Why Zach Ertz’s Super Bowl-winning touchdown catch wasn’t overturned

It looked a lot like the overturned Steelers touchdown earlier this season. But it was different.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04:  Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles scores an 11-yard fourth quarter touchdown past Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Zach Ertz scores an 11-yard fourth quarter touchdown past Devin McCourty in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium. –Rob Carr / Getty Images

Football fans got a two-for-one touchdown catch controversy deal in Super Bowl LII.

The Philadelphia Eagles twice had their scores reviewed and each time officials decided that their scores would stand. The second time, Zach Ertz’s 11-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter, gave the Eagles the lead for good.

Ertz’s catch was evocative of a similar play during the regular season against the Patriots, in which Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James had his touchdown overturned. Like Ertz, James made a catch over the middle, turned to the end zone, and momentarily lost control of the football as he reached for the goal line.

Advertisement

What made Ertz’s catch Sunday different?

According to lead referee Gene Steratore, the two steps and dive that Ertz took after catching the ball was enough to establish control as a runner before he dove toward the goal line, whereas referees in the Steelers game ruled that James did not secure control of the ball before going to the ground.

NFL rules experts watching the game Sunday said Steratore’s call was correct and clear.

Perhaps it was for the best.

“If they would’ve overturned that, I don’t know what would’ve happened in the city of Philadelphia,” Ertz said from the podium after the game.

 

Must-see photos from Super Bowl LII:

Close

Get the latest sports alerts sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.