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Lions Robbed vs. Bears

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While I think it should've been a catch, the truth is that the bears essentially handed that game to the lions with their cheap turnovers and they still couldn't do anything with it. So no reason to make more of this than that.

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Wait, a Lions fan who disagrees with the call? Another unbelieveable turn of events.

Could you present an argument, from the text, to show this an incomplete pass? I've read this whole thread, and haven't seen that as yet.

Rob

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After watching the video, it seems obvious to me (sorry Buddha), that he did commit a "2nd act". He went to get up after making the catch. He caught it, two feet down, falls down, rolls over, goes to get up, and in that 2nd act, the ball comes out. Since the ball had "broken the plane" because he was in the endzone, and he'd completed the "first act" of catching ball, it's a touchdown, and really, it doesn't seem all that unclear. In the New Orleans game, he reaches out with the ball over the plane, and in the process, the ball does come out. Of course, that's after it crosses the plane.

The only difference between this "2nd act" and the "2nd act" of reaching out to put the ball over the goal line is that Johnson's 2nd act basically happened after the play was over.

I mean, could anyone really suggest that after catching the ball in the end zone and falling down, you have to successfully get up before it's a touchdown? Or do some other "2nd act" like perhaps Polonius's soliloquy from Hamlet about money management? I mean seriously, how long do you have to lie on the ground after catching the ball? Or how long after you get up do you have to hold the ball?

It's a poor rule, but to my mind, even under the poor rule, with the poor unwritten codicils, this play looks like a touchdown.

Rob

Rob...nice summation.

What I dont get is that from outside the endzone running all you have to do is break the plane, even if your body is diving out of bounds, even if someone knocks the ball out of your hands a split second later. BUT...in the endzone there is some mythical time frame you have to satisfy even after you hit the ground to determine possession...

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Rob...nice summation.

What I dont get is that from outside the endzone running all you have to do is break the plane, even if your body is diving out of bounds, even if someone knocks the ball out of your hands a split second later. BUT...in the endzone there is some mythical time frame you have to satisfy even after you hit the ground to determine possession...

In one situation, possession was already demonstrated prior to breaking the goal line. In the other situation, there was not possession until it could be exhibited through controlling and maintaining it through a catch.

I really don't find it that difficult to see the difference here.

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I still don't see how, as written in the rule book, that is an incomplete pass. As it states, a receiver needs to have control of the ball as he touches the ground. He definitely did. There was no bobble or juggle or anything. The ball was firmly in his hand, and he already got his 2 feet down in bounds before he even fell to the ground.

This...

only comes into play if he didn't have control of the ball at any point on his way down. When did he juggle the ball or bobble it? He established clear possession of the ball when he caught it in the air and landed his 2 feet in bounds and he still had control of the ball when he initially hit the ground.

It never says how long a player has to maintain control. It never says that a player has to sit on the ground for X number of seconds before it is ruled a catch. It never says that a player has to stand up with the ball after catching a pass. If it actually did say that, then the ruling would make sense. Otherwise, it is reading more into the rule than is there and is making something ambiguous that doesn't need to be. Him turning over to the side and letting go of the ball as he got up should be irrelevant. The play should have been over when he initially fell to the ground with the ball. B/c there is no clear process outlined for how long a player needs to maintain control of the ball prior to it touching the ground, or how long they need to stay on the ground or whether or not they need to stand up with the ball, then I don't see how anything else could or should be read into the rule.

He lost control of the ball when the ball hit the ground in his hand. He didn't "place" the ball down on the ground, he lost control of it by slamming it on the ground.

At that moment, he lost possession of the ball because it hit the ground.

Precisely because the rule is so imprecise as to how long it takes to maintain possession is why you should see how an official can come to a different interpretation than yours. What is possession? What is control? it's not defined, so when an official sees Johnson land with two feet but fall over and then lose control of the ball, they can say it's not a complete pass and, by the imprecise language of the rule, they can justify their opinion.

Ask Louis Murphy. Ask Bert Emmanuel. Ask Mike Sims-Walker. The rule is crazy and imprecise and open to multiple interpretations.

Look, I agree that it was a catch, but it's not cut and dry by any means. He lost possession of the ball when he stuck out his hand when he hit the ground.

And, again, if he makes a two handed catch, this isn't an issue at all. But he didn't. So it is and the Lions lost. This isn't a cut and dry rule being out of bounds or in bounds, he DID lose control of the ball because he stuck out his hand and slapped the ball on the ground.

