League defends decision on two-point play

Unlike past years, the Super Bowl had only one controversial officiating decision.

But it was a big one.

After a fourth-quarter touchdown gave the Saints a five-point lead, New Orleans opted to go for two.  Receiver Lance Moore caught a pass from Drew Brees at the goal line as Moore was falling.  Eventually, Moore lost possession after he landed on the ground.

The ruling on the field?  Incomplete.  After a challenge from the Saints, the decision was reversed.

Boomer Esiason, who did a phenomenal job calling the game with Marv Albert on Westwood One, was incredulous.  And rightfully so.

Here’s the official explanation from outgoing NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira (via NFL spokesman Greg Aiello):  “By rule, when a receiver with possession of the ball is in the act of going to the ground and performs a second act by reaching out to break the plane, that completes the process of the catch and the ball is dead when it breaks the plane.”

But that’s not what the rule says.  Here’s the operative language:  “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.  If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground,
the pass is complete.”

Basically, Pereira is applying an interpretation based on the assumption that Moore, while falling, secured possession and pushed the ball deeper across the goal line, before losing possession.

Again, that’s not what the rule says.  It says that if the player is going to the ground in the act of catching a pass, he must maintain control after he touches the ground.  Not during, but after.  In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest.

Moore didn’t — just like Louis Murphy didn’t way back in Week One.  In the Murphy case, the call on the field of a touchdown was overturned.  In this case, the call on the field of an incomplete pass was overturned.

And that’s the other problem we have with this one.  Applying the “100 drunks in a bar” standard that prevented the officials from overturning two key rulings that fueled that Saints’ game-winning drive during sudden-victory overtime in the NFC title game, the ruling of an incompletion never should have been overturned tonight.
 
The only good news here is that the presence of Colts president Bill Polian on the competition committee virtually ensures that the rule will be addressed in the offseason.

158 responses to “League defends decision on two-point play

  1. YEAHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WHO DAT
    TIME TO GO OUT AND PARTY
    ILL PROBABLY WAKE UP SOMEWHERE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO BUT I DONT CARE
    GEAUX SAINTS MARDI GRAS WOOOOOOO
    BEST DAY OF MY LIFE

  2. It looked incomplete at first but after replay it was clearly the right call. Great job by the officiating tonight. I don’t know what the point of this article is. Colts Suck !

  3. Didn’t this come up during the regular season over the same type of play? Normally as soon as the ball breaks the plane they blow the whistle and the play is dead even if the guy is still standing up. So I can see why they called it like that, but always figured the rule said something to that affect, but guess not.

  4. huge surprise they defend it! an even bigger surprise they reversed it!
    pereira reminds me of the lawyer on sienfeld.

  5. They have to get rid of this ambiguous rule and just go back to possession = catch. This stupid rule has been called differently in every game its come up. GET RID OF IT.

  6. Sorry Florio but Moore had possesion inside the goal zone until the defender kicked out of his hands, that’s a reception anywhere.

  7. I bet Bill Polian is fuming about the superbowl crowd rooting for the saints too. from here on out all superbowls must be played in Indy right Bill?

  8. The rule is never clear enough. I thought that the fact that the ball was knocked out made the difference. How long do you have to be on the ground with possession before the defender knocks the ball out?

  9. The Steelers must have paid off the refs on that call- after all, isn’t that the only time there are ever any close calls or controversial calls during Super Bowls?

  10. He retained control until the Colt defender knocked the ball away – it’s a 2 point conversion.
    Who Dat?

  11. I’ve felt all week that the NFL was pushing BIG TIME for a Saints win, and that if refs had an opportunity to swing momentum in their favor, they would.
    That BS 2 pt overturn was a perfect example.
    The one thing that anyone who’s watched the NFL has learned this year, is the sometimes maddening rule of what constitutes a catch when going to the ground. The rule that has been bashed into our brains is that if you are going to the ground you MUST maintain possession at all times, no matter how long you’ve been on the ground, number of times you’ve rolled over, etc, etc.
    The Saints had the ball knocked out while the receiver was going to the ground. That was a textbook incompletion. Terrible, terrible call.
    The NFL is lucky that it had no effect on the game’s outcome.

  12. Florio wrong again. If you pay close attention, the defenders right hand touched Moore’s leg before he kicked the ball out so the ball broke the plane, the defender touched the player who was also on the ground and then later walked through the receivers hands/ball. 2 pts is good.

  13. Mike,
    Unless I am misunderstanding this I believe that Lance Moore did the second part of the rule.
    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.”

  14. My one wish was for the Colts to lose on a controversial call, so the Colts fans would always cry out “yeah, but!!” I don’t know if the call would qualify as a game breaker, but I’ll take it. I expect many Colt fans to be bitching and moaning like a little girl after this one.

  15. What? It was a good overturn. He secured the ball after he was on the ground. He caught it, bobbled it, and secured it again. It only came loose after the CB kicked it out. Good overturn by the booth. He secured the ball and was over the goal line.

  16. “If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
    That’s what happened. Clear as day.

  17. “In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest.”
    You are EXACTLY correct, Mike. If this isn’t the case, then Pittsburgh is owed a touchdown via Hines Ward in the first Cleveland game they played this year. Their reversal was because Ward did not maintain possession until he came to rest.
    This probably happened 50 other times this season. The initial call on the field was correct, and they should not have overturned it.

  18. I agree with the ruling. He regained control after he pushed the ball across, and then it was kicked out of his hands..totally correct call…

  19. He did have possession tho Florio. He bobbled the ball but it never touched the ground and he clearly regained possession of it before the Cold defender kicked out free. And even after the defender contacted the ball Moore held on for a second or two before it popped out. He had complete possession of the ball in the endzone. It doesn’t matter for how long, as long as it can be determined that he had it. You see it all the time where a player dives into the endzone and the ball pops out when the hit the ground. This is no different. Possession when he broke the plane. I think it was a good call, and I’m not a Saints or Colts fan.

