Second Coin Toss Was Referee’s Call, League Says


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Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watching the initial coin toss at the start of overtime in Saturday’s game.

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The repeated coin toss in overtime during at an N.F.C. divisional game between the Cardinals and the Packers in Arizona was at the discretion of the referee, an N.F.L spokesman said.

“The rule book does not specify when the coin must be retossed, but the referee used his judgment to determine that basic fairness dictated that the coin should flip for the toss to be valid,” the league spokesman, Michael Signora, said in an email to The Associated Press on Sunday. “That is why he retossed the coin.”

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers called tails on the initial toss, which landed on the ground as heads — the same side the referee Clete Blakeman showed in his hand before the failed flip.

After Blakeman told the teams the coin had not flipped, he stuck with Rodgers’s tails call as he successfully flipped the coin a second time.

After the game, Rodgers said he would have called heads on the second toss.

“A team gets one choice and only one choice to declare heads or tails,” Signora wrote in his email.

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The coin landed on heads again, giving the Cardinals the choice — and they elected to receive. Arizona won, 26-20, moments later on Larry Fitzgerald’s 5-yard touchdown catch, two plays after his 75-yard reception from quarterback Carson Palmer.

That was not the only coin-related confusion of the day. Earlier Saturday, in the A.F.C. divisional playoff game between the Chiefs and the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., the referee Craig Wrolstad flipped a coin that landed on tails — which was what the Chiefs had called.

But Wrolstad turned to the Patriots players and told them they had won the toss.

A Kansas City player then shouted that the Chiefs had called tails, and Wrolstad quickly corrected himself. Kansas City had indeed won the toss and deferred the opening kickoff.

PACKER LEAVES HOSPITAL Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb was released from the hospital after leaving the Packers-Cardinals game with a chest injury.

Cobb, the Packers’ leading receiver, posted on Twitter that he was discharged from a Phoenix-area hospital after being held overnight for observation.

Cobb was hurt during the first quarter after diving to make a 51-yard catch and landing hard on the turf.

“Thank you for all the prayers and support,” Cobb wrote.

HEADSET PROBLEMS Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said his team had problems with its headsets during Saturday’s 27-20 playoff loss at New England, though they worked fine in the crucial final minutes of the game.

Reid said the problem occurred in the first half and involved the coaching staff and quarterback Alex Smith.

But Reid said the headsets cut out “just a little bit, not much,” and he did not think it was anything out of the ordinary.

It was not the first time that headsets had been troublesome at Gillette Stadium.

In the regular-season opener, the Steelers complained that the coaches’ headsets were filled with the Patriots’ radio broadcast of the game. Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin later said his coaches had had problems with headsets every time they played at New England.

Correction: January 18, 2016

An earlier version of this article misstated the circumstances of the catch that caused an injury to Packers receiver Randall Cobb. The catch was negated by a penalty; it did not move Green Bay to the Arizona 3-yard line.



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