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'admits' Irsay Sports

Jim Irsay says NFL ‘admits’ incorrect calls in Colts’ loss

Jim Irsay says NFL ‘admits’ incorrect calls in Colts’ loss


McAfee blasts officials in Browns-Colts game (2:10)

Pat McAfee goes through the two controversial calls at the end of the Browns’ win over the Colts. (2:10)

  • Stephen Holder, ESPNOct 24, 2023, 11:19 PM ET


      Stephen joined ESPN in 2022, covering the Indianapolis Colts and NFL at large. Stephen finished first place in column writing in the 2015 Indiana Associated Press Media Editors competition, and he is a previous top-10 winner in explanatory journalism in the Associated Press Sports Editors national contest. He has chronicled the NFL since 2005, covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2005-2013 and the Colts since 2013. He has previously worked for the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, Indianapolis Star and The Athletic.

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts owner Jim Irsay says the NFL “admits and understands” that two pivotal calls at the end of his team’s loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday were incorrect.

Irsay, who posted the statement in a post on X Tuesday night, was likely referring to the team’s expected follow-up with NFL officials on Monday to get further clarification on the illegal-contact and defensive-pass-interference calls in the final minute against Colts cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. The calls helped position the Browns for a 39-38 victory.

The illegal-contact call negated a would-be sack-fumble that Indianapolis recovered — a play that would have, effectively, ended the game. At issue on that call was whether Baker actually impeded Amari Cooper‘s route or whether the contact was more incidental. The pass-interference penalty moments later was called despite the throw to Donovan Peoples-Jones arguably being uncatchable.

Per NFL rules, pass interference is not applicable in such situations. Because the interference call occurred in the end zone, the Browns got possession at the 1-yard line and scored the winning touchdown four plays later.

Teams routinely follow up with the league office for further context on calls with which they disagree. Colts coach Shane Steichen, who described the flags as “tough calls,” said on Monday the team might take such a step with the NFL.

Those conversations happen in private and are not typically shared publicly. But Irsay took the unusual step of sharing the details in his post, writing, “The NFL admits and understands that they did not make the correct calls at end of Sunday’s Colts/Browns Game. I believe we need to institute Instant Replay for all calls, including Penalties, in the last two minutes of All Games.”

Irsay also announced that Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson underwent right shoulder surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair his AC joint sprain. Richardson is expected to miss the rest of the season, but Irsay said “no new surprises were found” during the procedure.

A source told ESPN the surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the same surgeon who performed Achilles tendon repairs on late NBA great Kobe Bryant and New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. There is no timetable yet for Richardson’s return.

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