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Was Calvin Johnson's Catch a Touchdown?

Should Calvin Johnson's Catch Have Been a Touchdown? It is the biggest question of the day and there is no shortage to the arguments.

Many have already stated the rule and agreed that it was actually not a catch by official NFL rules. The rule that keeps being stated goes as followed .... "A player is in possession when he is in firm grip and control of the ball in bounds. To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted or recovered, a player must have complete control of the ball and have both feet completely on the ground in bounds or any other part of his body, other than his hands, on the ground in bounds. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground or if there is any doubt that the acts were simultaneous, there is no possession."

According to the written rule, some are saying that Calvin Johnson needed to have control of the ball after falling to the ground for it to be a touchdown. I disagree!

According to NFL rules, if a receiver catches the ball and has control of the ball and takes two steps, or makes a football move with the ball, it is a reception. If he drops the ball after taking two steps, it is a fumble.

According to NFL rules, if a receiver catches the ball and runs with it and falls due to contact with a defending player, the ball is down where the ball is when he hits the ground. If he loses the ball when he hits the ground, it is still down because the ground cannot cause a fumble.

According to NFL rules, the ball only needs to cross the plain of the goal line while in possession of a player for it to be a touchdown. Even if it is knocked out of his hands afterwords! Because once the touchdown is made, the play is dead.

Now lets look at Calvin Johnson's catch.

Johnson was in the end-zone when he leaps backwards and catches the ball in the air. With clean control of the ball in two hands, Johnson comes down on one foot then a second foot. At this point, the ball is considered a reception. He is in the end-zone so it should be a touchdown. Play should be dead. Then his momentum causes him to fall backwards and he lands on his butt. Now holding the ball in one hand with a firm grip, if he wasn't down with the ball before, he is now. The buttocks is considered a part of the body that if it touches the ground while that player has possession of the ball, the player is considered to be down and the play is dead (If he fell due to contact from a defensive player). If the player falls on his own, he has the opportunity to get up and run, but either way, it is considered a reception. If he is in the end-zone, the result of the play is a touchdown. So Calvin Johnson had possession of the ball while putting two feet down. Then he still has possession of the ball when he falls on his butt. Touchdown! So it should have been.

In a continuous motion, the ball now in only one hand, Johnson spun around and hit the ball to the turf. His hand came away without the ball. This is the problem with the interpretation. Many are saying that the rule is saying that he has to have control of the ball after he hits the ground. However, the rule does NOT say that he has to have control after the BALL hits the ground. When Johnson got both feet on the ground, THAT was when he hit the ground. He had control of the ball at this time. IF that is not good enough, when Johnson fell to his butt, THAT would constitute him hitting the ground. He still had firm control of the ball.

Nowhere in the rule does it state that the receiver must have control of the ball after he hits the ground for the third time!

So by the written rule, the play should have been called a catch and a touchdown. The Lions should have won the game.

1 comment:

  1. Such a bullshit call. The officials in the booth are completely retarded and probably had to dust off the rulebook from 1975 in order to go through with that stupid call.