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In one situation, possession was already demonstrated prior to breaking the goal line. In the other situation, there was not possession until it could be exhibited through controlling and maintaining it through a catch.

I really don't find it that difficult to see the difference here.

exactly. Merely having the ball in your hands in the end zone doesn't make the play dead. You have to have possession of the ball first...and maintain possession throughout the entire catch. If you had possession beforehand, then it's not the same thing.

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Look, the first rule of the NFL is 'Thou shall not criticize the NFL'. Yes it was a touchdown and everyone knows it, but the refs know it's better to be technically correct then to let common sense rule.

The only people criticizing the ruling are the fans in the bars and on the internet because all the pundits owe their salary either directly or indirectly to the NFL.

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Rob...nice summation.

What I dont get is that from outside the endzone running all you have to do is break the plane, even if your body is diving out of bounds, even if someone knocks the ball out of your hands a split second later. BUT...in the endzone there is some mythical time frame you have to satisfy even after you hit the ground to determine possession...

It's possession versus position. Possession has to be established before position matters. However, the other video that was posted is actually an excellent comparison. The guy had done no more to establish possession than Calvin Johnson, and both initiated a "2nd act" (IMO). The thing is, with the other guy, he had to do more, cause he wasn't in the end zone. With Johnson, he didn't have to do any more in the actual context of play.

He thought, along with most, that catching the ball, coming down, and retaining possession was enough. Weirdly, the rule appears to say that exact thing. And indeed, the whole extra-textual rules discussion seems to lead to the same discussion, as Johnson was doing a whole other thing (getting up) after he'd already landed in the endzone with full and unbroken possession of the ball.

Rob

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He lost control of the ball when the ball hit the ground in his hand. He didn't "place" the ball down on the ground, he lost control of it by slamming it on the ground.

But don't you agree that he was getting up at that point? The catch was done.

At that moment, he lost possession of the ball because it hit the ground.

Precisely because the rule is so imprecise as to how long it takes to maintain possession is why you should see how an official can come to a different interpretation than yours. What is possession? What is control? it's not defined, so when an official sees Johnson land with two feet but fall over and then lose control of the ball, they can say it's not a complete pass and, by the imprecise language of the rule, they can justify their opinion.

Ask Louis Murphy. Ask Bert Emmanuel. Ask Mike Sims-Walker. The rule is crazy and imprecise and open to multiple interpretations.

Look, I agree that it was a catch, but it's not cut and dry by any means. He lost possession of the ball when he stuck out his hand when he hit the ground.

I dunno Buddha, I just don't see this much wiggle room in the text. (he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone.) Yes, those terms (control, possession, and even "after") are open to interpretation, but the clarification that had gone on talks about a 2nd act, and from the video, it sure looks like the reason he puts his hand (and the ball) down is that he's getting up.. Post catch.

He clearly *did* maintain control for a considerable time after hitting the ground. Could you define "after" to be long enough to make it not "possession"? Sure. In any reasonable way? I don't see it.

And, again, if he makes a two handed catch, this isn't an issue at all. But he didn't. So it is and the Lions lost. This isn't a cut and dry rule being out of bounds or in bounds, he DID lose control of the ball because he stuck out his hand and slapped the ball on the ground.

Agreed, he should have just tucked it in and rolled over. No argument about that.

Rob

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If a player makes a diving "catch" and then spins the ball while he is still on the ground (after being downed by contact), is that a catch? Or, is that incomplete? Would said player have lost possession of the ball b/c the ball made contact with the ground while it was in his hand?

I've never seen a play or celebration like that called an incomplete pass.

It isn't a cut and dry rule. Most rules aren't. But, I don't see all that much wiggle room, either. He had 2 feet down and fell on his side without bobbling the ball. I guess if there is nothing definitive to establish what "control" actually is, then one could argue that he didn't have control prior to the ball touching the ground. But, then, a lot of the celebrations after a player makes a diving catch should be ruled incomplete passes b/c one could always question whether or not a player actually had control of the ball if he simply let go of the ball prior to standing up.

Edited by Scottwood

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Could you present an argument, from the text, to show this an incomplete pass? I've read this whole thread, and haven't seen that as yet.

Rob

From what "text"? The PFT article? I think they're kind of a bunch of morons...

Anyway, I think the issue at hand is the sequencing of events. You maintain that CJ caught the ball, put two feet down, fell down, rolled over... then there was a second act where he got up and I guess dropped the ball.

