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NCAA Football

Notre Dame May Have Been Screwed Out Of Two Early Calls And The World Is Ending

Because we’re here to make snap judgments (so you don’t have to!), let’s get started early here in the BCS title game. With the benefit of hindsight, these few early calls that went against the Irish might not even make a difference — the Crimson Tide are pretty much rolling (get it?), up 21-0 in the first quarter. It’s been a decidedly one-sided game so far, but these calls certainly didn’t help Notre Dame. Let’s examine.

The first such play was a sideline pass to tight end Tyler Eifert (above). He caught the ball above the Alabama defender, and seemingly managed to maintain possession until he fell out of bounds. But it was ruled out of bounds, which is kind of perplexing, considering he had control.

The second play was a fair catch called by the Alabama punt returner that he fumbled, and was recovered by Notre Dame. Except the call was reversed due to an interference penalty called on Notre Dame. Except there was no real interference, kind of.

Pac-12 refs are notoriously terrible at their jobs, but they can’t possibly be as bad at officiating as Notre Dame is at playing football on this night. Alabama has scored a touchdown on each of its three possessions, leaving the vaunted Irish defense nowhere to be found. You can go ahead and change the channel if you haven’t already.

[h/t SB Nation]

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Bunion/100003342731120 Jim Bunion

    Thought I was watching Custer’s Battle a Big Horn, but it was Notre Dame getting

  • Victor

    At first glance, it appeared that Eifert bobbled the catch, but slow-motion replay reveals that he had complete control, plus the presence of mind to switch the ball from one hand to the other to avoid losing it when hitting the ground. This evidence seemed to be ignored by the replay official. On the muffed punt, the Notre Dame player (41) was blocked in the back (by 13) towards the Alabama return man (22), yet he (41) appeared to avoid contact, something the Alabama “block in the back” player (22) did not. The block-in-the back penalty was not called, and Notre Dame was subsequently penalized for the “interference” that was actually created by an Alabama (22) player. Instead of Notre Dame ball on the Alabama 15-yard line, it was Alabama ball at mid-field.

  • JT

    call on the punt should be on #8 for ND not #41

  • Bobbski

    Slow motion replay is used to check whether a receiver has, in this case, a foot down inbounds upon catching the ball but is rarely if ever used to see if he “bobbled” the ball, for obvious reasons.

  • Bobbski

    Notre Dame was over matched is an understatement. They would have had trouble playing against 5 or 6 teams of the SEC.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    If you’re going to comment on officiating calls it would serve you well to actually consult the rulebook.

    NCAA Rule changes 2012: “Through officiating interpretation, kick returners are provided
    protection of one yard (in front of the returner) to complete a catch before the kicking team is allowed to make contact.”

    The GIF that you yourself provide shows the ND player directly in front of him when the ball arrives.

  • John

    “to complete a catch before the kicking team is allowed to make contact.”

    The problem is that the Notre Dame player doesn’t make contact with the returner

  • Bob Papadazzio

    Apparently you misread. “…provided protection of one yard (in front of the returner) to complete a catch”

    Farley was literally toe-to-toe with Jones as the ball arrived. Don’t take my word for it, go watch the GIF.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    Also, had #41 not been called for interference, #8 most certainly would’ve.

    NCAA rules 6-5-1-b: “When a Team B player makes a valid fair catch signal, the unimpeded opportunity to catch a free or scrimmage kick continues if this player muffs the kick and still has an opportunity to complete the catch. This protection terminates when the kick touches the ground. If the player subsequently catches the kick, the ball is placed where he first touched it.”

    Jones called for a fair catch then bobbled the ball, at which point #8 comes up and attempts to grab the ball. This, in and of itself, is fair catch interference.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    No, #41 was the correct call.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    Wow, you need your eyes checked. If anything Belue (13) was pushing #41 OUT of the path of the return man, not toward him, and it appears as though he’s actually beside him rather than behind him. Watch the video and you’ll see that Farley (41) was actually out of Jones’ lane and was trying to push his way into it.

    As for the interference call, it was the correct call as well. A kicking team player can not be within a yard in front of the return man before the ball arrives. If he’d just been standing there within a yard in front of Jones before the ball arrived he’d still have been called.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    As far as the Eifert non-catch, looking at the provided picture it would be hard to call that a catch. The rule says that for a catch to be made the player must have a “firm grasp” on the ball, but in the picture his right hand is inside and in a “push” position.

  • Victor5

    Yeah, you must have been watching the game on 180p lol

  • Bob Papadazzio

    The rule change I gave was the gist of the rule, not the rule itself. Per 6-4-1 FR66: “a. It is an interference foul if, before
    the receiver touches the ball, a Team A player enters the area defined
    by the width of the receiver’s shoulders and extending one yard in front
    of him. When in question it is a foul.”

  • Tisharra

    Yeah, it’s a 4 month old comment. However, I believe in correcting people that are unfamiliar with the rules of the game. I see that the first “bad call” has a picture, not video. Go find the video. Eifert caught the ball while inbounds, HOWEVER the ball remained LIVE until he TOUCHED out of bounds. Why does this matter? Because after he caught the ball, but before he touched out of bounds, he lost control of the ball. He lost control of a live ball. He did NOT “maintain possession” until out of bounds. Failing to secure the ball by pulling it into his body or by maintaining control makes this an INCOMPLETE PASS. If you wish to allow players to keep a ball simply because they had the ball for TWO SECONDS, no matter how weak the possession, then we can do away with fumbles.

    Second call. This was, by the RULE BOOK, a correct call. Your assertion that there was a “block in the back” is an egregious error. The player TOUCHED 22, he did not BLOCK. Touching another player is NOT a foul, if it was, we wouldn’t have football at all. As for the insistence that 22 DID NOT earn the kick catch interference penalty, you are in error again. Contact is NOT required for this penalty. Here is the rule from the 2011-2012 NCAA Football Rule Book. (The Championship game, even though played in 2013, still falls under the 2012 season, so this is the correct publication.) Rule 6, Section 4, Article 1, Item b states: It is an interference foul if, before the receiver touches the ball, a Team A (kicking team) player ENTERS THE AREA defined by the width of the receiver’s shoulders and extending one yard in front of him. When in question it is a foul.” As it is impossible to prove 22 was more than a yard away, (and let’s be honest, he appears in the clip to be maybe a half yard away) it is a foul. This is a CORRECT CALL.

    I admire your loyalty to your team sir, but please do familiarize yourself with the rules of the game before accusing the professional officials of either bias, dereliction of duties, or any other accusation that implies an unprofessional performance. These men are extremely dedicated to their job. They do make mistakes sometimes, which is why plays get reviewed. However, there has only been ONE instance of a true failing on the part of the officials, and the ENTIRE group was suspended as a result. If you think for one moment the NCAA would put less scrutiny on the Championship than a regular season game, then you do not have enough respect for the sport to even be watching games.

  • Anonymous

    Might wanna consult a rule book re: the kick catch interference call. The call was 100% correct because, per the rule book, a catch is not muffed until the ball hits the ground. Until a catch is muffed, a defender can touch neither the returner nor the ball; #8 clearly made contact with both prior to the ball hitting the ground. The original ND defender being blocked into the play is a red herring.

  • Anonymous

    Ummm…yes, #8 clearly does.

  • Anonymous

    You nailed it.

  • Anonymous

    As you seem to point out above, either would be a sufficient basis for the flag. People whining about this call could not be more wrong.

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