Breaking Down Louis Murphys Non-Catch

Ramone BrownSenior Writer ISeptember 16, 2009

There is alot of debate on whether or not Louis Murphys "catch" towards the end of the first half monday night against the Chargers was rightfully over-turned.

Me myself after reading numerous opinions on the play am unsure. But heres by best attempt at being unbiased in a break-down of the play.

First heres the rule and refferee Carl Cheffars explanation:

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 of the NFL Rule Book (page 51) states that “if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact with 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.”

Cheffers: "We had a situation where the receiver caught the pass in the air and as he is coming down to the ground, he is actually going to the ground. That’s a defined term in our rule book, a player, a receiver who is going to the ground.

"The rule book says, if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass, with or without contact by opponent—so that can be on his own; In this case, he got hit by an opponent—he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or in 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.

"That wasn’t the case. What we ruled, what we saw in replay, was that he was going to the ground, as he came down the ball came loose, he lost control of the ball, the ball skidded along the ground, he eventually completely lost control of the ball. So, by rule, by what we saw in review, it’s an incomplete pass."

On the play Murphy appears to catch the ball over the defender and and come down on both feet...Touchdown right?

Well aparently not, according to Cheffers response in an interview the fact that Murphy was on his way to the ground negates the fact that he got two feet down. He has to maintain possesion all the way to and while one the ground. 

Then theres the fact that his butt also hits the ground before he drops it. Regarding the rules of possesion a but is equal to two feet and equals possesion.

Well apaerently the fact that he is going to the ground still applies here. So far the rule has negated possesion with two feet and a butt which is technically equivalent to four steps in the endzone.

So assuming all that is proper interpretation of the rule and he didn't have possesion prior to the drop...Is that a fair rule? And when exactly is the act of catching the ball complete?

Now on the the actual drop.

After he rolls over onto his knees the ball does move. Does this mean he has lost control of the ball?

Some Raider fans even argue the ball doesn't actually fully come out until he is in the process of getting up off the ground.

Then theres one more NFL rule. In order to over-turn a play called on the field there must be irrefuttable evidence.

Let me ask you...Is it really irrefuttable that Louis Murphy dropped that ball?

Then there is one more issue.

Many Raider fans argue that we were cheated out of a win on that play. Really?

It was tied at the end of the second qaurter and we were able to take the lead with a field goal rather than the TD.

Even if we were robbed four points (the difference in the score) we still had a chance to stop the Chargers on the game winning drive. We just failed to do so.

And even if we had those four points that doesn't result in a win. That would have meant overtime and we still would have had to beat the Chargers in overtime play.

So Raider Nation what do you think? Was it a catch? Were we robbed? Or was it a correct call?

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