ATHENS, Ga. - The excessive celebration penalty on Georgia receiver A.J. Green in Saturday's 20-13 loss to No. 4 LSU should not have been called, SEC coordinator of officials Rogers Redding told the Athens Banner-Herald on Monday.
"My sense of it is that the official reacted to what he saw, he didn't make this up," Redding said after reviewing video. "He reacted to what he saw, but on the other hand the video that we looked at does not support the call that was made on the field."
Green was flagged after a 16-yard touchdown pass from Joe Cox put Georgia ahead 13-12 with 1:09 to play. Georgia kicked off from its 15-yard line and, two plays after a 40-yard kickoff return, Charles Scott scored on a 33-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds to play.
The officiating crew said in a statement issued by the SEC on Saturday night that "following a brief team celebration, Green made a gesture to the crowd calling attention to himself." Redding reviewed CBS's recorded TV footage in the league office in Birmingham.
"There are times when the camera moves away from the players but what we saw and when the flag came out, we've determined that the video - which was taken from a different perspective than the official had - doesn't support what the official called," Redding said.
Replays on CBS's game broadcast didn't seem to indicate that Green violated NCAA rule 9-2-1-d that prohibits "any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves)."
Green said he was surprised because he said he "didn't do anything that I thought nobody else ever did." He added: "All I did was just shake my head and throw my hands up and everybody just came around me."
The call has drawn harsh criticism.
"That is an awful call," ESPN's Mark May said on the air. "You should celebrate when you score a touchdown." Redding said any action against any officials - if there is any - will be handled internally.
"We move on," Redding said. "This is a teachable moment for us to let the officials know to remind them of the rule and remind them of their responsibility to make good judgments. This is always going to be a judgment call just like pass interference is a judgment call or holding or roughing the passer or offsides or anything else."
Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday that he had looked at replays following the touchdown and did not see anything that appeared to be a penalty.
Cox said players asked each other what happened to draw the flag and nobody knew.
"We're playing the No. 4 team in the county and you throw a touchdown with a minute left," Cox said. "I don't really know what we're supposed to do or how we're supposed to act. Our whole sideline went crazy. Our crowd went crazy. You can't help but be emotional after something like that.
"Obviously there's things that cross the line if you're taunting the other team or doing something that is out of the line. I guess they felt that something he did was out of line."
Redding did not take issue with the excessive celebration penalty called on Scott after his touchdown run. Georgia tight end Orson Charles also was flagged after a catch when he waved his right hand to the crowd and pumped his arm in the air.
Georgia plays at Tennessee on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.).