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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin was sick to his stomach on Monday.
Not because his team lost a 38-35 heartbreaker to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. But because of a photo that appeared to show his tight end scoring a touchdown on a play in which referees ruled him out of bounds.
On the play in question, Eli Manning found a diving Jake Ballard in the end zone for what the Giants hoped was a 20-yard touchdown. But referees ruled Ballard out of bounds. He got one foot in. At issue was whether he dragged his knee in, too.
With the score tied 7-7, Coughlin challenged the first-quarter play, but referee Jeff Triplette reviewed the play and upheld the call on the field. New York settled for Lawrence Tynes' field goal.
Coughlin later saw a photo produced by FOX TV that appeared to show Ballard's right knee touching down inside the end zone.
"I just saw a picture which made me sick to my stomach, which FOX produced and showed that he's in," the coach said during his Monday press conference.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said officials don't look at still photos when they review a play.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese brought the photo to Coughlin's attention.
"Jerry Reese was carrying it around," he said.
Coughlin lost two challenges on Sunday and has lost his last four overall. He acknowledged on Monday that he's been "overly aggressive" on challenges.
But he defended his use of the red flag on the Ballard play.
"Don't ask me about that because I really don't know why, but I did see the picture," Coughlin said. "... I wasn't going to not challenge that and then have somebody tell me, 'Did you know he was in?'"
Coughlin, however, admitted that he jumped the gun when he challenged a Donald Driver catch early in the third quarter.
On that play, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit Driver for a first down near the sideline on a 3rd and 3 from the Giants 40. Coughlin challenged it, thinking Driver was out of bounds. But the officials disagreed.
"I was very much aware of where the ball was going and where it was headed," Coughlin said of the second challenge. "I really didn't get a great call from upstairs. I've been overly aggressive with those calls, not waiting for any kind of advice from upstairs."
Wide receiver Victor Cruz was one of several Giants to express frustration with the officiating on Sunday. He thought Coughlin deserved to win one of the challenges.
"I'm not trying to get fined or anything, but it was just amazing how some of those things didn't get turned over," Cruz said on Sunday. "We felt on the sideline a lot of those calls were kind of iffy and tough to rule."Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.