I'm saying he never caught the ball because there was never demonstrated possession, thus the rest is irrelevant.

As far as the second act, I'm not sure you can have a second act in the end zone. The only act is demonstrated possession, because once you have that, it's immediately a touchdown (unlike the example in the PFT article). Further, is "getting up" really an action that furthers a football player/teams' chances? What if CJ just stuck out his tongue? Is that a second act? A second action, as I see it, is something that a player does to continue a play (e.g. lung to the goal line, etc) or to score. If not, where do you draw the line on a second action? A blink? Getting up, does nothing to exhibit that the ball was controlled, which is what the second act is about (i.e. you must have had control/possession to embark on a second action).

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I watched the video of the play a few times, and I just don't get it. I don't understand how that was not a completed touchdown pass.

Lions were robbed. No doubt in my mind.

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It's been a couple of years since but The List has been updated:

I remember my worst days as a Lions fan:

1) 1993 Wild Card – Packers 28 Lions 24 – How can a guy get so ****ing open there.

2) 1983 Divisional Playoff – 49ers 24 Lions 23 – Wide Right

3) 1980 Thanksgiving – Bears 23 Lions 17 – David Williams. Enough said.

4) 1995 Wild Card – Eagles 58 Lions 37 – An Embarrassment

5) 1981 vs. Tampa Bay – Bucs 20 Lions 17 – Almost 30 years later and this game still pisses me off.

6) 1994 Wild Card – Packers 16 Lions 12 – Herman was so close to being in bounds.

7) 2010 at Bears -- Bears 19 Lions 14 - The Calvin Johnson Rule is born

8) 1990 vs. Washington – Redskins 41 Lions 38 – The Jeff “F’ing” Rutledge Game

9) 2002 at Bears - Bears 20 Lions 17 – The worst move in the history of coaching.

10) 1988 vs. New Orleans – Saints 22 Lions 14 – "MayDay" The Jim Arnold Fake Punt Game.

Bonus:

2004 vs. Minnesota – Vikings 28 Lions 27 – Typical…

2007 at Eagles - Eagles 56 Lions 21 - Kevin Curtis deserves a spot somewhere on the list

2008 at Packers - Packers 31 Lions 21 - Worst Team Ever

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2004 vs. Minnesota – Vikings 28 Lions 27 – Typical…

I still blame my wife for this one. Amazing end to the game, the Lions actually get it in. I'm stunned, I'm thrilled, I'm screaming... then my wife says: "Watch, they'll screw up the point after."

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Now I think about it, 2005 at Tampa should really be on the bonus section of the list. Very similar to yesterday as the refs stole a Joey to Marcus Pollard TD pass to end the game.

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I still blame my wife for this one. Amazing end to the game, the Lions actually get it in. I'm stunned, I'm thrilled, I'm screaming... then my wife says: "Watch, they'll screw up the point after."

That was the last time I let the Lions hurt me, where I really got mad about a Lions loss.

By a reasonable definition, I have not been a fan since that game.

Rob

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From what "text"? The PFT article? I think they're kind of a bunch of morons...

The text of the rule..

Anyway, I think the issue at hand is the sequencing of events. You maintain that CJ caught the ball, put two feet down, fell down, rolled over... then there was a second act where he got up and I guess dropped the ball.

And as you say below, in a real way, the "2nd act" thing is not the same as discussed elsewhere, because in the end zone, once you catch the ball, the play is over.

I'm saying he never caught the ball because there was never demonstrated possession, thus the rest is irrelevant.

As far as the second act, I'm not sure you can have a second act in the end zone. The only act is demonstrated possession, because once you have that, it's immediately a touchdown (unlike the example in the PFT article). Further, is "getting up" really an action that furthers a football player/teams' chances? What if CJ just stuck out his tongue? Is that a second act? A second action, as I see it, is something that a player does to continue a play (e.g. lung to the goal line, etc) or to score. If not, where do you draw the line on a second action? A blink? Getting up, does nothing to exhibit that the ball was controlled, which is what the second act is about (i.e. you must have had control/possession to embark on a second action).

Actually, I agree with this. A second act makes little or no sense in the end zone, because the play is over. Why is the play over? He caught ball, hit the ground, and kept control of the ball.

I honestly don't see how you're not seeing "control" in the sequence where he lands on both feet, falls down, and rolls over. It's clear that he's getting up when the ball comes out of his hand.

