Posted by: dvolpe | September 15, 2010

Hosed Again…

It’s getting pretty hard to be a Detroit sports fan. It was bad enough earlier in the year when Detroit Tiger’s pitcher Armando Galarraga lost out on a perfect game because of a blown call by the ump. Now a Detroit Lions team that won 0 games two seasons ago and just 2 last season, has been robbed of a game by referees following the “letter of the law” as it were. When Calvin Johnson caught what would have been a game winning touchdown, got both feet in bounds, went to the ground, got his butt down and his knee down and his hand down, and then lost the ball on his way up to celebrate, most analysts agreed that according the rules as they are written the right call was made. But in my opinion the way the rule is written, there is no right call because its incomplete.

Here’s what the rule states:

Item 1: Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

Now here’s the problem I have with this rule as its written. It says that he “Must maintain control of the ball after he hits the ground.” Here’s what’s missing: For how long? Does he have to hold it for 30 seconds? Until the whistle blows? Until the referee comes and takes it from him? Until he get’s on the team bus to go home? It’s not clear. Is the defender, or multiple defenders, allowed to rip and scrape and tear at the ball not only on the way down but after he’s down since the “process” is not yet complete? When is the play over? Can the defenders attempt to bat the ball out of his hand as he’s getting up to celebrate, on the way to the bench, when is the play over?!

It really makes no sense. Which leads to a situation where a player feels he’s held onto the ball long enough, gets up and loses the ball during his celebration. The worst thing about the rule is that it looked like a touchdown catch to most everyone watching. The fans saw a game winning touchdown catch, and oh by the way, the fans really like game winning touchdown passes. It is one of the, if not the, most exciting plays in football. Why would you want to take that away from the fans? Especially the fans in detroit, who quite frankly, don’t get to see that many game winning plays of any sort.

Quick Bits:

The Heisman that wasn’t: I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Reggie Bush has decided to put an end to all this nonsense and just go ahead and forfeit the Heisman trophy he won in 2005. So let me get this straight, if I go to the Major League Baseball’s singles season and all time home run hitting record books,  I see names like McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, all of them known or at least suspected juicers, but a kid who took a little money in college has to give the Heisman back? Give me a break.

QB controversy in Philly?: Andy Reid has tried to squash the impending quarterback controversy in Philadelphia after starting quarterback Kevin Kolb gave a substandard performance before leaving the game with a concussion at halftime. Reid has reiterated that Kevin Kolb (if healthy) is the starting quarterback to put to rest any rumors that Vick might be taking over the job full time. Unfortunately for Kolb and Reid, Michael Vick came in and electrified the team, almost leading them to a comeback despite the fact that the Eagles were down 10 points when Vick took the helm. Worse still for Kevin Kolb fans and for Andy Reid, the other Eagles players (especially DeSean Jackson) seemed fired up by Vick’s presence. If Reid doesn’t figure out a way to rally the team behind Kolb, there could be fractures in the locker room and booing in the stands in a heartbeat. After all, this is Philadelphia we’re talking about.

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