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NFL provided ludicrous explanation for reversing Zach Miller’s TD

Bears chairman George McCaskey hand-delivered injured tight end Zach Miller his “touchdown” ball in the hospital Tuesday.

And it was a touchdown — regardless of what Alberto Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, maintained in his weekly video Wednesday.

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His explanation made his decision to reverse Miller’s 25-yard touchdown more egregious. It was a ludicrous justification.

Bears tight end Zach Miller holds his left knee after sustaining an injury during the third quarter against the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Dean Blandino and Mike Pereira — the officiating bosses who preceded Riveron — were right to strongly criticize Riveron’s call on various outlets.

“I’m tired of having to come on this show and say, ‘Why are plays being reversed when we can’t find anything?’ ” Pereira said on his online show, “Last Call,” with Blandino. Here’s a breakdown of Riveron’s flawed review:

First screenshot of Alberto Riveron’s video review.

Riveron: “As we see here, the receiver is up in the air. As he is coming down, right there, the ball is loose. Now we know that before he contacts the ground, he must regain control of the football because the ball is loose.”

Our review: Miller briefly juggled the ball because safety Rafael Bush got his left hand between Miller’s arm. But Miller secured the ball with his left hand before he hit the ground. He literally opened and closed his left hand around the ball. In other words, the ball is no longer loose, as Riveron contended.

Second screenshot of Alberto Riveron’s video review.

Riveron: “As he is coming down, one more time we see the ball loose. Right here, the ball is loose. And now we’re looking for the ball, to make sure it does not hit the ground because we know he does not have control.”

Our review: Riveron is right; the ball moved when Miller hit the ground. At this point, Miller’s left knee already was grotesquely contorted. The artery in his knee was shredded. But the catch process also continued. The ball might move on impact, but Miller’s left hand, wrist and forearm are underneath the ball.

Third and final screenshot of Alberto Riveron’s video review.

Riveron: “As we move forward, there is the ball, the ball is on the ground. We know he did not regain control. Therefore, it’s an incomplete pass regardless of what happens after this. So even when he rolls over, that doesn’t count. We already have an incomplete pass. The play is over.”

Our review: What is Riveron looking at? He literally drew an arrow to a dark blur. Is he saying that those small white dots are the laces of the football? Where exactly is the ground? This is not conclusive evidence to overturn the called touchdown. It’s white dots in a dark blur. He seemingly ignored that Miller had a white towel tied to his waist and that it was in that vicinity. Riveron also conveniently stopped his video review with his final arrow. As Miller rolled over, the ball is secured by his left hand, the middle of his forearm and his left hip. It is not close to the ground. It was a catch. Riveron blew it.

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Email: ajahns@suntimes.com: