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A closer look at the Stokley touchdown

Tuesday’s trade deadline kept us from getting to the one glaring moment about which Chargers fans were most concerned during the latter moments of Monday night’s loss to the Broncos.

The play in question — a touchdown reception by Brandon Stokley — drew a challenge flag because it appeared that Stokley, who landed with the ball outside the end zone, had been touched by Chargers defensive back Antonio Cromartie before rolling across the white line.

Replays seemed to suggest that Stokley might have caught the ball while partially in the end zone, but also while falling down.

Said referree Scott Green at the time:  “After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field is confirmed.  The receiver had possession of the ball with two feet down in the end zone.  The play is over at that point.”

But is the play over at that point, if the receiver is going to the ground while making the catch?

It isn’t, the league office has advised us.  Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello by e-mail on Tuesday, after communicating with V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira:  “It isn’t over until he holds onto the ball but he gets the touchdown if he establishes control in the end zone.”

So if Stokley had lost possession of the ball when he landed, the proper ruling would have been that the pass was incomplete — even if he had possession of the ball and two feet down in the end zone.

And that discrepancy bothers us.  If a player who’s going to the ground doesn’t complete the catch until he maintains possession after coming to rest, should he be given a touchdown if he doesn’t come to rest beyond the front of the end zone?

The better rule would be to treat the catch as being made where the player lands, not where he happened to be visiting while trying to secure the ball.

The other thing that bothers us about this case is that Green seemed to ignore the ruling on the field.  The official signaled touchdown only after Stokley rolled into the end zone.  Thus, the official didn’t believe that Stokley had secured possession of the ball with two feet down and the ball across the front of the goal line.

That’s an important point because, to overturn the official’s interpretation of what had occurred, Green would have had to see indisputable (i.e., 50 guys in a bar would agree) visual evidence that the ball was breaking the plane when Stokley had possession of it, with two feet down.

Bottom line?  The Competition Committee has some work to do in the offseason, both as to the rule regarding catches made while going to the ground, and as to this odd glitch in the rules where a touchdown can be scored even if the receiver who was falling down finally completes the catch on the wrong side of the goal line.

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67 Responses to “A closer look at the Stokley touchdown”
  1. GovtMinion says: Oct 21, 2009 10:42 AM

    Oh come on, are we honestly going to claim the refs screwed the Chargers every time they play Denver now?

  2. kessdaman says: Oct 21, 2009 10:44 AM

    The calls on this rule are incredibly inconsistent, Ward had a touchdown overturned on this basis.
    What can you expect from NFL officials, they are never all on the same page.

  3. Babie Hoodie says: Oct 21, 2009 10:45 AM

    Bottom Line?
    The Broncos still won by 11 points and dominated that game in the 2nd half. Even if that wasn’t ruled a touchdown, it would have been a 4th and goal from the 6 inch line. You don’t think Josh McDaniels would have went for the knockout punch? With the way the Chargers defense spends all the their time huffing, puffing and sticking their chest out, the Broncos would have easily used that dominate offensive line to allow Kyle Orton to QB sneak it in for a TD.
    Game Over. Don’t try to create some new Ed Hochuli drama over a call that was clearly irrelevant. I see what you are trying to accomplish Florio and I don’t buy into it.
    San Diego had how many possessions in the 2nd half to score points and could only muster up three? Thought so…

  4. rydendonkeys says: Oct 21, 2009 10:45 AM

    Totally agree, these rules on what is and is not a catch is ridiculous, and flawing at least one game a week.
    Rules committee has got to make these rules black and white, and I think take out the rule about completing the catch after hitting the ground.
    Ex. If reciever jumps up, catches the ball on the side of the endzone, gets his toes down ala Santonio Holmes, falls out of the endzone, and then the ball comes loose after falling out of bounds, you are gonna tell me that is not a catch?
    STUPID.

  5. Kevin from Philly says: Oct 21, 2009 10:50 AM

    Hey, as bad as the refs have been this season, their still ten million percent better than the umps at the Yankees/Angels game last night. How do you tag two guys standing OFF third base and get only one out?

  6. hayward giablommi says: Oct 21, 2009 10:50 AM

    First of all, I believe Scott Green is either completely incompetant or on somebody’s take, given the extremely dubious call at the end of the San Diego-Pittsburgh 11-10 game last year.
    Second of all, we saw replays from about 6 different angles on the Stokley TD, none of which was a shot looking down the goal line. A certain much-maligned coach has been advocating placing cameras on the goal line for years now, and the competition Committee continually ignores this, so we get gray areas as evidenced in the Stokley touch down.
    Bottom line…there was no sufficient evidence to overturn the call on the field, which was a touchdown.

