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NewsGolden Tate scores another TD seemingly unsupported by rules

Golden Tate scores another TD seemingly unsupported by rules

Week 6: Bears at Lions (video)

Golden Tate caught a pass at the goal line and established two feet down. He lost control of the ball in the end zone, which was caught out of the air by the Bears. This was ruled on the field as an interception.

Blandino decided (although it was referee Walt Coleman’s decision to agree/disagree with his boss in replay) that Tate had established himself as a runner, because Tate “is taking his third step, the third step is almost on the ground” (as quoted in the video link above). Tate is not going to the ground, so this is different than plays that have involved payers going to the ground.

The criteria in this case is established in Rule 3-2-7-Item 1, with the text in italics being the 2015 revision (clarification??) to the rule:

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 or any other part of his body, other than his hands, completely on the ground inbounds, and then maintain control of the ball until he has clearly become a runner. A player becomes a runner when he is capable of avoiding or warding off impending contact of an opponent.

There is no counting of feet in the rule, and there is certainly question as to whether this constitutes a bulletproof case of conclusive evidence to overturn a call made on the field.

This will be explained over and over again this week with the needle saying firm on the call that was made in replay. However, it really does not inspire confidence in the centralized replay operation. And it is another disputed catch for Tate in the end zone that was supported by the league office.

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)

11 thoughts on “Golden Tate scores another TD seemingly unsupported by rules

  1. Final score: Bears 34, Lions 30, Refs 7. Last week we were told officials cannot reverse a call unless the camera is exactly in the spot to rule definitively that the call on the field was wrong, that basically the presumption is on the call on the field. This week we learn that’s not so. I also learned from Bears Coach Fox and Jay Cutler that my suspicions are confirmed. The refs are ABOVE CRITICISM. Coach said he isn’t allowed to comment on officials, Jay said you comment, you get fined in talking about penalties and officials’ calls. I rest my case. These idiots who are so inconsistent, not impartial, and insert themselves into the outcome of too many games are not to be questioned or criticized. I knew this was an rule and now it’s been confirmed. In America?!?!? In what other circumstance are there people who make obvious mistakes, aren’t impartial, make inconsistent rulings tolerated? (Ok, besides politicians and judges and government workers.) In what other sport do the refs have SUPREME unquestioned authority to decide the outcome of games? Maybe we should all select refs for our fantasy teams. I’m so sick of Goodell’s NFL mess, I thank the good Lord for NCAA football. We need a new commissioner and all new refs, young men and women who DO have to answer for their actions, who CAN see, who have quick reflexes, and can keep up with players. And whose mistakes come out of their pay. Getting off my soapbox now… Thank you for letting me vent.

  2. Thank you. I take that as high praise. It is strange anyone would think we should all be happy over the state of the NFL, because, well, because it’s the NFL. They are not above criticism. No one is. Certainly not I, or you, or Mr Crusty. The NFL is in shambles. I’m not in drag but I am so “crusty,” I’ve been a fan for 4 decades, never missed a weekend, and I’ve never felt like turning it off before. Do some research on the VP of Officiating and convince me that former comedian is not a clown who is assisting Mr Goodell in his efforts to ruin the NFL. China, Cuba, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union must be impressed with what the NFL has built. Players and coaches, even fans, marching in lockstep, nodding and shouting in unison, “YES SIR!” Sickening.

  3. i have to believe that so day we will have younger refs with quicker reflexes and clearer vision. but, until then we have to live with terrible decisions and the silly pablum that comes out of the NFL offices

  4. I hope no one here is stupid enough to believe that gerald and susan would be happy with any officials who are put on the field.

  5. Tony, your assumption is wrong. I was pleased with the replacement refs during the strike year. I thought they did a great job overall. Most of the time, I am content with refs’ calls. I am not someone who grouses about calls. Bad calls are part of sports, always have been, always will be. I remember the days before replay when we had to live with many bad calls, many obvious bad calls. Now that we have replay and teams of experts to review calls, there is no excuse for this type of bad call. The rules often do not take physics into the call. They expect moving objects to be able to stop despite the law of inertia to name one example. The touchdown call is being debated all over the internet today. You’re a very kind and discerning person to call people stupid, as if Gerald and I are some sort of nutty fans. Sometimes things are so egregious, you just have to post. I vented and I appreciated the forum that allowed me to.

  6. Please locate your state affiliate and sign up to be an official (https://www.nfhs.org/resources/state-association-listing). If there is a problem, you can be part of the solution.
    Obviously, you’ll have to have next season in mind as this one is concluding, but there are plenty of other sports in need.

    I’m not saying there’s not an issue at the professional level. But those that have an interest in fair enforcement of the rules and benefiting the future of the game should officiate, or recruit someone who can.

  7. Michael,
    As a 27 year vet who was told by actual NFL recruiters, “you are good enough to work in the League, but there are other demographics to consider,” believe me, the solutions ARE out there…NFL needs to fill unwritten quotas.

  8. One more thing…put that Tate play at the 50 yl and the ball hits the ground…at REAL time, incomplete or fumble?

  9. Just watch the officials video from week 5. Blandino completely contradicts himself THIS week.

    Its a joke and they have part-time employees affecting a mutli-billion dollar industry and people’s jobs by making judgement calls that get verified/changed at the whim of the people in New York from week to week.

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