Turnovers and the Replay Booth No Good to the Purple Gang

Ray StoneCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints dives over the pile for 2-yards to gain a first down on a 4th and 1 to go play in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in overtime. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


No excuses. The Vikings fumbled and threw away their Superbowl chances, but the refs and replay booth sure didn’t help.

In the overtime on the critical 4th down and 1 play, a Viking defender Chad Greenway (pictured) got his helmet right on the football forcing it to move backwards. When the ball carrier Pierre Thomas landed, I thought he and the ball were behind the 1st down marker. 

At least close enough to re-spot it and measure. (That would have made for great suspense too!)

He might have gotten to the marker initially and that was good but play continues until he hits the ground with the ball secure. When the ball moved he barely held onto it down at his waist. Keeping it pinned there until he fell.

That was a live ball and if he had lost it, it would have been a fumble.  He secured it, but the ball should have been spotted where he was downed with the ball in possession. 

That mark was behind the first down marker. He ended up landing closer to the blue line of scrimmage line. 

Granted, it was an extremely close play. 

If it were not overtime of the NFC Championship, I wonder if it would have been viewed differently. 

I think officials are fairly hesitant to overturn calls at such a crucial time in a big game.  Especially calls against the home team. 

The Meachem catch across the middle that was clearly bobbled, then controlled.  It looked awfully close to touching the turf. 

That one was really too hard to call, but still I think the same thought process applies there; if it is really close, just stick with the call on the field. 

Should we review it all?

Lastly the critical pass interference call in overtime.  There was not much contact there at all, plus the ball did appear to be over tight end Dave Thomas’ head. 

(Do the motion with me.)

The Vikings sideline, where the ball landed, screamed it to the refs.  They huddled briefly, then they spoke:  “Pass Interference…” 

I wonder if in playoff situations with so much on the line, even those types of discretion calls should be eligible for review. 

Mistakes happen.  There is human error in refereeing for sure. 

At the same time if a player does not break any rules, there should not be a penalty called against him by mistake. 

That kind of error can actually be reviewed and quickly corrected. 

The ref that threw the flag can trot over to the porn booth, or just look at the Megatron with the other 60,000 fans and watch the play again.  Then give a keep it or pick it up signal, like when the catcher asks the first base ump if the batter swung.

However it went, the Vikings are out. 

It’s too bad for #4.  All Brett had to do was stumble for a few yards, giving up his body one last time and give the kicker a chance to be a hero.  He had a guy open for a few yards right on the sideline.

But I guess it’s in a gunslinger’s destiny to go down shooting.