  20. Why are we going over this again?
    The ball was outside of the endzone when the catch was made, he spun around (a football move), broke the plane, bobbled a bit, had control of the ball when his HEAD was DOWN. End of play.
    Ball kicked out of hands by opposing player. Play already over.
    This was WAYYYYYY different than Week One when the whole play was in the endzone.

  21. “Unlike past years, the Super Bowl had only one controversial officiating decision.
    But it was a big one.”
    ….yea it was big considering the Colts didnt get any points after the 2 pt conversion.
    Florio the sieve

  22. Rule this, Rule that…. As far as I am concerned, he controlled the ball while the ball was in the end zone and that, my friends, should be a TD, 8 days a week and twice on Sunday. It was the right overturn. He never possessed, then DID regain possession in the end zone. The play was over before the ball was kicked out of his hands.

  23. The rule states…”If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
    Florio says…”In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest.”
    So it’s okay for Florio to interpret the rule and say he must come to rest, even though “coming to rest” is not written in the rule, but it’s NOT okay for Pereira to interpret the rule as stated?
    He regained control AFTER hitting the ground and losing control. The ball was knocked loose AFTER he regained control with the ball across the plane. The replay was correct.

  24. Moore had the ball kicked out of his hands by the Colts defender. But if you watch the replay, that defender touches Moore on the thigh before he kicks it out. Moore has control of the ball at that point, so wouldn’t he be down by contact before the ball comes loose?
    Not that the call mattered in the end anyway.

  25. I think if you look at the replay, Moore secured the ball, feel to the ground, bobbled it, secured it again, then the Colt defender knocked the ball out with his shin/knee. I think it was correct to reverse the call, because Moore had broken the plane, and if what I saw was correct, then the league’s response makes sense.

  26. Plus as the announcers on TV described it, they were told it was considered a second move after making the catch – the stretching across the goal line. However Moore quite clearly bobbles the ball after he extended his arms – therefore how can it be a second move if the bobble means he still didnt have possesion?

  27. Polian can chew on that all offseason. Shouldn’t have messed with football karma by yanking your starters, jerkface!

  28. More importantly the defender touched the down player before the ball was kicked out so it’s a Conversion. And oh sorry, we won by 14 – so ok make it 12 instead.

  29. Let the whining begin. Watching the replay, it looked like he regained possession, nudged the ball forward over the plane of the endzone, then had it knocked out.
    It is amazing, that two people (or millions)can watch the exact same thing & come up with different explanations/opinions of what happened.
    I think the right call was made. Looked to me like he got it.

  30. If memory serves me right it looked like he caught it, and in process of coming to the ground reached over the goal line. Then he hit the ground, reached over a second time and after that second reach the ball was knocked from his hands. I’m not of fan of either team but I think they got it right in the end.

  31. I was rooting for Indy and that play fortunately had no impact on the outcome of the game. If they make a rule change it should be to ensure that all plays of that nature ARE ruled catches, and Pereira is inderectly making that argument by saying commen sense tells you that a guy with control of the ball in the endzone is a TD. The current rule is the opposite and is rediculous, as evidenced best by the Louis Murphy play. By rule, it was the wrong call, and the rule itself is wrong. Congrats Saints fans!

  32. As a Colts fan.. the rules about having to maintain possession throughout are not well-known, but they are clear, and Moore lost possession when the ball squirted out at the end of the play while he was going to the ground. *shrugs* Simple as that.
    But the Colts definitely didn’t lose the game because of that call, so no harm, no foul. It would behoove the league, however, to figure out during the offseason how it really feels about what constitutes a passing TD in the end zone, and to make sure that the referees are on board. Just because it seems like this issue comes up every couple of weeks, and it’s always called differently. They probably ought to just do away with the “maintain possession while going to the ground” clause when the ball has broken the plane of the end zone, since apparently it’s a difficult rule to remember, and requires a lot more judgment than just using your eyes to see if the ball touched or not.
    Great game, regardless, congrats to the Saints.

  33. It looked like the receiver had control of the ball, was on the ground, and had crossed the goal line. The Colts player jarred the ball loose after he had possesion and scored. I think the official made the correct call.

  34. I agree that the explanation for the decision is lacking, but the call itself was ultimately fine (btw – I was for the Colts). The video evidence showed that after initially juggling the ball, Moore gained possession while laying on the ground and extending the ball to break the plane. Play over. The “loss of possession” only occured when the defensive player (Bethea, I believe) kicked the ball out of Moore’s extended arms/hands. Had he lost the ball due to the ground or his own action, that doesn’t work with the “going to the ground” provision, but Moore had clear possession and looked to be maintaining full control of the ball until Bethea’s legs and shin made contact with him.

  35. lol florio he obviously had possession & crossed the goal line long before the ball was knocked loose.
    I know you’re upset for missing out on your prediction but come on did you really expect anything less (e.g. more) from peyton?
    you’ve got a good life florio, don’t denigrate yourself with posts like this.
    enjoy the offseason

  36. Just like a bunch of NFL rules, they are wrote so the NFL can call them as they see fit. L Murphy is sitting on his rear in the endzone after catching the ball and as he goes to get up the ball is released and no catch. But the Saint has the ball come out and roll across the turf and it is a catch.
    Saints never even should have been in the Super Bowl if not handed the game by the NFL against the Vikings but I regress.

  37. Where do they address that the ball was kicked by the defender to secure the “incompletion”?
    Whether intentional or inadvertent, this cannot be the cause.

  38. I am glad that the Saints won and picked them to win; however, the two-point conversion thing – I think that the NFL has a SERIOUS problem with the continuation to the ground thing. Look at the first Monday Night Game – Chargers at Raiders. Louis Murphy caught a pass in the end zone, both feet/knees down, had MORE control, for LONGER time, etc. Actually lost the ball as he started to get up. He had possession long enough, However, the play was reviewed and overturned. Did not control it all the way to the ground. Next week, same type of play (forget teams) called a TD – then NFL comes out and they made a mistake. Louis Murphy has another play a week or two later and again Raiders are hosed. Watching the Super Bowl, I told my wife that the play should be incomplete as that has been the way they have been calling them all season – then they overturn it on the field. UNBELIEVEABLE! They have to change this rule. No consistency whatsoever.

