Controversy! Insane “Catch” Rule Costs Detroit Lions First Win In Forever (Video)
The media verdict from the Calvin Johnson touchdown-turned-incomplete- pass in the waning seconds of the Lions 19-14 loss to the Bears is universal: it should have been a touchdown.
Johnson lost control of the ball when his hand hit the ground after snaring a desperation throw, and the pass was ruled incomplete. Here is a quick summation of the bellyaching: SI's Andrew Perloff says it was the wrong call. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports calls the "going to the ground" rule hideous. Finally, the New York Times declares NFL Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 the worst rule in the league.
Here is where it gets tricky: if you actually read the rule, the officials made the right call. Johnson's "catch" was not a catch to win the game in the fourth quarter, nor would it be a catch on his own 20 yard line in the first quarter.
To its credit, the Fox broadcast of the game immediately cut to Mike Pereira for an explanation. Unfortunately for Lions fans, the former Senior Director of Officiating for the NFL was quick to agree with the ruling on the field of an incomplete pass. From Pereira:
If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.
So, most of the national football media is in agreement that the rule should be changed. One question, fellas - what do you propose the NFL change the rule to? Would changing the "keeping possession while going to the ground rule" to "that looked like a catch!" be any less vague than what the league currently has?
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