  7. ParkerFly says: Oct 21, 2009 10:54 AM

    I wonder what the point of this rule ever was? The NFL has made it so complicated that the refs can’t keep it straight, and neither can the fans. Just simplify it and let them play football.

  8. lawdjayee says: Oct 21, 2009 10:54 AM

    Good point about the ruling on the field. But the whole thing would have been solved had there been a camera positioned at either side of the end zone. The replays I saw had significant parallax issues, and certainly not indisputable evidence that the ball had crossed the plane before Stokely went to ground.

  9. dcfan-1212450 says: Oct 21, 2009 10:57 AM

    And with the ensuing labor issues, do you really believe these potential rule changes will be a priority to anyone associated to the NFL…

  10. SC21 says: Oct 21, 2009 10:57 AM

    Hey Bronco fans, chill out. Florio’s not trying to steal your thunder, he’s just questioning why the officials seem to be inconsistent and lost at key moments this season.
    Geez, now you made me defend Florio. Not cool.

  11. orangecrushd says: Oct 21, 2009 10:59 AM

    wait, the Chargers have fans?

  12. Kenboys says: Oct 21, 2009 11:00 AM

    Could possibly be ruled under forward progress. In field of play when receiver catches the ball while falling forward they would still spot it where he initially catched the ball right ?
    ( though if he loses it while going to ground of course it will be incomplete.)

  13. Dan says: Oct 21, 2009 11:00 AM

    Can anyone help me on another TD question: Johnny Knox’s TD vs The Falcons.
    Knox caught the ball, got 2 feet down, then the ball was slapped out of his hands.
    But, if Knox was going to the ground and the ball was slapped out of his hands, this isnt a TD.
    So standing up: 2 feet down is a TD. Falling down – its not.
    Logically, I 100% agree the Knox TD should stand. But I also think the Louis Murphy TD should have stood, but the NFL says it shouldn’t.
    These rules suck. Id love to hear anyone elses thought on this.

  14. lawdjayee says: Oct 21, 2009 11:02 AM

    That said, as a Charger fan I don’t think the call affected the outcome of the game. But I do think the “go to ground” rule can be easily modified to take the ridiculousness out of the many calls that are screwing with games. The rule needs to limited only to cases in which the ball touches the ground while in the receiver’s control but before he establishes possession in the traditional way (control, two feet/one knee down). I also think they should eliminate the “football move” rule; it penalizes defensive players for forcing a fumble a split-second too early.

  15. leatherneck says: Oct 21, 2009 11:02 AM

    Bottom line, it’s a judgement call for the officials, and they are doing a good job in recent years.
    If you want to keep the other side from scoring, don’t let them catch passes on or near the goal line.

  16. Big Stretch says: Oct 21, 2009 11:03 AM

    Every year for the past 3-4 it seems like there are more and more bad calls or missed calls or just generally alot of officiating screw ups than there were in the years prior.
    There have been too many rule changes since Goodell took over and even the refs can’t keep up. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even know what the rules are anymore, I mean seriuosly what the hell constitues a catch anymore? The NFL needs to take a break from “fixing” the game, soon enough players will need to hold onto the ball until they leave the field for it to be a catch.
    All these rule changes have done nothing to help the game, and really only seem to confuse and complicate things.
    GET RID OF GOODELL

  17. lawdjayee says: Oct 21, 2009 11:04 AM

    hayward–actually, Florio’s right that there was sufficient evidence to overturn the call on the field, which was, catch outside the endzone, roll in. There was insufficient evidence, as you describe, for the ruling which was made after review: possession across the plane, “going to ground” at the 1.

  18. Facts Domino says: Oct 21, 2009 11:04 AM

    Bottom line is that there have been plays that have been similar to each other ruled both ways. They have to have a concrete rules, that is indisputable and cannot be interpreted one of various ways as it currently is.
    If it means that the ball hits the ground at all, then it’s not a catch then so be it. If it means that if the ball juggles/bobbles at all(unless he regains control and 2 feet down) etc, etc, etc.
    A fan used to know what was a catch and what wasn’t. At this point we don’t know until they review it in some cases and that blows.

