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Coughlin ‘sick to my stomach’ when photo shows 4-point challenge was right

Week 13: Packers at Giants

1st Quarter | 2:12 remaining | Tied 7-7 | Giants ball | 3rd & 6 @ GB 20 | video

Update, 12/6: Video link added.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin, in a game fraught with very tight replay situations, challenged an incomplete pass from quarterback Eli Manning to receiver Jake Ballard in the end zone. (There is no video of the play on; we are trying to find another source.)

Coughlin contended that Ballard’s right foot came down, then the right knee in bounds. (Of course, we know that  one knee equals two feet.) Ballard secured the ball through to the ground, so in all other respects he completed the process of the catch, and therefore it  would be  a touchdown.

Jake Ballard was ruled to have his right knee out of bounds on a challenge. Credit: UPI

Referee Jeff Triplette saw otherwise, and confirmed the call on the field, as he judged Ballard’s knee to be out of bounds in the end zone. Giants kicked a field goal on the next play.

As Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger reported, Coughlin said, “I just saw a picture that made me sick to my stomach, which Fox produced and showed  [Ballard is]   in. Don’t ask me about  [why it was not ruled that way]  because I really don’t know why, but I did see the picture.”

A UPI photograph, shown here, clearly shows that Ballard, in fact, was entitled to the score. Not only did the Giants lose the challenge, but it cost the team four points.

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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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6 thoughts on “Coughlin ‘sick to my stomach’ when photo shows 4-point challenge was right

  1. Don’t forget the incomplete pass ruled a fumble that was clearly a forward pass but not made so after the referee ignored the video evidence in Gary Kubick’s challenge in the first quarter of the Texans Falcons game.

    Simply unbelievable.

  2. I’m a Giants fan, and while this is frustrating, I don’t remember seeing any replay angle during the game that would have enabled them to overturn the call. All the angles made it look like Ballard’s knee landed on the line (or part-in, part-out). It’s not like the refs have access to UPI photos from random angles during a replay review.

  3. The angle that came from the goal line (second replay, looking back into the end zone), I thought I could see his knee down because his pants ruffled a little. That, to me, was evidence that the knee was on the ground as opposed to inches off the ground and appearing on the ground due to the angle.

    No, the officials did not have access to the photographs. While we were waiting for a video link (update: we have it now) that was all that we had. I tried not to imply fault on Triplette’s decision based on the photograph, but I had judged the play to require a reversal based on the video evidence. I apologize if it seemed that I was making that implication.

    Problem is, when you have to parse out the contact of the knee like that on a replay, chances are you are not going to get the reversal you want. If it is that close, the original call on the field — whether it be touchdown or incomplete — winds up being the final call.

  4. Sick to one’s stomach over this? Silly. That photo does NOT show without a doubt that his knee was in bounds. The perspective does not allow for such certainty. People want to get their feathers ruffled, so they’re calling this photo “indisputable” evidence that the challenge was valid. The photo provides no evidence for either side of the argument.

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