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Goodell talks to Lions fans about Calvin Johnson rule

Calvin Johnson AP

Continuing his regular series of conference calls with NFL season-ticket holders, commissioner Roger Goodell talked to Lions fans this week and attempted to explain why Calvin Johnson’s apparent game-winning touchdown in last season’s opener was ruled in incomplete pass.

It’s safe to assume nothing Goodell said will satisfy the folks in Detroit.

“Unfortunately, calls during any game impact the outcome of a game, and that’s why officiating is so important, and consistency in officiating is so important,” Goodell said, per the Detroit Free Press. “But I think it’s important to go back. There are really three elements to any catch. No. 1, you’ve got to secure and control the ball in your hands. And No. 2, you’ve got to maintain control when you’ve got two feet down, or any other part of the body other than your hands. And No. 3 is you have to make sure that — and this clarification we’ll add to the [rule] book — you must control the ball long enough after A and B have occurred that you’ve caught the ball cleanly and you’ve got two feet down or another body part, you’ve got to control that long enough. And that’s something we have oftentimes looked at in our rules. We’ve looked at it through the competition committee. Controlling that ball after you’ve established the first two aspects of that for a period of time is where the element of judgment comes in. And I think our competition committee and other members of our operations, including on the club level, have all felt like we should make sure that the player has to maintain it for a period of time after the first two elements have been in control.”

Whatever clarification is added to the rule book, there still seems to be a great deal of confusion — even among NFL officials — about what, exactly, constitutes controlling the ball long enough. It’s no surprise that one fan told Goodell on the conference call that the NFL’s rules on what constitutes a catch don’t pass the smell test.

Goodell, however, said he disagreed with those who say most fans can’t figure out the rules on complete catches.

“Well, I don’t know if I’d agree with that,” Goodell said. “What people want is consistency in the rules. Any time there’s judgment, that’s when you sometimes get the inconsistency. If you’re a fan from one team, you’re looking at it from one perspective. If you’re a fan from another team, you’re looking at it from another perspective.”

But the truth is, it’s not just Detroit fans who think the “Calvin Johnson rule” stinks. The NFL’s inability to get all its officials on the same page about what constitutes a catch wasn’t just a problem for the Lions.

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39 Responses to “Goodell talks to Lions fans about Calvin Johnson rule”
  1. skoobyfl says: May 21, 2011 3:40 PM

    Best guess Spock.

  2. steelybills says: May 21, 2011 3:45 PM

    I don’t understand the controversy…it never looked like a catch to me.

  3. johnnycash19 says: May 21, 2011 3:50 PM

    “you must control the ball long enough after A and B have occurred that you’ve caught the ball cleanly and you’ve got two feet down or another body part, you’ve got to control that long enough. ”
    ——–

    Alright……what exactly is a catch again?

  4. willycents says: May 21, 2011 4:00 PM

    There is no way to get rid of judgement calls, and there will always be a number of different viewpoints on each one. I guesss we have to just live with them until a robot calls the game from the pressbox.

    Maybe the fans should vote on every call and decide if it is adjucated correctly./sarcasm

  5. txchief says: May 21, 2011 4:03 PM

    I think the actual rule is that the touchdown play is not final until the receiver personally delivers the ball to Goodell’s office on Tuesday morning.

  6. 1liondriven says: May 21, 2011 4:09 PM

    Delusional lier!

    Goodell is steaming pile of crap.

    Please fire this jerk now.

    I’m so sick and tired of Goodell, he’s bee nothing

    more than a glorified probation officer.

    Even when faced with clear evidence he lies.

    The players are right about getting Goodell out of the league.

    Goodell is a complete SCUM BAG!

  7. chatham10 says: May 21, 2011 4:11 PM

    The fans that are yelling about Goodell when they should be yelling about the refs, these guys are God. I see no reason why they get to review their own calls, do it like hockey in a central location.

  8. malekmj says: May 21, 2011 4:13 PM

    And……I still don’t get why it wasn’t a catch….but hey I am not as smart as the guys that make up the NFL rule book.

  9. vexorgd says: May 21, 2011 4:13 PM

    That was a catch.

  10. ronnie89 says: May 21, 2011 4:17 PM

    Roger Godell and the owners have ruined football

  11. beastofeden says: May 21, 2011 4:24 PM

    Lions faithful, as well as sympathizers, need to get over it. The refs screwed up the call that cost them game.

