The XFL is halfway through its debut season, and we have an officiating controversy potentially unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years.
Houston led Seattle 32-23 with four seconds remaining on the clock. Houston quarterback P.J. Walker took a knee to set up 4th and 23. His coach told him to kill the clock on the final four seconds, and actually suggested he throw the ball over the opposing team’s bench.
Walker dropped back, but instead of rolling all the time off, he took a knee with two seconds left. The referees ruled the game had ended, even though it was obvious there should have been time remaining. Had the clock been accurately kept, Seattle would have had the ball at Houston’s 21-yard line with two seconds left. Down nine, a touchdown and three-point conversion would have tied the game. It was a long-shot, but they should have had the opportunity.
ABC play-by-play man Steve Levy called out the miscue and was able to chat with the referee following the game. The ref admitted the mistake, but because they had called the final whistle for the game, he said there was nothing that could be done.
Houston improved to 5-0 with the win, and if Dallas loses in the late Saturday game, the Roughnecks will hold a three-game lead with five to go — all but cinching up the XFL West.
Here’s video of the final chaotic seconds of the game.
XFL Houston QB Phillip Walker kneels on 4th down with 2 seconds left in the game that would’ve given Seattle the ball on the Houston 20 in a one score game (3 point conversions are possible).— Bad Sports Refs (@BadSportsRefs) March 7, 2020
Instead, game clock runs out, refs leave, and XFL says “see...what had happened was...” pic.twitter.com/0Dd8v3VAqb