Despite a belief among many NFL fans that Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had what should have been a game-winning touchdown taken away from him by a convoluted rule, one member of the league’s competition committee says there’s nothing wrong with the rule at all.
Colts President Bill Polian appeared on the “Official Review” segment on NFL Network’s Total Access and said that while fans might find the rule confusing, league officials don’t.
“For those of us who know the rule, there’s not a lot of confusion,” Polian said.
But there was confusion among the on-field officials in Sunday’s Lions-Bears game. The official who appeared to have the best view on the field, side judge Mike Weatherford, signaled touchdown. But he was then overruled by his fellow officials, and it was ruled incomplete on the field, which the replay review confirmed.
If Polian says there’s not a lot of confusion for those who know the rule, is he saying Weatherford doesn’t know the rule?
Polian also said the rule on what constitutes a catch was written specifically to make it easier to officiate on the field.
“In making rules we make on-field officiating the number one criteria,” Polian said. “Replay rarely if ever enters into the situation.”
Polian said that the coaching point for receivers is, “Show me the ball” — don’t just put the ball on the ground as Johnson did, but hold the ball up and show the official that you caught it.
And, ultimately, Polian said it was Johnson’s mistake to put the ball on the ground, rather than keep it in his hands and show the officials that he had it. Polian said it’s on the receivers to demonstrate to the officials that they’ve completed a catch, and not on the NFL to change the rule.
Asked whether the rule will be changed, Polian answered that other competition committee members might want to discuss it but said, “I, for one, don’t see any difficulty with it.”