As reported by Greg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk, there will be no Calvin Johnson “rule” as a result of the 2010 Week 1 TD catch that was overturned by a part-time referee, and upheld by the part-time replay official in the booth.
So sayeth the NFL Competition Committee. The sole arbiters of American professional football rules.
These are not your churlish gnomes who merely toil in film rooms. They are power brokers all, who enter into a papal-like conclave where the only way out is for white smoke to be seen rising from the chimney.
This last bastion in the seemingly omnipotent defense of the rules made a decision on “The process” , as it relates to the TD catch that never happened. There is no appeal. No legal recourse. No advise and consent.
OK, let’s review this for the sake of edification and my own sanity. We’ve all seen it a hundred times, if not more. I, myself, can see it in my mind’s eye. I’m certain that any of you who cannot are either a Bears fan or have killed way too many brain cells to care.
Johnson rose high above double coverage to snag the ball with both hands. So far, so good. Johnson then transferred the ball to one paw (I can’t call it a hand, as it is too large). Two feet, two knees, and one buttock (channeling Forest Gump) subsequently hit the ground within the confines of the end zone. Touchdown!
The head linesman’s hands thrust towards the heavens. The Lions players and fans reign triumphant! Johnson finished the play with a semi-spike, as he segued from play to celebration.
Or, so we thought. The part-time referee rushed to the scene of the crime and waived the play off. The “waive-off” gesture was a mime’s vociferous refutation of his part-time head linesman’s TD call, as if mocking his equally part-time minion.
Silent shock ensued, while the replay booth rendered a final judgment. The Fox Network’s lackey, Mike Peirera, educated us on the subtleties of the “process” as it relates to what is and what is not a catch.
When the part time replay official vindicated the part time referee’s decision regarding “the process”, the NFL fandom, as a whole, was as enraged as it was in the infamous “tuck rule” fiasco.
What is it about the rules that makes the beautiful simplicity of what we all see into a Dante’s Inferno of controversy? Did anyone see anything that did not resemble an outstanding play by an outstanding player?
No? I thought not.
For the betterment of the NFL and the game in general, I urge the NFL’s Competition Committee to review the rules regarding what is and what is not a reception.
Keep it simple, stupid! Possession of the ball with two feet in bounds is about as simple as it gets. Period. No process. No lawyers. No pundits explaining the so called “process”.
It really is, after all, a simple game. Adjudicate it as such. Please.
I know the futility of my plea. This will fall upon the deaf ears of the dilettantes who have anointed themselves as the keepers of the holy grail that we fans know as the NFL rules.
As a fan, however, I want clarity, and simplicity in the rules. Rules that have not been written by lawyers for part-time officials under extreme stress.
We want fair rulings that are reflective of what we, the world, and the field officials see as the simple truth. Without the corruption of small print.
Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.