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Week 10: Roundtable reviews reception replays



Football Zebras Roundtable

Week 10 had a few plays that were in replay that generated some questions from our readers. We asked former officiating supervisors Jim Daopoulos and Larry Upson to break down the calls.

Wrist is part of the hand

Play: At 4:03 in the 3rd quarter, Bengals receiver A.J. Green caught a pass and began to run. The ball came loose as he was being tackled.

Ruling: Green was ruled down by contact and was upheld by replay review.

Upson: In my humble opinion this play was not correctly ruled on the field and in replay review. The runners wrist comes in contact with the ground causing him to lose possession of the football. Any body part which touches the ground other than the hand puts the runner down-by-contact. However, the wrist is considered a part of the hand. This play should have been ruled a fumble since the ball comes out from the contact between the runners wrist and the ground. I see no other body part touching prior to the fumble.

Daopoulos: The ruling on the field was that the runner was down by contact. This ruling should have been reversed to a fumble and a legal recovery by Baltimore. When the runner goes to the ground the first contact is with the back of the hand and by rule for a runner to be down by contact that contact must be with any part of the leg above the ankle or any part of the arm above the wrist. This was an obvious reversal and not certain the reasoning for allowing this call to “stand.”

Packers challenge end zone incompletion

Play: On a fourth-down pass, Packers receiver Jordy Nelson attempted to secure a catch in the end zone.

Ruling: Incomplete pass and confirmed in a replay review (video at 3:21).

Upson: In my opinion, this ball is on the ground under the receiver and rightfully ruled incomplete. You can see that the ball separates from the hand that appears to be cradling the football. I have no doubt hat this play was ruled correctly on the field and sustained in replay review.

Daopoulos: The ruling on the field was incomplete pass, and I agree that this decision could not be reversed in replay since there was no indisputable visual evidence to change the call that was made. It appeared that Nelson secured the ball. However, in rolling over there was movement of the football, which does not necessarily cause the pass to be incomplete. But, in the opinion of the covering official, Nelson did not control the ball throughout the process. Without any evidence to disprove his decision the referee must stand with the call on the field. Again, I agree with the decision on the field, but thought it should have been a stand (inconclusive) rather than a confirm since it was not possible to observe the complete process of the catch.

Here is the grading card for the plays:

  Daopoulos Upson
A.J. Green down by contact, no fumble
Ding Ding
Incomplete pass to Jordy Nelson

(but ruled as inconclusive)


Football Zebras Roundtable is a periodic feature we will present on an ad-hoc basis to analyze select calls with experts.

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