Monday, December 22, 2008

Adventures in officiating

There were a couple of reviews that made me scratch my head - like the phantom Ricky fumble late.  And there was the usual littany of calls and non-calls that played out.
But the "catch" by Darling (wasn't it lovely?) was wrong.  Let me set it up for you.
On the play before this catch, Will Allen had great position on the ball, and caught it.  He came down with it, and actually touched the ground with the ball in his grasp, but on the impact, the ball was forced out.  He knew it was incomplete and the officials called it so.  On the first shot below, you can see that while he is on the ground he has the ball.
Then, Darling makes the catch at the sidelines.  The commentators were focused on whether he got both feet down which, arguably, he did.  Apparently, the ref was looking for the same thing.  And ruled that it was a catch.
What they all missed was that Darling did not come down with the ball when he went out.  The rule states that you must carry the ball all the way through the catch.  What this means is that you have to still have possession of the ball until the play is over, you come down on the ground, or you take a couple of steps out of bounds. 
That's the reason Allen's interception was negated.  But, a play later, they missed it.
If you take a look at shot #2, Darling was bobbling the ball as he came down with it (in motion, its clear, here not so much).  And then, on shot #3, he loses the ball (its on the ground by his foot) a half second later.
The ruling should have been incomplete.
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