  39. Hey Mike, do you want to become Mike Springer or Jerry Florio. There is no controversy on this one. You seem to be interested in creating cheap entertainment rather than good journalism. Please stop or at least advertise the site for something other than good journalism.

  40. Screw Polian Flouride, his head has probably imploded by this point because his oreo boy didn’t win. Intresting that Polian only makes a fuss when his team loses, no one with such a bias should be on the cometition committee.

  41. please give it up on the “who dat” trademark. It quite possibly is the most annoying and stupid thng I have ever heard in my life. BTW, this is what the Colts deserve after losing me my fastasy football championship.

  42. Adding to my previous comment.
    1)Moore secured the ball AFTER he was across the goal line and AFTER he was already down. So by rule he is correct. He regained control prior to the ball touching the ground.
    2) The Colt player touched Moore when Moore was down ending the play and before the ball had been kicked out. So no matter what, it was a 2 point conversion.
    http://img199.imageshack.us/i/14532204.jpg/ The play is over.

  43. The only reson the ball came out was because the Colts player kicked it. That can’t make the play an incomplete. Three hundred pound men kicking at the ball would change a lot of plays. He double clutched it and pulled it in and then was down. Sorry suckas! Right call. Ball was across the plane and down. Colts guy kicked it out and that can’t happen.

  44. Great work by the CBS crew on this play. They were in the right place to catch the reestablishment of possession that led to the call being overturned.

  45. Okay I don’t care either way, but to say he regained control is fine, but he did not maintain control to make it a completion. All year they have been saying the WR must maintain control of the football throughout the process of the catch. I personally agree with the overturn, but I’m just saying that’s what the nfl has been doing all season

  46. Screw Boomer Esiason.
    He never got it done.
    The Saints won this thing about as clean as you can win it.
    The two point play was good. The ball crossed the plane with the receiver in control. Play over.

  47. Polian and Irsay are douche bags. Case closed. The COlts are wasting Money with Jim Moore and Caldwell. It’s obvious number 18 runs the show there.
    What a pointless story. There’s no question as to the call on the field. It was clear as day and 100 percent correct.
    Go Jets !

  48. florio he bobbled the ball regained possession reached across the goal line then got the ball kicked out. What do you not understand here?

  49. Murphy’s was the only such play that was overturned on that rule all year – all the rest were allowed…go figure.

  50. Florio…wow you are reaching here bud. The league did not even need to defend this call. It was a catch with possession with the ball over the goal line and that is not even debatable. And not really sure why you’re struggling so bad understanding the rule.

  51. Who Cares??????????
    IF Peyton Manning didn’t make one of the worst throws in Superbowl history it might have mattered….. But it DIDNT!!!
    NFL Needs to make this rule easier to understand. My thoughts, gotta have possession and retain possession in the endzone….PERIOD

  52. They are getting rid of the guy who supervises all the refs and its a few years too late. Every week we see blown calls on the field that have an effect on the game and Mike Pereira comes out and tells us they messed up or the call was this and that.
    He’ll be gone soon and hopefully they’ll find someone to reign in all the crappy calls.
    The ref was there to make the call and the umpire should have up held the call.

  53. WELL the league and the media got what they wanted, a politicly correct winner.thats all ive heard all week is about how poor neworleans has suffered because of bush and katrina.

  54. I’m saddened that the game didn’t go to OT with the team winning the coin toss going on to win the game on the 1st possession of OT

  55. Anyone agruing with Florio is dead wrong! dont care what it looked like the rule about maintianing control all the way through the ground was ignored……………..ok course he had the ball but thats not the stinkin rule………..let not start talking tuck rule………….of course that was a fumble but a rule is a rule and you have to call it that wat throughout the year until its changed………….

  56. Florio… still pretending to practice law here. Must be an ambulance in Miami you can chase.
    Clearly the ball was in control and across the plane after he was down. It came out when kicked.
    Would have been an injustice if it was ruled otherwise.
    Not sure you want to defend a player kicking a ball out of another’s hands anyways….

  57. I was going to comment on this useless post, but clearly the 95% majority above see it the right way, so I will save my 2 cents.
    For those who see otherwise, please invest in TIVO or cmparable DVR and watch the play again. If you see anyhting other than a completed 2 point conversion, you are a bitter Colts fan, who lost a clean game to a better team. Losing sucks. Deal with it.

  58. Profootballtalk and Florio need to get a life…..Farve’s not in this bitch and the 2pt conversion was absolutely good…..get off the hate and accept the Champs for what they are…..The BEST!!!!!!

  59. Nothing controversial about it when the defender breaks up a play like that. That’s how they were ruling on scoring situations like that back in the days of Fran Tarkenton. You only need possession of the ball for a split second and if a defender then breaks it up, it’s still a score. The interesting thing though is what IF the defender doesn’t break it up and the receiver then loses control 🙂 ? Probably an incomplete pass… It’s just one of those odd things, but I’m not sold that all the ref’s are going to rule that consistently because it doesn’t happen that often…

  60. the game was fixed! thats why there were almost zero penalties all game long against saints. thats why manning played as he did. thatsd why they used stover from 51 yards when ravens dropped him becausehe cant kick over 50 yards.
    in the tank 3 times this year. and the nfl wise guys cashed big all 3 of those colts fixes
    line dropped a point and a half today alone to saints. hundreds of millions must have been spent by them.

  61. I wasn’t drunk, nor at a bar, but that Florio was a catch, he had it lost it, but regained possession had it over the goal line, and after that it was kicked out, the right call was made.

  62. 2 point lie by perreira!!!!!!!! like when raider receiver broke plane within endzone but he had to maintain control THROUGHOUT THE CATCH. THIS IS WWF! GOODELL IS A FRAUD!

  63. Receiver initiated possession on the way to the ground, lost it, and regained it – after the receiver had landed on the ground, and BEFORE the ball ever made contact with the ground.
    This nonsense about “in the act of a football move” just obfuscates the basic premise of the rule – catch and establish possession before AND until the receiver or the ball hits the ground.
    In this case, the defender’s leg knocking the ball out of the receiver’s POSSESSION in the end zone doesn’t constitute a loss of possession before the score is registered.
    And, nice try introducing the “until he comes to rest” provision. No basis for that whatsoever.

  64. Good lord, let it go, Florio. He ultimately gained control of the ball and had possession before the defender knocked it loose with his shin. The play was dead before the defender got there.
    Correct call by the official after watching the replay, embarrassing display by Florio, who just can’t admit he was wrong. And, no, I wasn’t rooting for the Saints.

  65. In the 1st Steelers-Browns game this year, Hines ward caught a ball in the endzone, rolled over THREE times, before letting go of the ball. The ruling was incomplete pass bc he didnt maintain possession throughout the play while going to the ground.
    Same thing here.
    The Saint was going to the ground when he caught the ball, therefore it doesnt matter WHAT happens next…if at anypoint the ball comes out before he stands up or the ref blows the play complete, its an incomplete pass.
    He never stood up. The ball was knocked out. Clearly was not a catch under the current rules (which I agree are asinine).

  66. I don’t know what the correct call was, but that overturn cost me $10,000 in my super bowl pool. Unbelievable.

  67. Agreed with most sentiments…it was a great play with great focus by Moore. He bobbled it and re-secured it while over the plane…regardless of whether it was an inch short than the farthest point in the endzone…he secured it over the plane of the goal line. End of play…move on.
    The camera crew did a great job capturing the play…it was not even really debatable…
    No doubt that Polian will whine and complain…and insist that the defensive back position should be banned from here on out…. Suckas…

  68. I think we are missing a big factor here. The lead would still have been 5, thus more than a field goal, thus the play calling probably would not have been different. You could argue momentum perhaps but its hard to say if it affected it. The reason the Saints won was because they got enough pressure on Manning to force that one bad throw.

  69. FLORIO HERE IS WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AND WHY IT COUNTS!!!! AND WAS THE RIGHT CALL!!!!
    WATCH AGAIN!!!!!!
    Moore catches the ball, bobbles the ball, and regains posession while he is on the ground.
    While he has full posession on the ground, the defender touches moores hip before he kicks the ball out.
    Therefore, the play is dead on contact, the ball is across the plain and Lance Moore should be ruled down by contact way before the ball gets kicked out.
    WATCH AGAIN! THE REVERSE WAS CORRECT!

  70. As soon as a player with possession of the ball breaks the plane of the endzone, it’s a touchdown (or 2pt conversion as in this case). That is also part of the rule as well.
    Mike explanation does deserve to be questioned. But you are forgetting the fact that Moore RE-ESTABLISHED possession after the initial bobble. So even IF your complaint is accurate, it is STILL correct to overturn the call because by reestablishing possession in the endzone and then being touched by an opposing player he is INSTANTLY down with possession in the endzone. Which means we have a successful 2pt conversion.
    Sorry guys, no matter how badly you want to take this one away from them, those were points legitimately scored.

  71. It was good asshole….check the replay…he had control the ball was still….crossed the plain….and kicked out!!!! 2pt………..GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  72. Florio must have been drinking (please don’t drive).
    It is REALLY obvious that Moore had possession and crossed the goal-line, THEN and only then, fell to the ground (making footbasll move) and the ball was kicked out.
    Florio is tryiong to sell his site.
    Plus the game was decided on aManning choke, who threw and INT, just like his dad.
    Florio and Manning are both LOSERS!!!!!!

  73. Moore didn’t “drop” the ball, it was KICKED out of his hands by the Colts player. Everyone who isn’t a Colts fan knows that this was a legit catch, and regardless, the game was decided by a lot more than 2 lousy points.
    Regarding Polian, any rule which works against the Colts has a very bleak future ahead of it. And look for a rule which says that any interception in the last three and a half minutes of a game against a quarterback whose name rhymes with “fanning” does not count.

  74. Katerina healing PR move. Thanks for showing fans that the NFL has a lot in common with professional wrestling recently.

  75. “In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest”
    first off thats how you inturpret it. Second, by your inturpretation, it was a completion. He came to rest and the ball was kicked out. Thank you, ah thank you.
    ps glad the game wasnt won by a point. this play might have been relavent.

  76. Florio, I know you were at the game and in the booth so maybe you didnt get to see a good replay. I think you should of watched it before you posted this and made such a big deal about it in the live chat. You said the rule states “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. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
    Moore crossed the plane and then hit the ground. Once he hit the ground he did bobble the ball but then he regained posession without the ball ever touching the ground. The ball crossed the plane for a touchdown, and didnt come out until it was kicked. How can you say this was not a catch when he clearly regained posession and got the touchdown before the ball ever touched the ground?? please take a look a good look at the replay before arguing the call.

  77. Saints Fans Listen….
    You won the F@#$in Super Bowl. Now SHUT THE FU@K UP ABOUT KATRINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Mississippi got on with their lives. You should too.
    By the way nobody likes that broken ass english “Who Dat Saints”
    Just thank your lucky stars the Saints arn”t in Los Angeles playing second fiddle to the Oakland Raiders!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  78. Florio, sorry bud, but you’re just plain wrong on this one.
    He has to have possession through the ground. He catches the ball, goes to the ground, gains full possession as he’s on the ground, and is past the goal line. Play is over, TD.
    That’s not the same as the Murphy play where Murphy never really had possession after hitting the ground. Moore clearly had possession while he was on the ground and over the plain. That’s a TD, plain and simple.