I am NOT saying he spiked the ball. That's clear to me from the video. It was not on purpose that he dropped the ball. However, it was on purpose that he apparently stopped trying to hold the ball. Also, the process of catching the ball, controlling it, and maintaining control for an extended period was clearly over, and he was getting up to celebrate.

While not a '2nd act' in the sense the other discussion intended it, it's pretty obvious he was no longer in the act of "catching the ball".

Obviously also you disagree... However, thanks for clarifying my thinking on this.

Rob

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Johnson did nothing wrong. He did everything just fine. If our QB had the name "Manning" or "Brady" or especially "Favre" on his jersey- or if Johnson played for NY, Indy, NE or a few other teams -- there would've been no question by any official that it wasn't a clean TD. It was a BS call based on a BS rule that anyone who has seen the play knows should have been a TD.

I just can't fault Johnson for scoring a winning TD by catching a ball, securing the ball, landing two feet and an *** in the end zone, and then wanting to celebrate a bit afterward (if in fact that's what he was doing). He did everything he needed to do to score the TD. The lawyers running the NFL just wanted to make an example of someone so they could look smart by explaining the "process" to all of us stupid fans. That isn't football, that's ****ing SOCCER.

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Wait, a Lions fan who disagrees with the call? Another unbelieveable turn of events.

Wrong Bears fan, I agreed with the call because it was the greatest call ever made.

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I had to show my wife the call last night.

She was tired, hungry and complaining "I don't want to see it & I don't care!"

I said "this is crazy I have to get your judgement on this call because maybe I am missing something and a non football fan may see it differently"

Well she whined and moaned trying to get away from the computer until I finally got a video of the play up and she instantly changed her sour expression and spoke deadpan like "That's a touchdown. He was throwing the ball to celebrate"..... she said " the official got the call right its a touchdown".. I guess she saw the official signaling TD right beside Calvin.

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But he didn't keep control of the ball when he hit the ground. If he keeps the ball in his hands the entire time, it's a catch, but he didn't.

Same thing happened to Polamalu a couple years ago. He catches the ball, falls to the ground and rolls over and when he gets up, he lets the ball go in celebration.

Louis Murphy last year made the catch, got hit, and the ball moved a little and hit the ground after he was down in the end zone and after he'd been touched in the end zone, but since the ball hit the ground (even though he possessed it in the end zone and had been touched in the end zone while he was on the ground) it was ruled not a catch.

That's what happened here. Johnson catches the ball, gets two feet down, falls down and then IN THE ACT OF ROLLING OVER, the ball hits the ground and comes out of his hand. Not a catch.

I think it's borderline, but it's surprising to see so many of you who think it's an obvious catch. I haven't heard one person say it was a catch except for Lions fans. Now, people say it SHOULD have been a catch and that the rule is stupid, but no one - except for us - is saying it was a catch within the rule. They've all seen it called this way for the last few years and this is the first tiime most of us are paying attention to it.

No catch.

It's a stupid rule, but it's the rule. And - unlike Louis Murphy, unlike Lance Moore, unlike Mike Sims-Walker and unlike anyone else I've seen get victimized by this rule other than Palomalu - Calvin Johnson was not being hit at the time of the catch. make the catch and fall down and it's not an issue.

If you think I'm being harsh, that's basically what Jim Schwartz said.

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Johnson's is different than Murphy's b/c you can see him spin the ball with his fingertips in an act of celebration after he got his one knee sightly off the ground. He was on his way up and purposely spun the ball at the beginning of his celebration. Murphy's occurred in one continuous motion and the impact of falling on the ground caused him to lose the ball. In his play, I didn't see any hint of celebration or any "second act."

If one wanted to argue that CJ's premature celebration cost him, then, I could see that. With the murkiness of the rule, one could call that pass incomplete. Though, I think common sense should just take over. I think the 2 acts are pretty clear to see. The first act was when he caught the ball cleanly in the air and landed his 2 feet and then still controlled the ball in his outstretched arm when he fell on his side. The second act occurred when he was in the process of getting up. He rolled over, got one knee slightly off the ground, put the ball on the ground, spun it, and then finished his upward trajectory and ran around the back of the end zone.

CJ's would be more of a "catch," than Murphy's imo, b/c it would fit more under the "second act." But, I guess that is what you get when you celebrate prematurely and put it in the hands of the official. If you don't showboat in anyway, then its a guaranteed TD.

Edited by Scottwood

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That's what happened here. Johnson catches the ball, gets two feet down, falls down and then IN THE ACT OF ROLLING OVER, the ball hits the ground and comes out of his hand. Not a catch.

