Monday, August 24, 2009

Adventures in officiating (part 2)

Earlier in the game, there was a punt that was muffed by the Panthers. The ball came down and the returner dropped the ball. It is clearly out of his possesion after he was hit by a Dolphin.

Then, Courtney Bryan fell on top of it.

A few players dove on him, but at the conclusion of the play, he stands up with the ball.

The officials - I'm guessing distracted by the cheerleaders - ruled that it was Carolina ball. Sparano threw the challenge flag. The officials conferred and announced that the play was not reviewable.

There was some lame explanation provided by the NFL to the broadcast crew. But the explanation is not correct. Here's why:

* All changes of possesion ARE reviewable.
* There are a few exceptions to when replay may be used; punting is NOT an exception
* Clearly the ball came out but all 7 officials missed that

The only logical conclusion I can come to is that the ref thought that a muff itself was not reviewable (though again there is no specific rule on that), and since they didn't see it, they couldn't review it.

Its preseason, so whatever, but I wouldn't want a game to be decided like that...
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