  79. Also if you want to bring up the “with or without contact from an opposing player” as an argument against the catch, you’re incorrect about it.
    That’s in refrence to the player going to the ground. As in, it doesn’t matter if a player pushes you to the ground in the act of a catch or not, you have to maintain possession through the ground.
    It DOES NOT mean that if you have possession while you’re on the ground and a player comes in and kicks or strips the ball from your hands, it’s not a catch. That’s absolutely obsurd to even suggest.

  80. Lance had possession/control of the ball and was downed by the touch of the defender’s right leg. Everything after that became irrelevant including the ball coming loose from the impact of the defender’s two legs. The ball was across the plane (twice).
    Two points is the correct call.

  81. 1. MOORE WAS DOWN ON GROUND WITH BALL IN HAND
    2. MOORE WAS TOUCHED BY DEFENDER WITH BALL IN HAND – I.E. PLAY IS DONE
    3. BALL WAS OVER THE GOAL LINE WHEN HE WAS TOUCHED (I.E. PLAY WAS OVER)
    4. BALL WAS THEN KICKED OUT
    TD/2-PT CONVERSION COUNTS!!!
    Its like a disgruntled defender knocking a ball out of a players hand after he crosses the end zone.
    FLORIO – where did you get your legal degree? I would ask for a refund because they taught you poorly or you’re just a retart.

  82. Mike, normally I agree with the majority of your posts, but you’re off on this one. Go back and watch the slow mo replay; he catches the ball, bobbles it, then secures the ball, forearm hits the grounds and then the cb kicks it out. He controlled that ball until it was kicked.

  83. Florio-” In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest.” Those are not the other words. You copy and paste the rule verbatim, then you say “in other words”. Youre an idiot. In other words, youre a moron. You are wrong. In other words, youre incorrect. He caught it, bobbled it, regained it and crossed the plane. By your logic, he should have laid there,,”until he came to rest” before reaching out trying to cross the plane. And how was it a big call? They won by 14 and left a toucdown on the field in the first half. You suck more and more with each passing day. Your pick of the Colts was wrong and you look like a big crybaby with this article. This site used to be awesome, but your bitchiness is dragging it down to the point where ESPN.com is. Enjoy your money, you corporate shill. Anyone who would agree with Esiason has little credibility anyway.

  84. Heh, Florio criticizes someone for interpreting the rule their way and then proceeds to interpret it in his own.
    “In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest.”
    Where in the hell in the rule does it say that Florio? Talking out of your ass and interpreting it your way.
    But we know you won’t admit that you’re wrong.

  85. The last time I checked, the Saints won by a lot more than two points. Peyton Manning is a class QB who has come from behind many times from a greater deficit. It was the missed FG and the interception that led to the loss, not this stupid non-issue.

  86. Florio has consistently picked the Saints to lose throughout the playoffs and simply finds it inconceivable that they actually won the Superbowl. Therefor, there must have been some bad officiating to cause such a thing to happen. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for this piece even being written, It was obvious on replay that it was a TD. BTW they won by two touchdowns not two points. End of story

  87. Was a wierd play, I dont understand. We saw a bunch of plays this year where a reciever caught the ball going to the ground and lost it before he finished the play and it was always ruled incomplete. Aren’t you supposed to have to have posession of the ball throughout the play? Looked to me like he left it on the turf before the play was over.

  88. All you people are jumping Florio’s nuts for this, but if you watched the Raiders play in week 1(you didn’t), you would have seen a TD catch reversed by replay. It was clearly a TD to anyone watching, and yet, Mike P. comes out on NFL Network and explains that unless you maintain possession all the way to the ground and freaking then some, it’s not a catch.
    The rule is terrible, and like the ‘Tuck’ rule, it only hoses the Raiders.

  89. Florio: “in other words” Whoa!!! Stop right there!!!
    You, Florio, don’t get to make up your own interpretation-based definitions for the NFL rule book!
    …and you call yourself a lawyer. So why then, are you impersonating a judge?
    STOOGE!

  90. How about on the kick off why were the saints coaching staff allowed to jump on the field before the conclusion of the play.

  91. No where does the rule say this
    “he must keep the ball until he comes to rest.”
    He broke the plain while maintaining control of the ball…. 2 points…..
    Nothing to argue…. unless you go tot he Jets Colts game where the refs blatantly didn’t call a ruffing the passer and the other one they screwed up against the Jets.
    This is what it comes down too….
    The Colts sat players showing once again they are PUSSIES and therefore went into the Super Bowl knowing the undefeated season was Going to be possible, but they got screwed out of it…..
    The Colts players would have played a lot better had they known they were going to NFL ALLTIME HISTORY….. BUT they understood they are complete pussies….
    They understood the ONLY game that rookie coach made ANY decisions in was the one he benched people…
    That rookie coaches record is 0-1 ALL the other games PEYTON MANNING made ALL the play calls, the rookie coach did NOTHING….

  92. Clearly not a catch. He didn’t keep the ball all the way to the ground. It’s a sucky rule, but it is the rule. If this thread represents a true cross-section of the Saints fan base, stupidity reigns in it.
    It’s a bastard title anyway. The league wanted it to go to New Orleans.

  93. The problem with this messed up rule for what constitutes a catch is that there is a different set of standards for balls caught in the end zone and balls caught outside the end zone that subsequently break the plane. In the Lance Moore catch, Moore regains possession while on the ground and breaks the plane, scoring a TD and ending the play the moment the ball crosses the plane. In the Louis Murphy catch, Murphy caught the ball inside the end zone and had to maintain possession to the ground.
    These differing standards are completely illogical and need to go. A catch should not be more difficult to make depending on where you happen to catch it. If the Murphy catch were subject the the standards imposed on the Moore catch, it would have been a touchdown as soon as Murphy secured the ball. The play would be over once he had possession inside the end zone.
    What a frickin mess. The rule needs to be simplified and made uniform.