  19. sand0 says: Oct 21, 2009 11:11 AM

    Stokely caught the ball in the endzone. He was going to the ground. But he secured possession after hitting the ground. Therefore he is awarded forward progress in the endzone.
    The call was right if the things stated above are right. But there is a problem that Florio stated.
    It must be clear how it was ruled. Did he roll in before being tagged or was he already in and ref was waiting to see if he secured it? This is unclear and we can’t assume or speculate either way until we know. Refs get together and talk it over so I assume the ref said that he caught it in the endzone and that was the ruling.
    But yeah the rules are so complicated. Fortunately in this case the swing wasn’t a real big deal. But what if it had been 4th down with the Broncos down by 4?
    To enjoy the game and look past these deficiencies you just have to accept and understand that there is a lot of luck in the game. Luck involves bounces, inches along the out of bounds line, and unfortunately how the ref happens to call close plays and penalties.
    Your team either blows out the opponent, gets blown out, or the game comes down to a lucky play or two. Just accept it, trust the refs aren’t trying to favor one team over the other, and move on.

  20. CharmCityRavens says: Oct 21, 2009 11:16 AM

    Mike Pereira and Greg Aiello are the biggest song’n’dance spin doctors since Ari Fleisher, Scott McClellan and Tony Snow. They should just issue the following blanket response to the many controversial, inconsistent calls every weekend: “Nothing to see here folks. The call was the correct one, b/c we here at the NFL never err. Please keep your hard-earned money coming. Have you purchased one of the AFL throwback jerseys or pink sideline hats yet?”

  21. Ram4life1328 says: Oct 21, 2009 11:20 AM

    Call made sense to me. He clearly had 2 feet down in the endzone. The ball is not required to break the plain, you just have to establish possession with 2 feet in the endzone. This rule was explained last year or the tear before when the Steelers WR caught the ball in the endzone with 2 feet, but the ball itself was not in because he was leaning out.
    Not saying I agree with the rule, but it is what it is. I think the ball should break the plain regardless of the circumstance, but the call that was made was correct per the NFL rules.

  22. rx says: Oct 21, 2009 11:22 AM

    The call on the field was never explicitly identified as a “catch and roll in” by anyone. That is your assumption. The ref could have been taking a few moments to consider whether the ball crossed the plane, Stokley attained possession (with the ball across the plane), and came out on the way down. Keep in mind that if even one atom on the football is touching the plane extending up from the very front of the goal line, thats a TD.
    I can’t understand why there weren’t cameras on the goal line. Don’t other networks do that? You’d think for something so important to the outcome of the game it’s no-brainer.

  23. Thor says: Oct 21, 2009 11:31 AM

    That play helped me win a fantasy football game, so I’m happy with the ruling.

  24. texasPHINSfan says: Oct 21, 2009 11:39 AM

    this is something i never understood either, florio.
    a running back can merely break the plane of the endzone and get a TD, but a receiver must come to the ground, not this, not that, etc, etc….
    if the ball is caught OUTside the endzone, then the rules that apply to running backs should apply to receivers as well, should they not?

  25. RickUpchurch says: Oct 21, 2009 11:40 AM

    The referees are taught to be slow signaling touchdown to make sure they get it right. The refs could have been ensuring Stokley didn’t lose the ball when going down.

  26. bwisnasky says: Oct 21, 2009 11:42 AM

    Pretty sure Louis Murphy caught the ball, with 2 feet down, in the endzone… with no dispute of how close he was to the goal line….. Seems to me karma is a bitch… what comes around for the Bolts, goes around for the Bolts…

  27. whocares? says: Oct 21, 2009 11:42 AM

    One thing that needs to be changed is that the Refs need to make the ruling on the field clear to everyone, including the fans watching, what the ruling on the field is BEFORE the review.
    In this case, I would say that there is not enough video evidence to tell whether or not the ball crossed the goal line at the time the catch was made. So, if the ruling on the field actually was that it was a TD at the time of the catch because the ball was caught in the endzone, then I cant argue with the ruling, but as everyone saw, the TD signal wasnt given until the WR rolled into the endzone, making it look like the ruling on the field was that the ball crossed the goal line after the catch and fall but before defender made contact, and I do think the video clearly shows contact before he rolled into the endzone…
    Anyway, the ruling isnt the reason the Chargers lost. The point is that it should be clear to all what the issues are…. It would also eliminate a chance for the ref to make a CYA decision after seeing the video (e.g., “Can’t really tell if the ball was caught inside or outside the endzone, so I’ll just say that the ruling on field was that it was caught in endzone).

  28. CapsLockKey says: Oct 21, 2009 11:45 AM

    “Can anyone help me on another TD question: Johnny Knox’s TD vs The Falcons.
    Knox caught the ball, got 2 feet down, then the ball was slapped out of his hands.
    But, if Knox was going to the ground and the ball was slapped out of his hands, this isnt a TD.”
    Knox had possession. If the same play happened in the middle of the field it would have been ruled a fumble. When it was slapped out he was already falling out of bounds.

