The XFL league office probably did not want the controversy over the league’s inaugural season, but here we are in week five with the Seattle Dragons losing to Houston, 32-23, with a blown call at the tail end of the game Saturday morning.
The new rules implemented in the XFL are supposed to make the decisions for coaches more strategic. Game officials are instructed to be more transparent so fans can reap the rewards making for a more energized and exciting brand of football. That’s not what happened when Houston quarterback P.J. Walker kneeled the ball down on fourth down with 0:02 second remaining on the clock.
The ABC broadcast did not help the in the video replays and tight scheduling window between games as Houston coach June Jones was seen telling Walker on his headset to throw the ball over the Dragons bench’s heads to end the game. Walker instead was rushed on the shot-gun play and chose to kneel which should have ended the play right then and there.
Seattle should have had enough time to set up for one final play at their own 21 yard-line trailing by one score and a three-point conversion being down nine points to the West division leaders. Instead, officials ended the game prematurely.
The what-could-have-been have to be put away as the actual results of the game handed Seattle (1-4) their third consecutive loss while keeping Houston as the team in the league. Deep down the Dragons know they lost the game and an officiating error denied them a chance at an improbable comeback. Good teams have the integrity to look at the controllable’s and grow from them.
The what could have and maybe’s don’t amount to much once the game is over. Give credit to the XFL head office for having the integrity to admit human error and taking the appropriate action
The XFL front office sent out a statement following the game admitting Seattle should have had the chance to tie the game and the officials made the wrong choice at the time. Wes Booker, the Officiating Supervisor for the game, has been reassigned due to the fallout.
XFL statement below:
Saturday’s Seattle Dragons-Houston Roughnecks game should not have ended as it did. Replays showed clearly that the knee of Houston quarterback P.J. Walker touched the field, rendering him “down” and the fourth-down play officially completed, with approximately two seconds remaining on the clock – effectively turning the ball over to Seattle on downs. With a nine-point differential in the score, Seattle was denied an opportunity to tie the game. The XFL sincerely regrets this error.
In addition, Wes Booker, who served as Officiating Supervisor for Saturday’s game, has been reassigned.