I combat that with this, why was he rolling over? Was it his momentum? No, he was rolling over to stand up, which is a second act, which would make it no different than the lance moore reception last year. He caught it, turned his body after landing to get up, that's where it ends in my book. I understand the rule, but disagree with how it was inturpreted.

I think it's borderline, but it's surprising to see so many of you who think it's an obvious catch. I haven't heard one person say it was a catch except for Lions fans. Now, people say it SHOULD have been a catch and that the rule is stupid, but no one - except for us - is saying it was a catch within the rule. They've all seen it called this way for the last few years and this is the first tiime most of us are paying attention to it.

I've heard on several national radio sports shows that the host along with a lot callers saying it was a catch. Heck on Sean and Terp today a Bears fan called in to say we were robbed and that it was a catch. On other boards I've seen Viking fans defend it as a catch as well. We're not alone on this one, Deion said it was a catch too...

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Johnson's is different than Murphy's b/c you can see him spin the ball with his fingertips in an act of celebration after he got his one knee sightly off the ground. He was on his way up and purposely spun the ball at the beginning of his celebration. Murphy's occurred in one continuous motion and the impact of falling on the ground caused him to lose the ball. In his play, I didn't see any hint of celebration or any "second act."

If one wanted to argue that CJ's premature celebration cost him, then, I could see that. With the murkiness of the rule, one could call that pass incomplete. Though, I think common sense should just take over. I think the 2 acts are pretty clear to see. The first act was when he caught the ball cleanly in the air and landed his 2 feet and then still controlled the ball when he fell on his side. The second act was when he rolled over, got one knee slightly off the ground, put the ball on the ground, spun it, and then finished upward trajectory and ran around the back of the end zone.

CJ's would be more of a "catch," than Murphy's imo, b/c it would fit more under the "second act." But, I guess that is what you get when you celebrate prematurely and put it in the hands of the official. If you don't showboat in anyway, then its a guaranteed TD.

What's the difference between CJs and Polamalu's?

I don't think CJ did it in celebration, and I don't think he spun the ball out, I think he slammed it on the ground and it came out of his hand after he did it. I don't think it was a "second act," but it is definitely debateable that he was still in the process of rolling on the ground after falling when he lost control of the ball so it was part of the act of the initial catch.

Look, the officials aren't trying to screw the Lions, they made a judgment call. A judgment call that was not made up, but was a genuine interpretation of the rule.

I've heard on several national radio sports shows that the host along with a lot callers saying it was a catch. Heck on Sean and Terp today a Bears fan called in to say we were robbed and that it was a catch. On other boards I've seen Viking fans defend it as a catch as well. We're not alone on this one, Deion said it was a catch too...

Come on GG. radio call ins and message boards?

I saw what deion said, and he was saying that it should have been a touchdown because it was a catch and the rule is stupid, not that it was a catch under the stupid rule. And Mooch disagreed with him....as did eisen...as did everyone else.

Not that everyone else is right and we're all wrong, but it has been almost unanimous that it was NOT a catch. NFL network, ESPN, everywhere.

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What's the difference between CJs and Polamalu's?

I didn't see Polamlu's or know what that play entails.

I don't think CJ did it in celebration, and I don't think he spun the ball out, I think he slammed it on the ground and it came out of his hand after he did it.

In the replay, you can clearly see him curl his fingers up after letting go of the ball, and there is a definite spin to the ball. If he had just slammed it to the ground in a forceful motion and then it fell out of his hand, then his hand and fingers likely wouldn't have been able to bend in that directed of a manner. If anything, his hand would have been bent in the opposite direction b/c of the force behind the unexpected impeding object.

At 1:10 of this clip, there is a good look at it. Ball is initially placed on the ground, then let go of, there is spin to the ball, and his fingers curl backwards in his hand.

YouTube - Calvin Johnson Robbed of TD By Refs.. Lions vs. Bears Sept 12th 2010

I see that as a pretty clear spinning motion. His one knee was slightly off the ground, he had turned, he was already on his way off the ground and he had begun to celebrate.

Look, the officials aren't trying to screw the Lions, they made a judgment call. A judgment call that was not made up, but was a genuine interpretation of the rule.

Um, I never once said this. So, I don't see the point in even bringing this up. I don't believe they are deliberately trying to screw the Lions. I just think they made a bad call. It happens to all organizations.

Edited by Scottwood

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