  29. Guildenstern says: Oct 21, 2009 11:48 AM

    The real issue here is that there is too much room for interpretation by the officials and week in and week out games depend on what the officials choose to call and choose to ignore. You can’t only look at the final score to determine if the ruling effects the outcome. There is too much debating on calls and we are continually seeing an official with the best view being overruled by another official. They need to be more decisive and less wishy washy . A good example came in the Raider game when Rhout intercepted the pass when he and the receiver got their feet tangled the receiver went down and the ball went right for Rhout. There is an official looking right at the play and does not throw a flag, but another who does not have the best view thinks he sees something and flags Rhout for interference.

  30. thehoodedone says: Oct 21, 2009 11:52 AM

    Helloooo, he caught the ball. You play to catch the ball. The ball never hit the ground. By your bizarre logic NO toe-tapping sideline catch would ever be a catch. The horse is dead. Beating it won’t change that. As for the whole rolling into the endzone thing, it’s a moot point. Once a challenge is thrown, all aspects of the play are reviewable. Hence, ball secured in endzone and possesion maintained throughout the act of going to the ground. TOUCHDOWN.

  31. turkeyfunk says: Oct 21, 2009 12:00 PM

    this was the exact same situation as the santonio holmes 4th quarter TD that beat the ravens last season. on a catch 2-feet down in the end zone is all you need, regardless of if the ball breaks the plane it’s a TD:
    Rule 11 Scoring
    Section 2 Touchdown
    Article 1 It is a touchdown (3-38):
    (a) when a runner advances from the field of play and the ball touches the opponents’
    goal line (plane); or
    (b) while inbounds any player catches or recovers a loose ball (3-2-3) on or behind the
    opponents’ goal line.
    this is a contradictory/confusing rule that should be fixed, because in section (b) when it says “on or behind the opponents’ goal line” it is unclear if the rule is referring to the player or the ball.
    what’s even more odd is the fact that the official 2009 NFL rulebook is nowhere to be found on the internet. NFL.com only has this lame “digest of rules” section…i got the above rule from the 2006 rulebook:
    http://blogmedia.thenewstribune.com/media/2006%20NFL%20RULEBOOK.pdf

  32. red13 says: Oct 21, 2009 12:09 PM

    texasPHINSfan:
    The rule only applies to when a receiver is going to the ground or being taken to the ground in the process of making a catch. When a back gets a handoff, he has possession. When a reciever catches a ball, he doesn’t have possession until the catch is complete – the difference between a forward pass and a handoff/ backward pass. Therefore, the rules are different. But, if a receiver catches the ball, say, at the 20, then runs and dives in the end zone, he is treated just like a back, once the ball crosses the plane, it’s a TD whether he drops it or not. The issue with going to the ground only revolves around initial possession of the ball on a forward pass.

  33. hajsaitou says: Oct 21, 2009 12:13 PM

    Why don’t they treat touchdowns like the name suggests? You have to put the ball down in the end zone for it to be a touchdown. none of this leaping 3 feet out of bounds with you arm over the pylon garbage, or tough but strange calls like this one and others we’ve seen.

  34. Dan says: Oct 21, 2009 12:20 PM

    CAPSLOCKKEY:
    Nice try answering the question. If Knox TD catch happened in the middle of the field, its a fumble if he is standing up. Its an incomplete pass if he is going to the ground because he never maintained possession. Its NO CATCH.
    There are 2 different rules if one is standing up or one is going to the ground.

  35. chucktownYP says: Oct 21, 2009 12:21 PM

    And on a lighter note…then everyone realized it was a Denver/San Diego game only the 3 people who watched it really cared.

  36. TimT says: Oct 21, 2009 12:22 PM

    It’s a simple rule. It made sense when the play happened. It made sense when it was reviewed. It makes sense now. I don’t see a problem. His tip-toeing the goal line is the same as a sideline catch.
    Ball crossing the plain is relevant when possession in the field of play advances into the endzone.
    There’s enough problems in the NFL to work out. This is not one of them.

  37. ShadowWind says: Oct 21, 2009 12:28 PM

    From what I saw on TV, in game and multiple reviews, Stokley caught the ball outside of the end zone and landed with the ball having never crossing the plane. Assuming the refs see the same footage we see, then the man was down within inches of making a TD. Now, if they are suddenly changing the rules where the player’s body can trigger a touchdown instead of the ball, that is going to be great news for a defense who has pinned their opponent deep; should be many more safeties if the ball carrier doesn’t get every molecule of his body out of the end zone.
    But hey, what do I know. Its not like I had a better view from home than anyone else did. heh

  38. JSpicoli says: Oct 21, 2009 12:35 PM

    Louis Murphy called. He said BS.

