Calvin Johnson Is the Latest Victim…
…Of the NFL’s rules committee. By now, you’ve seen, heard and undoubtedly offered opinion about the Detroit Lions and their chance to beat the Chicago Bears — on the road, no less — and Calvin Johnson’s pass catch in the end zone that, well, wasn’t. It seems like a spirit/letter of the law discussion, one that gets obfuscated by comments like this:
He fell down and the ball came out. You got to secure it. It’s that simple.
Yes, after his two feet, followed by the legs, behind, and the rest of Johnson’s body — the left side, anyway — hit the ground while he had the ball in his possession. However, because he didn’t hold onto the ball while he was getting up, it’s was ruled as not being a catch, regardless of how many other criteria of catching the ball Johnson met.
Item 3: End Zone Catches. If a player catches the ball while in the end zone, both feet must be completely on the ground before losing possession, or the pass is incomplete.
As indicated, Johnson’s feet, legs and the rest of his body hit the ground — completely — before the ball on the ground incident. Perhaps I’m reading the above quote wrong, but it sounds like Johnson complied with the rules of an end zone catch. At least to me, anyway. Whatever the case, it wasn’t ruled a catch, and all of the Monday morning analysis in the world isn’t going to change that.
Sounds like yet another situation the NFL will be addressing in the offseason, while they are deciding whether or not to lock their players out. I guess the silver lining is, if/when football comes back after the money split is sorted out, they should have this rule clarified, if not outright fixed.
Perhaps by then, what our eyes tell us — it was a catch, as was Louis Murphy’s last season — will indeed by true.