In this week’s Monday 10-pack, we explained that the league apparently has scuttled the so-called “second act” exception. Used in the past as a way around the requirement that a player who is going to the ground while catching a pass maintain possession all the way through to the ground, the “second act” exception appears nowhere in the rule book.
But it gave the Saints a critical two-point conversion in Super Bowl XLIV, when receiver Lance Moore managed while falling to push the ball over the plane of the end zone, before hitting the ground and losing possession.
We concluded that the “second act” exception has been dumped because, if it hadn’t been dumped, it would have been used on Sunday, when Texans running back Arian Foster caught a pass in the field of play while going to the ground, broke the plane with it, and then lost possession when the ball, while in his hand, hit the ground.
Former V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira apparently believes that the “second act” exception still exists — and he argues that it should have been used to given the Texans a touchdown. (The play was ruled a touchdown on the field, and overturned via replay review by referee Mike Carey.)
“To me, this was similar to the two-point conversion in the Super Bowl last season and not the Calvin Johnson play from Detroit’s
first game this season,” Pereira writes in his weekly column at FOXSports.com. “Foster was on his way to the ground and reached
out with the ball in his right hand to make sure that he had broken the
plane. This is the ‘second act’ that the league has referred to in the
In this regard, the “league” is (or at least was) Pereira. It was Pereira who, by all appearances, created the “second act” exception. And the league allowed the officiating department to apply it, even though it never has appeared in the rule book.
This isn’t an indictment of Pereira’s work. If our suspicion that he created the “second act” exception is accurate, he surely did it in order to inject some common sense into an often nonsensical rule.
Thus, we fully agree with the first sentence of Pereira’s take on the situation: “The league needs to go back to the drawing board to figure out what is a catch when you are going to the ground.”
Hopefully, the league will.