    Need I remind you about the erronious pass interference call made on Kellen Winslow Jr. Dec 19, 2010 Week 15. The Lions benefitted.

    Not only did that cost Tampa Bay the game but ultimatley a playoff spot.

    You’re even. Stop crying

  12. willycents says: May 21, 2011 4:30 PM

    ronnie89 says:May 21, 2011 4:17 PM

    Roger Godell and the owners have ruined football
    =—————————————————-

    Not to worry, Brady et al will take care of it. Just call DeMo and voice your concerns, he will quickly take cre of them by having no season this year, or until the lawsuits are settled/disposed of.

    Cheers for DeMo, he has football so much more at heart than Goodell

  13. deucedropper says: May 21, 2011 4:34 PM

    No. 3 needs to be changed to “Refer to Nos. 1 and 2″.

  14. danphxariz says: May 21, 2011 4:46 PM

    Got to control it long enough??? What a complete joke and load of B.S. Under Goodell’s definition, Johnson definitely should have had a TD. He caught the ball, held it out for the ref to see, went to the ground landed on his butt, rolled over, then set the ball on the group as he was getting up. That is a CATCH folks.

  15. skins359 says: May 21, 2011 4:47 PM

    Well pfffft, it’s obvious he didn’t make a football move on that play. You have to make a football move, I mean how hard is it to make a football move, actually what the hell is a football move?

  16. revooc48 says: May 21, 2011 4:51 PM

    Do they teach common sense at these meetings?

  17. twocents22 says: May 21, 2011 5:08 PM

    Even as a Bears fan, I can honestly say that it should’ve been a Touchdown and the Lions should’ve won. But we still would’ve won more games then the Lions anyways.

  18. goombar2 says: May 21, 2011 5:09 PM

    Are lion fans still crying over this?

    It was one game in a season they went 6-10 in… For the love of all things football, grow up! That loss allowed you to pick that lazy DT that you guys think will make that 21st ranked D into an elite D. I guess elite is top 20 for lions fans?

  19. Dynasty says: May 21, 2011 5:31 PM

    Calvin Johnson “CAUGHT” the ball!!!!! I’m not a Bears or Lions fan. I’m a Football Fan. The Lions beat the Bears week one in any fans world. The League made a mistake and has yet to admit it. Anyone who watched that catch Week 1 was sick the way it turned out. Great Play, Great Catch, and would have been a great Comeback Win for the Lions.

  20. brandonjw18 says: May 21, 2011 6:10 PM

    @Beast
    The lions have been f*cked over for years by bad calls. I hardly call this getting even.

    Not to mention, if the play stands as a TD. Then GB wins the division, the Giants get the tie breaker over the Bears and make the playoffs. The Bears do not make the playoffs. All this happens over one play because of a ruling that has no consistency in NFL.

    Knowledgeable football fans know this was a catch.

  21. razsan says: May 21, 2011 6:37 PM

    Nicely done @SteelyBills….if your intent was to enrage Lions fans…it worked. Calvin caught the ball with 2 hands, landed with 2 feet, THEN landed on the entire left side of his body while holding the ball out like a loaf of bread and finally placed the ball on the turf. My guess is that your vision… or football aptitude isn’t very good.

  22. fallcoon says: May 21, 2011 7:24 PM

    Yeah, officiating sucks because of HD tv. Vikings should of beat Green Bay the first game cause the refs took a td away from Shaincoe. They totally overthink everthing now.

  23. liontuss says: May 21, 2011 7:33 PM

    The key to the catch, in my (Lions fan) opinion, is at the very end. I saw it live, and with every replay, I continue to see Johnson using the firmly-grasped ball as a support object helping him to get up.

    Dat’s a friign catch!

  24. 4512dawg4512 says: May 21, 2011 7:36 PM

    Well, aside from all the talk of consistency of rules, when it comes down to common sense we all know that it was a catch

  25. redskinsrt says: May 21, 2011 7:36 PM

    If they want to avoid judgement and have it be fair, 2 feet down with ball in control, or one elbow/forearm, just like a run

  26. martinmayhew4president says: May 21, 2011 7:45 PM

    @goombar
    The year before we were ranked 32 in pass D. From 32 to 20, also tied for 6th in sacks is a big leap.
    IMHO, the love that the MEDIA pundits/experts are giving to the LIONS seem to make a lot of FANS of other teams upset. WOW, once the laughing stock now the stock is rising, so has the HATE

  27. jskill3 says: May 21, 2011 7:53 PM

    If you catch the ball with both hands, get both feet down, then hold the ball up with one hand, then get a knee down, then turn over and let go of the ball while you are using it as leverage to help you get up, while the ref is signalling touchdown, it is not a catch. Everybody got it now?

