Johnson stands awaiting a ruling on his catch.
By now, everyone has heard about the call that was made in the final seconds of the opener in Soldier Field. The Chicago Bears had just managed to gain the lead against an impressive Lions defense that held the Bears to 19 points. After a kickoff, back-up Quarterback Shaun Hill once again receiver the keys to the car, and took the field.
Hill, a career back-up, has had just sixteen starts in his nine-year-career, received another chance to play when second-year savior Matthew Stafford went down after a sack in the first half. Stafford landed awkwardly on his throwing shoulder, and after re-entering the field in a sling, his day was over.
Under Hill, the offense became stagnant, running the football every first down. Of course, a veteran Bear's defense was able to keep this Lions offense, without it's leader, to astronomically small numbers. However, the Bears offense showed just how bad they are, when they were turned away time and time again by the Lions defense.
As the clock began to run out in the final moments of the game, the Lions still held the 14-13 lead Stafford was able to amount in the first half. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, Cutler and the Bears were finally able to score when he connected with his Running Back Matt Forte again.
The Lions had lost. Without Stafford, the offense had not been able to accomplish even the smallest in moral victories. Those famous Chicago winds blew in some magic. After Stefan Logan returned the kick-off to the Lions' eighteen yard line, something truly amazing happened; Shaun Hill began to carve up the Bears defense, marching without any interruptions down toward the Bears' end zone.
After five plays, the Lions were in striking distance, and Shaun Hill struck. A twenty-five yard completion to Calvin Johnson won the game for the Lions, as he leaped above the defenders. Or at least that is what would be written to conclude this story in a perfect world.
The referees decided that Calvin Johnson's effort wasn't enough for a touchdown, and over-turned the call.
I'm not mad that the Lions lost. I came into this season with hope, not misguided arrogance, but to lose in such a manner, is ridiculous.
Why is it, that in the most popular sport in America, the rules make no sense? If you're running the football, you can reach over the pylon or hold the ball over the chalk line, and those would count for touchdowns, so you'd think the same rules apply to catching the football as well. However, this is not the case.
According to the NFL, Calvin Johnson's three feet in bounds, one knee and obvious possession wasn't enough. Even though the line-judge ruled it a touchdown, something that isn't supposed to be over-turnable without review, the call was changed to an incomplete catch, and after a review process that showed Johnson clearly making the catch from different angle for two minutes, the call was proclaimed true.
What complete, total injustice.
Don't get me wrong, Cutler and the Bears played a great game, but they should not have won the ball game. I was impressed by the entire team, but they were given the game by incompetent referees. However, because it was so obvious, I began to wonder 'what if?'
What if the Lions weren't meant to win? How can a group of individuals entrusted with keeping the most profitable game in the United States miss such an obvious call? I thought, just as any fan would in my position, what if they missed the call on purpose?
I doubt that this is the case, but one has to ask the question.
The referees didn't just take a win away from the Detroit Lions, they took away hope. The Lions came into the season with wishful hope and desire, and it was taken from them. What else does a Lions fan have?
However, the real crux of the issue is the lack of attention this is going to get. Around the Internet, I've already seen fans of the other thirty-one writing this off as just another team complaining about a call, but frankly, it's much more than that. This rule needs to change.
Why is it that a running back can jump out of bounds and hang the ball over the pylon to score, but a wide receiver has to get up with the ball, hand the ball to the referee, and sit on the bench before the score becomes official?
This will effect other teams, and if it had started with a bigger-market team, more people would care. But because it is the lowly Lions, fans will just write this off. If you don't want this to happen to you, show the outrage now. Speak up, and tell Roger Goodell this rule doesn't have two feet in bounds.