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Officiating video: highly disputed catch, blocking below the waist, and unusually successful challenge

NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron released the week 8 officiating video, in which he covered the Bears touchdown reversal, blocking below the waist, and a replay reversal that created a forward fumble.

In the Bears at Saints game, Bears tight end Zach Miller (who suffered a horrendous injury on the play) appeared to score a touchdown but it was later reversed to an incomplete pass. Video replayed showed movement of the ball (albeit very slight) as he was going to the ground as a result his shattered knee. He appeared to maintain possession through what’s known as “surviving the ground” with ball touching the ground while still under his control. Riveron explained that since the tip of the ball was touching the ground, that he did not maintain possession to finish the process. However, it is unclear if there was any “clear and obvious” evidence of ball movement warranting the reversal.

It should be noted that former heads of officiating Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino stated that they would have let the call stand as a touchdown. We even opined that the replay ruling “gives the impression that the catch process is a moving goalpost.”

Also covered was illegal blocks below the waist on a change of possession play in the Cowboys at Redskins game. The Redskins had a field goal blocked and returned into their own territory by Orlando Scandrick. (According to Quirky Research, this is one of the longest blocked field goal returns to not score.) During the run back, a Redskins defender went in for a low block while trying to get to the runner. The penalty occurred at the 4-yard line so the penalty assessed was half the distance to the goal. If the distance penalty is greater than half the distance to the goal, the penalty will only be assessed at half the distance. In this case the ball would spotted at the 2-yard line.

Lastly, in the Colts at Bengals game, the call on the field   was that Bengals receiver Brandon LaFell ran out of bounds, and lost the ball after being out. Colts cornerback Pierre Desir caught the ball from LaFell, and the Colts challenged the fact that they had a clear recovery of a fumble. On replay, it was determined that LaFell fumbled the ball foward into Dessir’s hands, but that Dessir did not complete the process for possession and control before he stepped out of bounds. The Bengals retained the ball at the spot of the fumble. However, the Colts did not actually lose the challenge due to a quirk, but Riveron does not explain this. For them to have lost the challenge, the ruling would have to not have overturned the reviewable element in this play, in this case here the fumble being that element, as we discussed in  our Sunday liveblog.

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One thought on “Officiating video: highly disputed catch, blocking below the waist, and unusually successful challenge

  1. In the first example, it sure looks like pass interference – grabbing the arm of the Bear’s receiver. Why wasn’t this called by the official?

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