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Why refs decided 1 butt cheek was enough for Panthers WR Damiere Byrd's TD catch

A questionable challenge led to a long discussion about butt cheeks in the NFL.

With the Panthers facing first-and-goal from the Green Bay 9-yard line, wide receiver Damiere Byrd streaked across the back of the end zone to haul in a Cam Newton dart. Josh Hawkins was tight in coverage, however, and the Packer cornerback appeared to do just enough to keep Byrd from corralling the ball before landing out of bounds. The back judge ruled the play an incompletion.

But Panthers head coach Ron Rivera wasn’t buying it.

Rivera challenged the call, arguing part of Byrd’s body hit the turf in bounds before he crashed out of bounds, thus completing the reception. Replay officials, despite the protests from Troy Aikman and Joe Buck in the FOX broadcast booth, agreed.

Why was the incompletion call reversed?

In the replay above, you can see Byrd’s left cheek touch the ground before the right side of his body hits the white paint of the end line. Since he had secured the ball and established contact with the ground before crossing that boundary, the replay official overturned the call on the field to give the Panthers a touchdown. While former officiating czar Mike Pereira said on the broadcast “one cheek doesn’t equal two feet,” the team in New York overseeing today’s game clearly thought otherwise.

What does Byrd think about the call?


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