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Replay turns incompletion into Jags TD

Week 4: Titans at Jaguars

Yikes! The catch-into-the-ground calls took a week off last week, but we are looking at the fourth controversial review of a touchdown (or non-touchdown) catch in as many weeks. The current controversial call came in the Titans–Jaguars game.

Nearing halftime, a pass to Jaguars receiver Mike Sims-Walker was ruled incomplete in the end zone, based on the rule that a receiver going to the ground must maintain control through to the ground (video). On a replay review, referee Alberto Riverón overturned the ruling by back judge Lee Dyer in interesting fashion. The reversal call:

The receiver possesses the ball. As he is going down in the end zone, he has three feet down, and, as a second act, the defender slaps the ball away. Therefore, it is a touchdown.

The description given by Riverón was absolutely horrible. Here is the replay reversal announcement, if we were giving it:

The receiver got two feet down in the end zone, then landed on the defender, completing the process of the catch. The call on the field is reversed: touchdown.

This is the second use of “a second act” in a catch/replay announcement. (Don Carey referred to the “second act” of stretching over the plane of the goal in Week 2.) This is moving us back to the old determination of a catch: two feet in bounds, and then make a “football move.” The “second act” is irrelevant and misleading verbiage. In the case of the Jaguars touchdown, once the catch was completed, it was a touchdown and a dead ball. Therefore, the “second act” doesn’t even occur during the play.

Keep in mind that a player, once the receiver lands solid to the ground, the process of the catch is finished. If there is a player underneath the receiver, we don’t apply new rules that come from the “down by contact” section of the rulebook. So, it was a bad call by Dyer on the original incomplete call and a bad call on the description given by Riverón.

Update: According to the league’s supervisor of officials, the original call by Dyer was correct, the replay reversal was wrong, as were we.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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3 thoughts on “Replay turns incompletion into Jags TD

  1. Wow,

    You truly are despicable. You can sit here and say that the Walker “catch” was a touchdown, but still think that the Louis Murphy catch was not?

    I am not visiting this site again.

  2. You said “Keep in mind that a player, once the receiver lands solid to the ground, the process of the catch is finished.”

    Tell that to Louis Murphy.

    I can’t believe the audacity of you Ben.

    All you do is say how the ref was correct. Are they ever wrong?

  3. Murphy had his butt on the ground, but his body (torso) was still going to the ground. It’s the textbook case of how the catch/ground rule works.

    All of the other catches that were disputable had something else to muddy the judgment call. I do believe that the determination of a catch has gotten very nebulous in the effort to make a “pro catch” in a different class than college or high school. It definitely needs offsesason refinement.

    Some of the judgment calls have been correct according to the rules, even though it seemingly could go another way. And, as far as disagreement with the officials, I think you will see we have found much more in the way of controversy in Week 4.

    Thanks for the comments and look forward to your input!

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