Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson: A Victim of the Stubborn

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The NFL pulled up lame yesterday. Following their rules (and correctly), officials took away what would have been a go-ahead touchdown catch by Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson during their 19-14 loss to the Bears on Sunday.

The tag line that continuously popped up during explanations was completing “the process” of a catch.

In fact, here is the actual rule from Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, direct from the 2010 Official Playing Rules And Casebook Of The National Football League:

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 after he touches 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.

Let’s be clear about this. The referees are not to blame. Although, one official initially called it a touchdown (and rightfully so).

They followed the call to the letter of the law.

The people to blame are the Competition Committee and the policy makers of the NFL.

It looked rather clear that Johnson maintained possession and he lost the ball once he was establishing his second move.

The rule needs to be re-examined in the offseason because it looks somewhat silly for a player to have two feet on the ground, land on his butt, and then finally “lose possession” of the ball. It should be called in the spirit of the play.

However, it will not get changed because there will not be a big enough ground swell of support to do so.

It looked like to me he was going to celebrate when he lost it. Unfortunately for the Lions, the officials cannot and did not assume such a thing.

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