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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.