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Referee from Pittsburgh explains fumble ruling

Referee Gene Steratore spoke to the pool reporter about today's controversial call that was the difference in score between the Dolphins and Pittsburgh. The Steelers won, 23-22 on a field goal made possible when they kept the football following what looked like a fumble in the end zone that was recovered by Miami's Ikaika Alama-Francis.

The refs initially called the play a TD. Then they overturned the TD and said it was a fumble. But they didn't complete the job by giving the ball to Miami.

"Naturally, the ruling on the field was a touchdown by Pittsburgh," Steratore said. "After review it was confirmed in replay the ball did come loose and it was a fumble prior to the ball breaking the goal line. That's where we go into the second aspect of that. In order to overturn this and give another team the football, I have to have clear video evidence of that team recovering the fumble. So when a little short segment of what I said out there. That is what I explained. We did have a fumble, but we did not have video evidence and a confirmation on who recovered the football so we changed an aspect of the play by not awarding Pittsburgh the touchdown. Miami is not charged a time out because we changed an aspect of that play, but we could not award the defense in this situation the football because we don't have video evidence of the defense recovering the ball."

Steratore said officials could not determine who recovered the ball because, "it is a pile of bodies in there and you don't have a clear recovery."

Asked again by he could not determine who recovered the ball, he said, "We confirmed that there was a fumble and we not able to confirm a clear recovery by the defense."

Steratore, by the way, was born in Washington, PA., which is 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh. He still lives and has a business in the region.

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