Refs Make Confusing Pass Interference Call in San Diego vs. Denver Playoff Game

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIJanuary 12, 2014

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Wes Welker #83 of the Denver Broncos scores a second quarter touchdown against the defense of  Darrell Stuckey #25 of the San Diego Chargers during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos were able to defeat the San Diego Chargers by a score of 24-17 and advance to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship. That may be the biggest headline after the conclusion of the game; however, another atrocious officiating mishap has once again found its way into the mix as well.

During the fourth quarter of the game, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning overthrew wide receiver Wes Welker, who appeared to have fallen down during the play.

Once the pass fell incomplete and Welker got to his feet, he threw his hands up in disgust, seemingly looking for a pass interference call.

Well, he got it.

Roughly five seconds after the play ended, a yellow flag found its way onto the field. This began the confusion. Even former vice president of officiating and current Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira couldn't make sense of it:

After a brief official's huddle, pass interference was called on Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist.

Looking at the replay, it appeared as though Welker and Gilchrist got their feet tangled up as the ball sailed overhead:

There are two things wrong with this.

First, the tangling of feet between a wide receiver and a defensive back is deemed incidental contact and is not a penalty. Second, the ball sailed well over the head of Welker to the point that it looked completely uncatchable.

The call was terrible, and it may have altered the outcome of this highly important game. Both of these teams' seasons were on the line here, and horrible officiating cannot be tolerated with so much at stake.

To make matters worse, the officiating crew had difficulty figuring out where to spot the ball after the penalty was enforced. Mike Pereira walked through the details on Twitter:

Unfortunately, this has been the way the season has gone for the NFL's referees.

After a brutal regular season and now a postseason chocked full of blatant errors, it is finally time for the league to take responsibility and make these officials accountable for their actions on the field.