The New York Jets have been twice victimized by a bad interpretation of the catch rule. Just read it and it’s obvious.
To begin, the New York Jets did not lose either of these games because of the calls. This is not an article to go and start blaming referees for Jets losses. Far from it. The team had the opportunity to win both of these games simply by playing better. But the fact is that there were two plays, one in the Patriots game and one in the Panthers game, where Austin Seferian-Jenkins had touchdowns reversed on replay review.
With all of the talk and the controversy, it seemed like the time to see whether or not, in fact, the referees got it right. So we take a look at what the rule actually states. After doing that, we learn that Seferian-Jenkins did get robbed on both occasions.
Take a look at what the rulebook has to say about a receiver going to the ground:
A player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.
The operative part is regaining control prior to the ball touching to the ground. If we apply logic, that means that if the ball never touches the ground, it’s a catch.
Can someone tell me where the ball hit the ground? It seems as if the ball was caught by the tight end and never hit the ground. I learned when I was eight that if someone throws me a ball and I don’t drop it? That means I caught it. Al Riveron (head of officiating) must think that micromanaging something as simple as a catch makes sense.
Here is the one from last week. Unless the turf is wearing a Seferian-Jenkins suit, that ball never touched the ground. The scariest part is that the referees have replay available to them. The ball didn’t touch the ground. By the rule, it’s a catch and therefore a touchdown. Read the rule.
The NFL is getting into a bad habit with this rule. They are micromanaging every catch made. Yes, take a look at the scoring plays, that’s fine. But stop looking for problems that aren’t there. Watch the play. Anyone with eyes knows if it’s a catch or not, and quickly. Just go with it.