  39. Empire Jones says: Oct 21, 2009 12:36 PM

    You can’t say the play didn’t matter, SD was down 4, and Denver prolly would have went for a FG to take a TD lead.
    SD now needs 7 to tie, instead of 11 to win. STFU it didn’t affect the outcome. STFU it didn’t matter for the Charger’s last possession.
    Rivers is great in the 2-minute drill. Needing one TD is a LOT different than needing a TD, 2pt conversion, and a FG all in 2 minutes.
    So yeah one more time STFU. You’re 6-0, enjoy the success this year. But don’t say it didn’t matter. It makes you look dumb to say otherwise.

  40. sr71 says: Oct 21, 2009 12:37 PM

    I’m a Chargers fan, but this is a futile point. Even if Stokley had been ruled down at the one, nothing about the way the Chargers D was playing indicated they would have made a successful goal line stand and force Denver to kick a field goal. Consider how Stokely got to the end zone on that play, and that sums up the Chargers defensive woes. Denver simply played better … about 8 points better, actually. Can’t pin the outcome on the zebras this time.

  41. gorky says: Oct 21, 2009 12:38 PM

    If you don’t like the rules and the ruling on this play then you might want to consider what your really complaining about.
    For example, all those catches where the wide receiver catches the ball in the end zone, but does so against the boundary of the end zones, would no longer be catches.
    These same kinds of plays that make the highlight reels, would now be incompletions. 2 feet in bounds, but the ball never crossed the plane and was instead beyond the end zone.

    Besides, in this case, there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the ruling of a touchdown on the field.
    He clearly caught the ball with both feet in the endzone.
    Did the ball cross the plane? To me it looked like it did. Right when he caught it.
    Here is a better question for you….
    Why didn’t the Chargers/networks have a camera on the goal line? Seems to me, one of the most important places to put one…

  42. To Rush Quickly says: Oct 21, 2009 12:54 PM

    @thehoodedone
    You’re the only on here who seems to get it. Couldn’t have said it better myself:
    “By your bizarre logic NO toe-tapping sideline catch would ever be a catch”
    It gets kind of convoluted because the rules about the sidelines are different than the rules of crossing the plane of the end zone. I think that if a player, with two feet in the front of the end zone, leaned his body forward out of the end zone in order to catch a pass, caught it with his hands (and therefore the ball) outside the end zone (even though he had two feet down in the end zone), and goes to the ground, it is NOT a touchdown. That would be different at the sideline, of course, where it would be ruled a catch.

  43. raybin says: Oct 21, 2009 1:00 PM

    “Louis Murphy called. He said BS”
    Yup. Nothing else need be said.
    Chargers fans can feel free to enjoy karma’s embrace.

  44. Frank Burns says: Oct 21, 2009 1:04 PM

    hajsaitou says:
    October 21, 2009 12:13 PM
    Why don’t they treat touchdowns like the name suggests? You have to put the ball down in the end zone for it to be a touchdown. none of this leaping 3 feet out of bounds with you arm over the pylon garbage, or tough but strange calls like this one and others we’ve seen.
    ———————————-
    I’m with you.
    This call isn’t much different from the Holmes catch in Baltimore last year. Again, as long as any part of the player is at or across the plane when the ball hits him, and he demonstrates control, it’s a TD. All the whining Baltimorons simply didn’t understand the rules.

  45. boltschick says: Oct 21, 2009 1:05 PM

    Read Florio’s analysis: The proper ruling would have been that the pass was incomplete, not that he was down at the one-yard line (in which case we all agree the Chargers would never have stopped them).
    Broncos were the better team, but I’m tired of the crappy officiating.
    It’s time for full-time officials who spend 40 hours a week practicing making the right calls.
    Does the NFL not have enough money to pay for this minor expense?

  46. hotchick says: Oct 21, 2009 1:05 PM

    To me its a man’s game that should be played by men.
    That means you want a TD, get yourself AND the ball in the endzone. None of this girlie, my two feet were in but the ball didn’t cross the plane but its a touchdown. Contrasted with my body is pushed out at the one so I never entered the endzone, but I reached the ball over the pylon and broke the plane, so its a TD.
    These rules contradict each other but they do have one thing in common. They would apply well to game game played by wimps. But this is the NFL we are talking about. A touchdown is the most important aspect of the game. Though I agree the offensive should not need a full body and the full ball in the end zone in order to score a TD, they also should not need only a minute portion of themselves or the ball across the plane in order to be awared a score.
    For me, I want the ball and a significant portion of the player in the endzone (you can debate what significant is. Fine, it can be debated and then defined) Then when the question becomes did he score or not, When in doubt, you are out.

