time out. The head linesman (Tony Veteri) then killed the clock, but the clock operator upstairs did not see his signal. He waited until I signaled at 20 seconds. We had a crew conference to make sure the clock was correct. The head linesman told me he killed the clock and the line judge who is responsible for the game clock confirmed it was at 28 seconds, so we had to re-set it.

On the final touchdown…

The on-field ruling was a touchdown. The replay assistant asked for a review to determine if the player had possession of the ball and both feet in bounds. By viewing the replay, it was clear that he did have possession with one foot in bounds while dragging his second foot, so the on-field ruling of touchdown was correct.

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