  94. Per Florio:
    But that’s not what the rule says. Here’s the operative language: “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, [MOORE REGAINS CONTROL OF THE BALL AFTER TOUCHING 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. [KEY HERE IS THE BALL TOUCHING THE GROUND BEFORE HE REGAINS CONTROL – MOORE REGAINED CONTROL WHILE ON THE GROUND WITH THE BALL OVER THE PLANE OF THE GOAL LINE, THE BALL NOT COMING LOOSE UNTIL AFTER FIRST BEING TOUCHED BY THE DEFENDER] If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.” [THIS PART OF THE RULE WOULD CAUSE THIS PLAY TO BE A CATCH SINCE MOORE REGAINS CONTROL AFTER HITTING THE GROUND AND BOBBLING THE PASS]
    Basically, Pereira is applying an interpretation based on the assumption that Moore, while falling, secured possession and pushed the ball deeper across the goal line, before losing possession. [MOORE DIDN”T SECURE IT WHILE FALLING, HE SECURED IT AFTER BEING ON THE GROUND]
    Again, that’s not what the rule says. It says that if the player is going to the ground in the act of catching a pass, he must maintain control after he touches the ground. Not during, but after. [FLORIO – HOPING TO DRIVE THE POINT HOME FOR YOU – HE DID SECURE IT AFTER HITTING THE GROUND] In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest. [AT NO POINT DOES THIS RULE SAY “UNTIL HE COMES TO REST”. THIS IS SOMETHING COMPLETELY MADE UP BY YOU BASED ON YOUR INTERPRETATION OF THE RULE]
    Your feeling this “controversial officiating decision” was a “big one” is an absolute joke! Whether it was a five or seven point lead the Colts were trying to march down the field to score a TD. It was that possession Manning threw the fateful pick.
    Only if I could find a gig like Florio’s. Apparently you just need to be wrong, stupid, not know the rules of the sport you supposedly cover and controversial (no matter how contrived it may be).

  95. Niner Nation, that is not correct at all.
    In the Raider play, Murphy catches the ball, gets hit to the ground, and as he hits the ground the ball comes out, and he never regains possession before the ball hits the ground.
    In this play, Moore catches it, bobbles a bit, hits the ground, bobbles a bit more, gains possession while on the ground. At that point when he has possession and is on the ground over the goal line, that’s it, play is over TD. Doesn’t matter if a Colts player comes in and kicks the ball out of his hands
    Murphy didn’t have possession as he hit the ground. He lost possession after hitting the ground and never gained it back. The ground caused him to lose the ball, and thus it was not a catch. Moore however did not lose the ball going through the ground. He lost it after he was on the ground with possession and the Colts player kicks it out of his hand.
    2 totally different situations

  96. re: the bad call. From the right sources””Boomer Esiason, who did a phenomenal job calling the game with Marv Albert on Westwood One, was incredulous. And rightfully so.
    Here’s the official explanation from outgoing NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira (via NFL spokesman Greg Aiello): “By rule, when a receiver with possession of the ball is in the act of going to the ground and performs a second act by reaching out to break the plane, that completes the process of the catch and the ball is dead when it breaks the plane.””””, however the rule that is on the book (ref blew it big tim)) “”But that’s not what the rule says. Here’s the operative language: “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 controlof 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.”””
    Look at the replay. He in no way shape or form had control of the football on ‘act1’ or ‘act 2″
    You guys should NOT post unless you know the rules.

  97. Re: the bad call. From the right sources””Boomer Esiason, who did a phenomenal job calling the game with Marv Albert on Westwood One, was incredulous. And rightfully so.
    Here’s the official explanation from outgoing NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira (via NFL spokesman Greg Aiello): “By rule, when a receiver with possession of the ball is in the act of going to the ground and performs a second act by reaching out to break the plane, that completes the process of the catch and the ball is dead when it breaks the plane.””””, however the rule that is on the book (ref blew it big tim)) “”But that’s not what the rule says. Here’s the operative language: “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 controlof 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.”””
    Look at the replay. He in no way shape or form had control of the football on ‘act1’ or ‘act 2″
    The rule is clear!, Saints fans are confused.

  98. Could someone please explain the difference between this and the Hines Ward “non catch” in the Cleveland game? Ward came down with the ball, rolled over at least twice and then lost it out of bounds. The NFL said then that the correct call of no catch was made because he didn’t maintain possession before he came to rest, even though he posessed it until he rolled out of bounds. BOTH should be catches in my book. They’re making this way too complicated.
    Here’s an idea, possession of the ball in the endzone=touchdown.

  99. Florio, learn the distinction between a catch made inside the end zone and a catch made outside of the end zone.
    If a player is outside of the end zone, if he has possession and reaches the ball across the plane, the play is DEAD, touchdown. That’s exactly what Moore did.
    Just the fact that his feet moved preclude any possible argument to the contrary. It was an easy call, but then again when you have a massive confirmation bias like Mr. Florio here, even the most simple of facts become hopelessly complicated.

  100. The problem is no fan really knows what is or is not a catch anymore. Florio doesn’t know either. I don’t think the officials really know either. The rules for catch/non-catch are so convoluted and inconsistent it’s ridiculous.
    It was a great play by Moore. Saints deserved to win.
    And I’m glad the Colts organization wasn’t rewarded for quitting on a perfect season. As a football fan, that was one of the best things about this Super Bowl.

  101. As a member of the “100 drunks in a bar club” – okay i wasnt technically in a bar, but i satisfied the other requirement – this was a clear catch as soon as I saw the replay. Yes, the ball was bobbled all the way to the ground, but it never touched the ground, nor was any part of the receiver out of bounds. Moore clearly regained control after going to the ground and had control while the ball had broken the plane of the goal line. At that instant, it becomes and catch and a 2 pt conversion, regardless if the ball was kicked out a split second later by a defender or a wayward hot dog vendor.

  102. Is the bar in Indy or NO? The 100 drunks in the bars I used to hang out in would say “If it looks like a dog and barks like a dog–its a dog!” So it looked like a catch, but when? The replay official said he made a “football move” with feet on the ground, constituting a catch, and everything after would have fallen under fumble, break the plane, etc rules. You are saying, in effect, that the “football move” was while he was falling to the ground in a pattern consistent with the making of the catch, so the judgment of the official was in error, and the “falling to the ground” rule should instead apply. So when did the “after” end? Was he on the ground, with possession, when the ball was kicked loose? Yes, so was that “at rest” so the ball could then be released? So my drunks say its a dog, but a good dog!