  47. iusedtobeteddybayer says: Oct 21, 2009 1:10 PM

    The bottom line on reply, for both football and baseball is the refs and umpires feel threatened. But this “half-a-loaf” approach is just absurd. Any play should be reviewable. And as a fan, all I want is the right call. I’ll live the right call everytime, even if it hurts my team. It’s the wrong calls that kill me and that’s when I don’t have money on the games.
    I don’t know what these review guys do but I would take a handful of any of you guys on this site and we would look at a replay, perhaps a couple of angles and make the right decision more frequently than do these bozos in the NFL.
    Screw the refs and their unions. They hurt the game.

  48. kevinmack says: Oct 21, 2009 1:12 PM

    ****QUESTION****
    If Stokely DID NOT Have Control of the ball, while going to the Ground, and DID NOT Secure the BALL Till AFTER he was Touched.
    That Ball is Still LIVE.
    He is Not Down by Contact since he didnt establish possession at that point. So the play is still on going.
    Then he rolls across for the TD!!!
    Correct??
    And regardless of that it would have been 1st and goal from the 1 inch line…

  49. John Cittebart says: Oct 21, 2009 1:23 PM

    Please, please, please!
    Can someone. Anyone. Get NFL spokesman Greg Aiello to reference the rule that is related to his clarifications?
    “Said referree Scott Green at the time: “After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field is confirmed. The receiver had possession of the ball with two feet down in the end zone. The play is over at that point.””
    The critical phrase is:
    “…The receiver had possession of the ball with two feet down in the end zone. The play is over at that point.”
    Referree Scott Green’s assessment is supported by a Rule 3, Section 2, Article 7 which states:
    “A player is in possession when he is in firm grip and control of the ball inbounds (See 3-2-3).
    To gain possession of a loose ball (3-2-3) that has been caught, intercepted, or recovered,
    a player must have complete control of the ball and have both feet completely on the
    ground inbounds or any other part of his body, other than his hands, on the ground inbounds.
    If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other
    part of his body to the ground or if there is any doubt that the acts were simultaneous,
    there is no possession. This rule applies in the field of play and in the end zone.”

  50. Tdk24 says: Oct 21, 2009 1:26 PM

    The NFL is more fun to watch when you come to the understanding that it is fake.

  51. Empire Jones says: Oct 21, 2009 1:26 PM

    kevinmack says:
    October 21, 2009 1:12 PM
    ****QUESTION****
    If Stokely DID NOT Have Control of the ball, while going to the Ground, and DID NOT Secure the BALL Till AFTER he was Touched.
    That Ball is Still LIVE.
    He is Not Down by Contact since he didnt establish possession at that point. So the play is still on going.
    Then he rolls across for the TD!!!
    Correct??
    And regardless of that it would have been 1st and goal from the 1 inch line…
    No, the issue was the ref didn’t signal TD until AFTER he rolled in, but was touched prior, down by contact.
    That is the issue. The “ruling on the field” was TD, even though the ruling would have been AFTER the play had died.
    There was NO EVIDENCE that the ball had crossed the GL prior to getting touched and downed.
    THAT is the issue.
    The other point, is that it would have been FOURTH DOWN, not 1st and GL. FOURTH DOWN.
    Huge difference, but just like the review booth, some of you just see what you want to see here.

  52. ProfessorEmmitt says: Oct 21, 2009 2:03 PM

    “Ed Hochuli messed up the Chargers’ career. But not only their career; their season.”

  53. BUNYAN says: Oct 21, 2009 2:28 PM

    All these rules are nonsense. If the guy catches the ball in the end zone with two feet down it’s a TOUCHDOWN! I don’t care what happens after the fact. That means if he hits the ground after the catch and the ball comes loose it’s still a TOUCHDOWN! The league has lost it’s mind! Don’t you realize that all these rules and regulations are ruining the game? The second a player has the ball in his hands and two feet, one butt, or one knee down it’s a TOUCHDOWN! How hard can this be to understand? Like everything else in life, the lawyers are ruining a great game. The games are no longer watchable. You can’t even tackle someone anymore without some idiot ref calling a penalty. You can’t hit him low, you can’t hit him high, you can’t grab him by the shoulders, you can’t lunge at his knees and on and on.

