The Calvin Johnson Rule and 4 Mandates the NFL Needs to Change Most
The NFL is full of great playmakers putting on exciting and competitive performances every week. The fun-filled games and heated action is what draws so many fans and so much attention to the sport.
However, due to the high level of play, the NFL is forced to incorporate a large amount of rules. Many of these rules serve great purpose; however, there are a few which have repeatedly drawn controversy, negative feedback and criticism.
Ahead are a few rules which the NFL should consider taking a second look at and possibly changing.
The 'Calvin Johnson Rule'
The NFL's 'Calvin Johnson Rule' is one of the most highly debated and inconsistent principles being used in the game today, and it has been responsible for a number of negated touchdowns this season.
On Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals fell the latest victim of the rule when in the fourth quarter of their tight game against the Ravens, tight end Jermaine Gresham appeared to have a fourth quarter touchdown reception.
The reception was later ruled an incomplete pass because as refs stated, he did not maintain possession of the ball all the way to the ground.
The 'Calvin Johnson Rule' is not an actual rule, but rather a clarification regarding catches made in the end zone. The rule states that a receiver must maintain possession of the ball in the end zone at all times, even after hitting the ground.
The idea behind the 'Calvin Johnson Rule' came to light during Week 1 of last season when the Lions' Calvin Johnson caught and secured possession of the ball in the end zone with both of his feet touching and in bounds.
However, following the catch, Johnson fell to the ground and the ball popped out when his hand hit. Originally ruled a touchdown, the play was later overturned following a review by the officials in which they determined the pass was incomplete.
Players, coaches and fans alike are still very unclear on the clarification of this ruling, which has led to plays such as these being called inconsistently all season.
With so much contradiction regarding these types of calls, the outcome is often left to the refs' discretion. This ongoing dispute is why this rule needs to be changed.
The Tuck Rule
There may be no single rule in the NFL that has caused more controversy than the "Tuck Rule."
Most famously known for its responsibility in knocking the Oakland Raiders out of the 2001 NFL playoffs, the "Tuck Rule" states:
When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.
So, if a quarterback changes his mind and decides to tuck a ball instead of throwing it and happens to lose the ball in the process, then it is an incomplete pass, but if the ball is tucked and the quarterback loses it, then it's a fumble.
This is another call that is often up to the eye of the beholder and the refs' discretion.
The pass interference call in the NFL is one that is most certainly necessary, but also leaves the door open for a lot of debate.
For starters, pass interference on the defense means the offense gets the ball at the spot of the foul. In this situation, the receiver gets the benefit of the doubt that if the defense had not interfered with the play, the catch would have been made.
Now, if an offensive player gets called for pass interference on his defender it is a 15-yard penalty. In most cases, pass interference on the offense means the receiver pushed off or pulled on the defender to get an advantage on the catch.
However, in some cases an offensive player gets called for pass interference because he is doing everything in his power to prevent a defender from making an interception. In this case, a defender who appears to have a clear interception is not given the same benefit of doubt that the offensive player is given.
Then, there is the "catchable or uncatchable ball" call. In the event that a defender gets tangled up with a player before a play is made on the ball, the referee is left to determine whether the ball would have been catchable or uncatchable by a receiver had the interference not happened.
This decision is solely up to the refs, which once again leads to discretion.
Many people may disagree with this, but I personally miss an ol' excessive celebration from time to time. For the most part, celebrations caused no harm and made the game that much more fun to watch.
I mean come on, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have both put up some pretty great performances in their day, yet their celebrations were still one of the most exciting parts of their games. Who can ever forget Johnson's putt with the pylon or Owens' stored Sharpie in the goal post?
If you didn't find these entertaining then it's time to find a sense of humor.
An offensive celebration should most definitely warrant a penalty and a fine, but harmless antics for the sake of entertainment never hurt anyone.