  103. But wait, St Dungy spoke and proclaimed the Colts would winneth. How could this possibly have happened ?
    Given Peyton’s pick 6 after that it is immaterial whether this was a conversion or not.

  104. Obviously this play had no bearing out the outcome of the game because the Saints won by two TDs. That being said all of you who are arguing it is a catch are dead wrong by the rule book.
    As Florio points out the rule says that you must maintain possession of the ball through going to ground. What this has meant every year I’ve watched football is that if you lose the ball at any time in the act of falling it is incomplete. You pretty much have to come to a dead stop on the ground or get up with the ball in your hands for it to be a catch.
    The player in question went to ground and was rolling when the ball was kicked out of his hand. Incomplete pass.
    If you want more examples of this type of play being called an incomplete pass look no further than the quotes Louis Murphy play or a few years ago in the Colts/Steelers playoff game. Polumalu intercepted Peyton and went to ground, in the act of rolling and trying to stand his knee knocked the ball out of his hand. Incomplete pass.

  105. Florio has horrible reading comprehension skills (how can he be a lawyer?). As he points out, the rule says: “If he regains control PRIOR TO THE BALL TOUCHING THE GROUND, the pass is complete.” But in Florio’s analysis, he keeps misquoting the rule to say: “prior to the PLAYER touching the ground.”

  106. I am glad the officials didn’t determine the outcome of the game like they so often do. The two points were fairly meaningless, even though I agree that they made the wrong call in overturning it. And the weak offensive pass interference in the endzone against the Colts toward the end was wrong but didn’t really hurt since it gave Manning more room to make a play.
    Nevertheless, the officials made a couple mistakes and they were, as usual, in favor of the same team.

  107. This is where you lose it: “In other words, he must keep the ball until he comes to rest.”
    That is not true. At no time do you have to come to rest. You have to be on the ground with control. Not come to rest. Quit changing the words and the meaning.
    I agree with everyone here who say you suck for writing that.

  108. Florio, how can a lawyer have such poor reading comprehension skills? As you pointed out, the rule states: “If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.” Prior to the ball, not the player, hitting the ground.
    You embarrass yourself when you inaccurately re-state the rule two paragraphs later. You moronically wrote: “[The rule] says that if the player is going to the ground in the act of catching a pass, he must maintain control after he touches the ground.”
    Please explain to me how you twist the phrase “prior to the ball touching the ground” into “after [the player] touches the ground”???

  109. The Government can’t force us to buy health insurance but they stand by that decision too. Rules don’t apply to the all mighty powers including the NFL

  110. # richk says: February 8, 2010 6:18 AM
    Saint’s -2 = 29
    Colts 17
    mute point!!
    ——————————————————
    While I agree with your point, the word is “moot”.
    Did you go to the same school that gave Florio his juris doctorate?

  111. Moore did not have possession. Upon hitting the ground he bobbled the ball (which was why it was ruled incomplete the first time). If we’re going with the second act rule (even though there was no second act) then losing possession upon the ball being kicked out must be considered.
    Though I’m not surprised at the final call as the league has redefined “possession” for the Saints a few times this year (including being in possession as the ball falls out of two hands but because one hand is on it and it comes out on hitting the ground its possession).

  112. This was one of the most beautiful catches I have ever seen. To NOT give the 2-pts would have been a crime against the sport. The rule needs to be changed, it’s bad for WRs and the NFL.

  113. wyoff says:
    February 7, 2010 10:38 PM
    The Steelers must have paid off the refs on that call- after all, isn’t that the only time there are ever any close calls or controversial calls during Super Bowls?
    ————————————————–Funny, I am a steeler fan and I was thinking sort of the same thing. If that call was reversed for the steelers, there would be 1000000 post from steeler haters saying it was fixed. And like always, it really had no bearing on the outcome of the game. The colts still would have needed a td and manning still woulkd have thrown the pick 6. You can have all your records and commercials maning, I will take big Ben any day of the week. He knows how to win superbowls.

  114. “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.”
    -He caught the pass
    -He hit the ground
    -The ball bobbled
    -He regained possession
    -The ball never touched the ground
    -The ball was in the endzone
    -A defender knocked the ball out with his leg

  115. Ball in hands with two feet on the ground = possession when you either 1) make a “football move” or 2) go to the ground and maintain possession throughout. the moment you break the plane of the goal after or while making a “football move”, down over, ball carrier has scored.
    Congratulations, Saints and Saints fans!

  116. I usually hate all the posts here about how Florio is an idiot, but I’d have to agree this time.
    Clearly a catch and the right call. As to the 100 drunks in a bar theory, I was in a bar with well over 100 drunks and all agreed it was a catch.
    To hemiduke, Saints fans aren’t playing the Katrina card. The media is the only one that keeps bringing that up, so STFU idiot.
    to all the haters:
    WHO DAT!!!

