The Carolina Panthers fell to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime this weekend, but not through any fault of their own.
With his team down 34-28 and 8 seconds left in regulation, wide receiver DJ Moore caught an incredible pass from P.J. Walker and tied the outing up.
In light of the stakes, Moore was understandably exuberant and his emotion got the best of him. He immediately removed his helmet – only to draw a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
PJ WALKER JUST DID THAT. HAIL MARY TO DJ MOORE. pic.twitter.com/dDYwoZhaGG
— NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2022
The Panthers would go on to miss their kick and eventually lost the game in overtime. Moore wound up catching some flak for his celebration in the aftermath.
None of which he actually deserved.
NFL rules clearly stipulate that players can’t intentionally remove their helmets on the field of play.
As the video evidence clearly shows, Moore did no such thing:
Our NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay says according to the written rule this should not have been called a penalty because Moore was not on the field when he took off his helmet. https://t.co/MgxvckwDlv
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) October 31, 2022
I have been reading this all night — I do NOT think DJ Moore should have penalized when he took off his helmet.
He was not on the “field of play” or “end zone”when he removed his helmet.
— Will Kunkel (@WillKunkelFOX) October 31, 2022
One again, over-excited boneheaded referees cost a team a victory. This was not an isolated incident on Sunday.
Something needs to be done about these officials. They are really screwing up the integrity of the game in a way that will soon become irreparable.
The Panthers deserved to win that game this weekend. Moore earned his moment in the sun and it shouldn’t have been taken away from him by a dumb call.
Olivia Dunne did Halloween right. https://t.co/mhuN95pPb6
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 31, 2022
Will the league step in and educate their refs at some point in the foreseeable future so we don’t keep experiencing stuff like this?
Time will tell.