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2nd string MNF crew certain it was TD; overruled on replay

Week 1: Chargers at Raiders

Near halftime of the second part of the Monday Night Football doubleheader, the Raiders were driving for a go-ahead touchdown, which they scored on the initial call. The replay booth initiated a replay.

During the review, the announcers (not the weekly crew, but morning-show and game-show credentials among the participants) insisted that they “would be shocked” if the call was overturned. The ball was on the ground at the completion of the catch, which color commentator Steve Young said was irrelevant, as the receiver had two feet down in the end zone.

Referee Carl Cheffers explained that the reception is a process: catch, control, two feet, maintaing control to the ground.

The words of calling a reception a “process” should have been familiar to Young. The league’s vice president of officiating, Mike Pereira, uses that terminology in a periodic tutorial video disseminated to media outlets. These videos particularly focus on new or frequently misunderstood rules for announcers and writers. Zebra Blog reviewed this video prior to the game, plainly titled 2009 Media Tape #1, but clearly explaining with numerous plays from preseason the catch-plus-ground equation. Young should have spent the 15 minutes we did reviewing the tape that Pereira took the trouble to disseminate to the media.

Commentator Mike Golic said he personally went to the replay booth for an explanation of the play. The description given pretty much matched the description given on 2009 Media Tape #1. To his credit, Young did say he should have known the rule. But, then he said that it could’ve gone either way.

No, Steve, please do your homework.

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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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2 thoughts on “2nd string MNF crew certain it was TD; overruled on replay

  1. I recall seeing one of the early replays that clearly shows the ball coming loose after he lands, but the announcers apparently missed it. What’s worse is that every single replay after that, during the review, was stopped at the point just before the ball came loose, so it appeared the play was over and he had maintained possession.

    Someone in the booth or someone speaking in their ears should have pointed out that the play wasn’t over as soon as he hit the ground and the clip should have been played through to the point where the ball came loose. He needed to maintain control throughout, and he didn’t. Correct call, and boo on the second string ESPN team.

  2. If the call in the Raiders/Chargers game was correct that means that the call of a completed pass to Jacoby Jones in the Titans/Texans game was incorrect. The ball not only moved, it bounced off the turf back into his hands. Why was this call not overturned?

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