  54. AutumnWind999 says: Oct 21, 2009 2:33 PM

    As a Raider fan, I hate both teams equally. So I don’t have a dog in this fight.
    But that clearly looked like no touchdown to me.
    The ball wasn’t close to crossing the plane of the goalline when Stokely caught it. The line judge on the spot didn’t rule it a TD until Stokely rolled into the endzone after falling down. That tells me that he didn’t think Stokely was touched (which replay showed he was) and also that he didn’t cross the goalline.
    Florio is right about the rule needing to be changed. This should be PRIORITY NO. 1 for the competition comittee this offseason. But Florio’s wrong about changing it to the spot of the ball to where the player goes to the ground.
    Here’s how the rule should be:
    A player has control of the ball with two feet down. It’s a catch. Spot it at that point. None of this maintaining posession through the catch non-sense. A rule change that was implemented to make it easier for officials to determine when a catch is made has made it 10x more confusing for fans, players, coaches and officials alike. I watch a ton of football and when I see these “through the catch” replays I can honestly say I have no idea how the play will be called. It varies from official to official, play to play. In short, this rule is a complete mess and has led to controversy virtually every week and largely cost the Raiders their Week 1 game vs. SD.

  55. Mr. Blue says: Oct 21, 2009 2:35 PM

    All of this ridiculousness could be stopped by eliminating the “crossed the plane of the end zone” rule for touchdowns. Why should the end zone be any differenent from any other place on the field? If a player running with the ball approaches the first down marker and reaches over it with the ball, and then back tracks and is tackled short of the first down, it is not a first down. In other words the ball is spotted wherever it is when the play is over. Therefore, let’s treat the end zone the same. The ball has to be in the end zone, completely over the goal line when the player with possession is downed. So if the player reaches over the goal line, the play doesn’t end. Allow the play to finish until the player is dwon by contact and then see where the ball is. Anything else is baloney!

  56. hitch1969 says: Oct 21, 2009 2:42 PM

    i didnt understand it at the time (and being a broncos fan) but didnt care… but i fully get this now.
    people are getting hung up on this “crossing the plane” thing, which applies to running.
    for a pass, the rule is clear and it aint just talking about theh back 3 sides of the end zone. if it makes it any easier, pretend that the catch was made at the side or back of the end zone. then, with 2 feet in and control, anyone calls it a touchdown. the tagging, the plane, the roll – none of that is even being called into consideration, just as it wouldnt anywhere else other than the goal line bordering the end zone.
    this is like wrath of khan when kirk outsmarted khan in the mutara nebula because khan thought in two dimensions rather than 3. spock pointed that out, and using the sauce for the goose provided by the mutara nebula, kirk was able to win the kobayashi maru against a genetically superior intellect who had a ship that could outrun and outgun the enterprise.
    i’ve learned something today, here at the pro football talks dot com dot org. i’ve learned a new way of thinking, man.
    best!!
    =h=

  57. Empire Jones says: Oct 21, 2009 3:13 PM

    Look, we can get all scientific, break out the rule books, etc. all day long.
    Game is over, Denver won.
    All I am saying is that there wasn’t enough evidence to show it WAS a touchdown and the ref’s ruling, which was what was upheld, didn’t take place until AFTER he was downed by contact.
    If the ref had initially signalled “TD” the secodn the catch was made I’d have no problem with it… but the LINE JUDGE did not do that. He only signaled TD AFTER Shockley hit the ground, was touched, and then rolled into the end zone.
    It would have been 4th down with 2:30 left. Would Denver had gone for it? Or kicked a FG? Would Rivers had scored a TD on a two-minute+ drill?
    We will never know. But TD? Hell no. No proof otherwise.

  58. finsbooyah says: Oct 21, 2009 3:20 PM

    Ram4life1328 says: “The ball is not required to break the plain, you just have to establish possession with 2 feet in the endzone.”
    You clearly have less of an understanding of one of the most basic rules of football then the refs do

  59. Gary says: Oct 21, 2009 3:21 PM

    A few of you got this right, but most of you are mixed up. It didn’t matter whether the ball crossed the plane or not. The official ruled that Stokley had possession with 2 feet in the end zone. That rule applies the same whether it’s at the back of the end zone or at the goal line. So either criterion (ball crossing the plane of the goal line, or 2 feet down in the end zone even if the the ball doesn’t cross the plane) results in a TD.
    The only other question was whether it was actually a “catch.” The official had to wait to see whether Stokley bobbled or dropped the ball to determine whether it was a catch. That’s why he he didn’t signal the TD the instant Stokley “caught” the ball. It’s exactly the same thing the official would do if the catch were made at the back of the end zone — you still have to wait to make sure the receiver made a legitimate catch.
    The “touch” and the “rolling into the end zone” are irrelevant because both occurred after the TD had already been made.
    Maybe a rule change is needed, maybe not. But the official made the right call under the existing rules.

