As we look back over our notes from another busy two days of NFL action, there’s one major unresolved issue still on the list.
The Mike Sims-Walker no-catch catch in Jacksonville’s 37-17 trouncing of the Titans.
The league’s immediate reaction as of Sunday afternoon was to support referee Alberto Riveron’s decision to overturn via replay review the call on the field, that Sims-Walker failed to maintain possession of the ball when he finally hit the ground in the end zone. As we understand it, however, the league isn’t in the habit of second-guessing decisions made by game officials on Sundays.
So the question becomes whether V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira will address the issue during Wednesday night’s “Official Review” during Total Access on NFL Network.
Our guess is that he will, primarily since the guy who asks the questions — Rich Eisen — expressed during NFL GameDay Final a little frustration regarding a rule that has, through the first four weeks of the season, created frustrating results.
If, as we understand it, the rule requires a player who is going to the ground while making a catch to keep possession until and after his body strikes the ground, then the ruling on the field in Sims-Walker’s case should have been upheld on review.
The only question is whether Sims-Walker was going to the ground. The officials in the end zone presumably believed that he was. Riveron thought otherwise.
But isn’t that the very type of judgment call that shouldn’t be subject to replay review? Really, if it’s OK for the referee to second-guess whether a player was going to the ground when making a catch, shouldn’t replay be used to determine whether pass interference did or didn’t occur?
Bottom line, it’s an area of the rules that requires clarification, not only for the benefit of the folks watching the game — but also for the benefit of the people charged with applying the rules.