Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson Catch Not a Touchdown? Time for a New Rule

Sean Grimm@@Sean_GrimmCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2010

Detroit Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson looks on with dejection after his touchdown was taken away
Detroit Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson looks on with dejection after his touchdown was taken awayJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Detrioit Lions were on a game winning drive against the Chicago Bears yesterday, and that drive was capped off with a beautiful completion to wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the end zone.

Johnson dropped the ball and proceeded to celebrate, the Lions' sidelines were jumping with joy.

But not so fast, Detroit.

The officials overruled the call and claimed that Johnson didn't have full control of the ball when he hit the ground, despite the fact that he had already touched the ground with both feet and had fallen before he let go of the pigskin.

The Lions' game winning drive was no more, they lost.

This questionable call has sent the football world into controversial debates, and many believe it's time for a tweaking of the current rule regarding touchdown catches.

Johnson's Catch: Good or Ball Call?

Taking a look back at Johnson's catch, it's easy to see the officials were dead wrong in taking away Johnson's first touchdown catch of the year, as well as a Lions' victory.

How could it not be a catch?

When watching the replay, Johnson clearly has possession of the ball and takes two steps before he falls. Once he falls he lets go of the football to run and celebrate.

It makes no sense that this would not be a catch, because if this happened anywhere else but the end zone it would have been ruled a fumble since Johnson had possession, and then let go. Therefore it should be a touchdown, because after a scoring catch play stops of course.

Detroit Lions fans, you got robbed. There's no denying that.

Time For a New Rule? 

As many know, this isn't the first time a player has missed out on a touchdown due to this controversial rule.

Another one of those times was last year when Jamarcus Russell connected with Louis Murphy for a touchdown pass. Murphy had clear possession of the ball when both of his feet hit the ground, only proceeding to lose possession when he hit the ground.

The touchdown was revoked.

After the Louis Murphy debacle last year and now the Calvin Johnson robbery, it's evident it's time for the NFL to take a look at changing the rule.

The rule is in a way a double standard when it comes to the end zone as I previously stated regarding fumbles. If Johnson and Murphy had caught these passes in any other part of the field, they would have been ruled fumbles because they had control of the ball when their feet hit the ground.

Therefore, if they have possession, how are these not touchdown catches?

The league needs to add clarity to this rule, and changing it would not be complicated or difficult.

For one option, they can implement the simple rule that if a receiver catches the ball and lands on both feet with full control of the ball, it's a touchdown and the play is over. The standards need to be consistent for the entire field, including the end zones. Period.

Play is supposed to cease once a player enters the end zone and scores, but this rule is an exception which is exactly why it needs to be changed.


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