Monday, January 12, 2015

Great Packers-Cowboys Game Ruined by Calvin Johnson Rule

Last Sunday was a great football game between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.  Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their playoff hopes ended with a controversial call that ultimately decided the outcome of the game.  On fourth and 2, Dez Bryant of the Cowboys leaps high into the air for a catch that would have spotted him at the 2 or 1 yard line had it been declared complete.  It was initially declared a complete pass, but upon review after the Packers challenged the call, the officials overturned the decision and declared it incomplete.  The decision was based on the "Going to the Ground" rule, often referred as the Calvin Johnson rule because he was the first victim of it.  That rule states:
"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 throughout the process of contacting 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."
Here is the video: Link
However, there is another rule that talks about when a play is dead.  It says:
"An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended:
(a) when a runner is contacted by a defensive player and touches the ground with any part of his body other than his hands or feet. The ball is dead the instant the runner touches the ground. A runner touching the ground with his hands or feet while in the grasp of an opponent may continue to advance."
In real time, it appears Bryant loses the ball the moment he touches the ground.  But in slow motion, like in this video, Bryant touches the ground four times before the ball comes loose.  He takes 3 steps and his right forearm touches the ground before the ball falls out.  That's a complete pass.  The officials messed this call up big time.

Robert Lin enjoys basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

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