    He still has to do a football move that Roger Goodell can recognize. Like hugging him when you are drafted.

  28. azbroncos says: May 21, 2011 9:06 PM

    Not bad MDS, one of the better posts you have written. Now about you guys and that pro player thing………

  29. descendency says: May 21, 2011 9:14 PM

    Simple answer to the problem: In order to be a catch, you must hand the ball to the official without it hitting the ground. Opponent interference and officiating errors need not change the outcome of the call.

  30. steelybills says: May 21, 2011 10:11 PM

    @razsan..I will forgive your unkind words and regard them as ignorant. No matter how you will gage my football IQ, the fact remains, Calvin Johnson let go of that ball prematurely. That is a fact, sir. The NFL Competition Committee seems to feel the same way, but I am sure you feel that your football aptitude is far superior to their’s.

  31. soulman45 says: May 21, 2011 10:33 PM

    He can never make a Lions fan think that was not a catch.
    NO WAY

  32. FinFan68 says: May 21, 2011 11:30 PM

    Why doesn’t the NFL define “long enough” instead of letting individual referees make judgment calls that vary from game to game and ref to ref? Get rid of all the BS and simplify the rules. Possession/control, in bounds, in the end zone = TD. This whole mess started way back when the league tried to differentiate between an incomplete pass and a fumble when the ball was separated by a big hit immediately after (during?) a catch. That’s where this “football move”, “going to the ground” and “complete the process of catching the ball” crap started and evolved into the mess of today.

    On an sidenote, anybody else wonder why a WAG is appropriate when positioning the chains on the sidelines after an obvious 1st down but then use that WAG as the basis for determining down to the fraction of an inch on the close ones?

  33. goombar2 says: May 21, 2011 11:41 PM

    It’s not hate, just a dash of realism.

    Are things headed in the right direction in detroit? Well, I can say they’re headed in a better direction than under Millen, but is that saying a lot?

    I guess I’ve heard it all before with regards to the lions and every time its the same old lions. After while, talk is cheap.

    And like I said, Fairly ain’t the great savior he’s being made out to be. The reason he fell was that his numbers were good for one year and he had a rep as being lazy. That’s not stuff I’m making up to get a rise out of people, its the truth.

  34. kennyrogerschicken says: May 22, 2011 12:50 AM

    steelybills -

    He never let go of the ball. The ball touched the ground as he was getting up.

    I suppose blown calls and confusing rules are part of the game, but the stupidity regarding “football moves” is as inconsistent as it is maddening.

  35. topeka1978 says: May 22, 2011 1:31 AM

    Goodell needs to stop talking to Lions fans about Calvin Johnson and start talking to the owners about getting a deal done.

    I am neither for the owners or players. I am for the game of football that I love to watch on my Sundays.

    They both need to stop bickering and start working.

    They are fighting like they are married but I wonder if they know that this is not a marraige, it is a business.

    If I don’t think that I am getting paid enough at work and decide not to work then I will be joining the people in the unemployment line.

  36. justindhansen says: May 22, 2011 2:24 AM

    There are so many reasons why the call was wrong.
    First- he clearly goes to the ground which is making a football move.

    Second- just because this is taking place in the endzone is what punishes players which is the dumbest thing ever. If this was anywhere else on the field, the players would have been reacting as though it would have been a fumble, but we ALL know the ground cannot cause a fumble.

    Third- go back to two years ago when Lance Moore made that catch in the Super Bowl and then had the ball knocked out of his hands yet it was considered good. If you’re going to tell me that that was a catch and Calvin’s wasn’t, well then you should be shot because you know nothing about football.

  37. footballhistorian says: May 22, 2011 4:10 AM

    If not for the current legal stupidity – the tuck and this rule are the most stupid environmental conditions of this wonderful game that have ever been created…

  38. razsan says: May 22, 2011 7:07 AM

    @SteelyBills…rewatch the play…If you honestly believe that he didn’t catch the ball…then I guess we have nothing to debate. Even the TV announcers pointed out that he caught the ball with 2 hands, landed and then braced himself to land on his entire body.

  39. jagssb11 says: May 23, 2011 9:43 AM

    If it had been Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, or Hines Ward, I guarantee it would have been a TD in the referee’s and league’s opinion.

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