Perhaps the best news to come out of Tuesday’s ownership meetings in Chicago relates to one of the most controversial rules on the books.
We’re talking about the rule that began as a rule that allows a receiver to allow the ball to touch the ground while making a catch (thanks to Bert Emanuel), and that has morphed into a full and complete assessment of whether the receiver maintains possession all the way through the act of going to the ground, unless of course he engages in a “second act” that is not recognized in the rule book but that is applied from time to time without much rhyme and/or reason.
Now you know why we simply call it the “Calvin Johnson rule.”
Based on 2009, it also could be called the Louis Murphy rule. Or the Dante Rosario rule. Or the Jacoby Jones rule. Or the Mike Sims-Walker rule. Or the Lance Moore rule.
Or, most recently, the Micheal Spurlock rule.
Either way, the rule will be addressed in the offseason, according to Falcons president Rich McKay.
“The going-to-the-ground rule definitely will be discussed,” McKay said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “It’s been discussed the last couple of years.
It’s a difficult rule. It was made for on-field officials, not as much
for people watching on TV.”
But the on-field officials often don’t know how to implement it. Last year, former V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira admitted that his efforts to clarify the confusing rule resulted in referee Alberto Riveron giving Sims-Walker a touchdown reception via replay review when the right call should have been that the pass was incomplete.
“I think I got the referee away from the thought of what is actually complete or incomplete,” Pereira said at the time on his “Official Review” segment on NFL Network’s Total Access.
Said Pereira earlier in 2009: “I mean, this has gotten to be so
convoluted, this whole act of catching a pass when you’re going to the
ground, that it’s very difficult for people to grasp what is a catch
and what isn’t a catch.”
The comments from McKay, a member of the league’s Competition Committee, conflict with the September observations of another member of the group, Colts president Bill Polian. “For those of us who know the rule, there’s not a lot of confusion,” Polian said.
Apparently, the officials working Sunday’s Bucs-Bengals game don’t know the rule, either. When Spurlock made the 21-yard catch that made the game-winning field goal much more makeable, the referee made a major mistake by not overturning the call on the field, given indisputable evidence that, when ball hit the ground while in Spurlock’s possession, it moved.