The Elias Sports Bureau reviewed Manning’s 7-yard pass to Eric Decker during the first quarter of the Denver Broncos’ 34-14 Week 17 victory and decided against changing it to a lateral.
“The stats crew at the game scored this play as a forward pass,” league spokesman Michael Signora told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. “During the course of a season, there are many similar plays which could be reviewed by the Elias Sports Bureau, the league’s official statistician. In this case, the determination of Elias is that the fairest resolution is for the ruling of the on-site stats crew to stand.”
Manning finished the season with 5,477 passing yards, only one more than Drew Brees’ total from 2011.
Ironically, the +Oakland Raiders logo at midfield made this play unlikely to reverse because of the inconclusiveness with camera angle and the point of release to Eric Decker makes it unclear of the exact path of the ball. One staff writer, +Clinton Haws, is well trained regarding camera angles and concurs that camera not looking precisely down the 48 yard line it cannot be deduced simply from eyesight with certainty, but says it looks like it was a straight or slight backwards angle in all likeliness.
By his words (and paraphrasing), "Therefore, a lateral and the record would not stand, but he also says he would not say "under oath" that it is certain and if you go along with most sports rulings for stats, that what was scored in the box score (scorecard) would be what he kept as standing. All things, considered, if it was something the +Denver Broncos wanted the deserving work and job done by Peyton Manning and that he was out after halftime, the record and much more could have added up to his yards and TD totals. In a karmic world, the record standing seems appropriate whether it was a forward pass or lateral by technicality. As Haws said, "He (Manning) could have thrown one more pass in the 3rd quarter so why do something so tedious without certainty."