  117. Mike’s self-assuredness, coupled with most everyone else’s vehement disagreement, made check the rules. Here’s what I found in the 2006 NFL Rulebook (http://blogmedia.thenewstribune.com/media/2006%20NFL%20RULEBOOK.pdf):
    A touchdown occurs “when a runner advances from the field of play and the ball touches the opponents’ goal line (plane)…. The ball is automatically dead at the instant of legal player possession on, above, or behind the opponents’ goal line.”
    So if there was any moment when the player had possession of the ball behind the goal line (or plane), it counts.
    “A player is in possession when he is in firm grip and control of the ball. To gain possession of a loose ball 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.” This all seems to have occurred with in this situation–just freeze frame where Lance is on his head with the ball securely in his hands.
    *****
    The language others are quoting about controlling the ball prior to the ball touching the ground is the definition of a *catch*, not of *player possession*:
    “A catch is made when a player inbounds secures possession of a pass, kick, or fumble in flight. Note: It is a catch if in the process of attempting to catch the ball, a player secures control of the ball prior to the ball touching the ground and that control is maintained after the ball has touched the ground.” So people who say you have to have control until the ball touches the ground are correct. HOWEVER, this is the definition of a “catch”, not of “possession”. Even if Lance didn’t legally make a catch, it would appear that he had possession of the ball for an instant while the ball was over the goal plane, and that’s good enough for a touchdown.
    ********
    Finally, the title of this article, “League Defends Decision,” says absolutely nothing about the NFL defending their decision against people denigrating it. A better headline would be “League Explains Decision” or, even better, “NBC Commentator Hates NFL Decision”. If the headline had been the latter, I would have discounted the article much more quickly and saved a few more minutes this morning.

  118. He had possession, crossed the plane, then the opposing player touched him. At that point, the ball should be dead. Even the rule quoted in this piece does not justify the initial call. They got it right on the replay.

  119. He lost it when he hit the ground, so it wasn’t a catch at that point, but then regained posession and crossed the line with the ball before the defender made contact. touchdown

  120. Bell63 has it exactly right. He had possession and the defender touched him on the leg. Down by contact. everything after that is a non-factor. Congrats to the Saints!!!

  121. Did you not really watch the game??? Weather that called was over turned or not the Saints went on to score yet ANOTHER touchdown which in turn made them the Superbowl Champs!!! Not that one specific play or call… So go change your diaper and quit being a baby about it all…. or do you want to go cry with Payton Manning? The Colts got outplayed fair and square!

  122. I am not a Colts fan, and I was rooting hard for the Saints………. BUT……….why were the Saints not called for clipping Peyton Mannng during the interception return. It certainly looked like a block in the back to me.

  123. “…If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
    Sure looked like he regained control of the ball prior to it being kicked out of his hands, and that control was with the ball across the goal-line. Pretty easy call of completion IMO. Nothing to see here folks – move along.

  124. Nuckinfutz says:
    February 8, 2010 12:26 PM
    I am not a Colts fan, and I was rooting hard for the Saints………. BUT……….why were the Saints not called for clipping Peyton Mannng during the interception return. It certainly looked like a block in the back to me.
    ——————————
    I’m not going to bother to look up the actual rule, but I believe it’s not a block in the back unless the defender is chasing the ball carrier from behind.. That play was different. Manning was in front of him, trying to turn around and adjust to Porter’s cut back. The offense (Saints) has to have the opportunity to block defenders in front of the ball carrier. They just can’t pull them down from behind.

  125. jb10 says:
    February 7, 2010 10:35 PM
    huge surprise they defend it! an even bigger surprise they reversed it!
    pereira reminds me of the lawyer on sienfeld.
    —————————–
    “It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous.”

  126. I agree with the article. It was not a catch. If it were any other team at any other time, it would not have been a catch. The fact that it happened near the goal line has nothing to do with whether it is a catch. As they always say, you have to basically get up off the ground with the ball for it to be a completion. It really didn’t make much difference in the final result, but it just drives you a little crazy when they call it an incomplete pass when your favorite team is playing, but they don’t enforce it during the biggest game of the year.

  127. Boomer Esiason, who did a phenomenal job calling the game with Marv Albert on Westwood One, was incredulous. And rightfully so
    The ” And rightfully so ” part makes no sense.
    Read the rule again, watch the replay; the replay
    call was correct.
    Boomer and the Saints organization have never
    liked each other, the same type of relationship
    I see developing between Florio and the organization thanks to his incesant, inane comments towards them.
    Time for your medication?

  128. This is the stupidest article I’ve ever read, Florio.
    The Louis Murphy situation is COMPLETELY different. There, Murphy caught the ball when he was already IN THE ENDZONE. Therefore, the rule you quoted states that the receiver must maintain possession, even when he hits the ground. Otherwise, it is not a catch, and therefore not a TD.
    In the Lance Moore case, Moore caught the ball OUTSIDE OF THE ENDZONE. The ball then crossed the plane (while he maintained possession), leading to an automatic touchdown. End of play. The drop at the end did not affect the touchdown call in any way.
    So the situation boils down to whether the catch is made inside of the endzone or outside of it.
    From the NFL website: “To score a touchdown, the ball must be carried across the goal line into the end zone, caught in the end zone[…]” In Moore’s case, he caught the ball (and maintained possession) outside the endzone, then carried it across the goal line. Touchdown. End of story. Murphy’s situation fell into the second category, where he needed to make the catch in the endzone.

  129. JB,
    The text of the rule explictly says it doesn’t matter whether the ball was caught in or out of the endzone when determining whether it was a catch. But, I agree it was a catch because Moore regained control prior to the ball touching the ground – and that would apply no matter where he is. In contrast, Murphy did not regain control.
    While Moore breaking the plane doesn’t make a difference in determining whether it was a catch, it does make a difference in the placement of the ball after the catch. Because he wasn’t touched until after regaining control (a catch), when he broke the plane the play is over. Had he done the same completely inside the endzone, the play is also over the moment he regained control (score). If the play happens completely outside the endzone, it’s a catch, but then I’m not sure if it would be ruled a fumble when the ball was kicked out, or down by contact.
    The other wrinkle might have been had Moore been touched prior to hitting the ground. It’s still a catch, but the spot depends on where the ball was when he first hits the ground.

  130. For all of you whom are whining about it being an incomplete pass you’re probably COLTS fans or simply against the Saints winning.
    Part of the NFL rule on what an incomplete pass is, “If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
    Moore did bobble the ball when he first caught it as he was trying to break the plane, then in Moores second act of tryin to possess the ball he does just that, its clear in the replay that he has firm possession of the ball and is breaking the plane, that is a complete pass. The defender then unintentionally kicks the ball out. It didnt look like a complete pass in real time obviously.
    This was the correct call for sure.

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