  60. Maddenboy says: Oct 21, 2009 5:33 PM

    sick and tired of the replay ref doing his own De Novo review.
    If that’s the rule they want, fine. Then say so. But its not the rule right now.
    (De Novo review is where the appeals judge makes his own opinion of the evidence. Usually the appeals judge is REQUIRED to use the previous judge/jury’s interpretation of the evidence).
    The replay refs seem to think the job is to make the right call. Its not. Its to see if the previous ref’s call is 100% obviously wrong, and all 50 drunks in a bar would agree.

  61. Ram4life1328 says: Oct 21, 2009 5:54 PM

    finsbooyah says:
    October 21, 2009 3:20 PM
    Ram4life1328 says: “The ball is not required to break the plain, you just have to establish possession with 2 feet in the endzone.”
    You clearly have less of an understanding of one of the most basic rules of football then the refs do
    No, I believe you do. I understand perfectly fine. Were you watching the Steelers/Ravens game last year? Never said I completely agreed, but it’s the rule nonetheless.

  62. jj48fan says: Oct 21, 2009 5:57 PM

    Oh, please!
    Stokley’s TD was in front of the goal line, at that point it’s the “plain for the goal line” rule.
    With forward progression, he caught the ball when it crossed the plain of the goal line with both hands on the ball. He’s moving forward like a back. The FEET DON’T MATTER. Only the BALL matters and whether it crosses the goal line.
    Now Scheffler’s TD where he caught the ball in the BACK of the end zone being caught as a pass, that’s when the “2 feet rule and control” kicks in. Scheffler had control of the ball with 2 feet touching in, before forward momentum pushed him out of bounds!
    In this case YES, FEET MATTER. He’s NOT in front on the goal line!

  63. Bigbluefan says: Oct 21, 2009 5:57 PM

    Are there more bad calls or in this day of slomo replay and HD 65″ TV’s the issue
    With an eye in the sky view of the goal line you can never be 100% sure of a goal line score
    You would need a wide angle megipixel Camera mounted directly above the goal line and even with that you could not see if the ball carrier were at the bottom of a pile
    Is it perfect no will ever be no so deal with the calls as they are made
    Giants got screwed twice by muscle man ED H last weekend and no one has said a word about those shitty calls
    We move on to next weekends games
    And the bottom line the Chargers Suck anyway

  64. Empire Jones says: Oct 21, 2009 8:43 PM

    Bigbluefan says:
    October 21, 2009 5:57 PM
    Giants got screwed twice by muscle man ED H last weekend and no one has said a word about those shitty calls
    We move on to next weekends games
    And the bottom line the Chargers Suck anyway
    Hahahahahaha.
    Ok, so by your logic you still got beat by a TD against the Saints?
    There was still zero proof the ball broke the plane.
    And if the Giants are so much better than the Chargers, why did our worst-ranked D give up much less points this wekend than you did as the top-ranked unit? 48 points? Seriously? At least it wasn’t the Titans out there. Barely.

  65. Lance19 says: Oct 22, 2009 9:23 PM

    Baffled by the stupid “karma” references:
    So, you think that since the Chargers got robbed
    (Hochuli game, a year ago) as clearly as any NFL
    team ever has been, that THEY would suffer a
    (second) blown call as “karma” ?
    Uh, yeah. Firm grasp of the concept, clowns.

  66. deederbob says: Oct 22, 2009 11:14 PM

    Chargers and their fans have more excuses than JStew has scary moles.

  67. Wiseguy says: Oct 23, 2009 1:57 AM

    Bottome line by NFL rules…….
    A touchdown is made “AFTER” the nose of the ball breaks the plain of the goal line. Now having said that, I am a Bronco fan and I hate the Chargers with a passion. However, I truely believe that when seeing the replays of Stokley’s catch he DID NOT break the plain of the goal line. Yes his feet were beyond the goal line but who can say where the ball was when he caught it, where it was when he maintained controll of it and by that time he feet ( which were not in question ) where when he came to rest. By that time he had already been touched down by the defensive player. Was it a touch down ? I say NO…but the way San Diego was playing and the way Denvers defense was playing they would have lost the game anyway and it serves them right. I mean really, talking crap before the game when a full 60 minutes still needs to be played. San Diego is on the decline and everyone knows it. L.T. is washed up just like T.D. was in Denver. Best thing for San Diego now is to salvage what they can out of their year, fire Norv and go after Shannahan to try and get back at Denver! If the chargers don’t fire the coach pretty soon the Raiders will surpass them in wins!

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