Skip to content

NFL uses Calvin Johnson non-TD in video explaining rules to players

calvin-johnson-detroit-lions-04dd2d63b84a684e_large AP

Calvin Johnson’s apparent game-winning touchdown catch in the Lions’ Week One game against the Bears last season was overturned by a controversial replay review, and nearly a year later the NFL is still explaining why it stands by that ruling.

In an instructional video prepared for NFL players and now available to fans online, the league says that it has added language to the official rules to clarify what constitues a catch and what constitutes an incompletion — but that clarification doesn’t change the ruling on the Calvin Johnson play.

“If a player is going to the ground in the process of making a catch, he must maintain control throughout the entire process of contacting the ground,” the narrator of the video says. “If the player does not maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, the pass is incomplete.”

With that, the Johnson non-touchdown is shown, with the word “Incomplete” flashing on the screen.

The video also deals with rules changes for the 2011 season, including the new replay rule for scoring plays and changes to the rules on kickoffs.

And, of course, the bulk of the video deals with rules aimed at player safety, including this year’s increased emphasis on protecting defenseless players, and on preventing players from launching head-first into their opponents.

However, there is one surprise: At one point in the video, the narrator explains which types of hits are allowed on quarterbacks by saying, “glancing or incidental contact will not be a foul.” With that, video is shown of Trent Cole touching the back of Peyton Manning’s helmet during last year’s Colts-Eagles game. The word “legal” flashes on the screen when that play is shown.

That’s a surprise because Cole was flagged for a personal foul on that play, and afterward NFL V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson defended the call. This year, the NFL says, that won’t be a penalty. We’ll see when the season starts if referees can really resist the temptation to protect star quarterbacks.

Permalink 50 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Rumor Mill, Sprint Football Live - Rumors, Top Stories
50 Responses to “NFL uses Calvin Johnson non-TD in video explaining rules to players”
  1. anotherringofsteel says: Aug 12, 2011 5:21 PM

    You need to keep the other quarterbacks in the league safe from our D

    Harrison will destroy all in his path this year with that rule and we will claim number 7

  2. hobartbaker says: Aug 12, 2011 5:23 PM

    NFL went on to emphasize that the “Calvin Johnson Rule” only applied to receivers are over 6-5 and can run a 4.3 40.

  3. thephantomstranger says: Aug 12, 2011 5:24 PM

    You can explain the rule until you’re blue in the face, but it won’t change the fact that Johnson made the catch.

  4. 3octaveFart says: Aug 12, 2011 5:26 PM

    No matter how the NFL tries to spin this, he got hosed.

  5. mrclearview says: Aug 12, 2011 5:29 PM

    It’s not like its hard to hit Peyton’s head….its twice the size of everybody elses out there.

  6. offsideburns says: Aug 12, 2011 5:30 PM

    it depends on your definition of “glancing” glancing is

  7. axespray says: Aug 12, 2011 5:37 PM

    NFL’s Explaination: “screw the lions!”

  8. deeboisgonnaeatyourkids says: Aug 12, 2011 5:39 PM

    “Player safety is our main concern”

    And yet they want to go to 18 games. Hypocrites….

  9. deepseabreeze says: Aug 12, 2011 5:39 PM

    That call was and still is BS. touchdown every way you look at it.

  10. skolvikings2011 says: Aug 12, 2011 5:39 PM

    Without a doubt, that was the worst call in the NFL last season. The Bears got rewarded for playing terrible defense and not stopping a completion simply because Johnson rolled the football while getting-up after being on the ground.

    It proves there are too many legal-minded lawyers running the NFL. A blind chimp would have recognized that as a touchdown.

  11. 808raiderinparadise says: Aug 12, 2011 5:40 PM

    God Forbid them to have used Tom brady for the tuck rule.

  12. skolvikings2011 says: Aug 12, 2011 5:42 PM

    If a RB “breaks the plane” for a split-second, its a TD without question.

    If a WR lands with both feet, elbow, helmet, and a backflip, he has to ‘maintain possession through the play’. This is almost as dumb as the tuck rule.

  13. graham wieja says: Aug 12, 2011 5:43 PM

    brutal call

  14. pnut87 says: Aug 12, 2011 5:43 PM

    CJ got robbed. Ain’t nothing you can do or say to convince me otherwise.

  15. blester01 says: Aug 12, 2011 5:43 PM

    So the NFL has maintained for years that the ground cannot cause a fumble. But with the “catch” rule, didn’t the NFL just make it possible for the ground to cause an incompletion after the receiver is technically down by contact?

  16. philyeagles5 says: Aug 12, 2011 5:44 PM

    anotherringofsteel says:
    Aug 12, 2011 5:21 PM
    You need to keep the other quarterbacks in the league safe from our D

    Harrison will destroy all in his path this year with that rule and we will claim number 7
    ==============================
    man and i thought i was loser for having 1 username on this website. you have what? 13? 14?

  17. steelcitypoonslayer says: Aug 12, 2011 5:45 PM

    Wish the refs would protect big Ben. Due to his god like physical gifts, NFL officials tend to believe he can not be harmed my the mortal men on opposing teams. regardless, he will continue to win, but equality would be nice

  18. asublimeday says: Aug 12, 2011 5:45 PM

    Lions purr, Bear roar.

    Even if that catch counted, the lions still blow it with the remaining :30

  19. klunge says: Aug 12, 2011 5:46 PM

    Never mind the fact that he caught the ball in both hands and took 3 steps backwards before going to the ground. Meaning it was a TD before his butt even landed.

  20. dclogicatlast says: Aug 12, 2011 5:47 PM

    This video was horrible. Half of the “illegal” hits looks exactly like the “legal” hits. In fact, some of the “illegal” hits were caused by the player being hit lowering his head. How can that be a penalty on the hitter?

    This video made the rules LESS clear. Punish on intent, not some silly strike zone.

  21. deeboisgonnaeatyourkids says: Aug 12, 2011 5:52 PM

    If the Asante Samuel hit on a Giants WR is illegal, we might as well start watching soccer

  22. pencepost says: Aug 12, 2011 5:53 PM

    If the refs called that a catch, the Bears wouldn’t have even made the playoffs. Instead, they were a Caleb Hanie throw or two away from the Super Bowl.

  23. ugaboogaloo says: Aug 12, 2011 5:57 PM

    If you catch the ball in the end zone with full possession and both feet down in the field of play, it should be a TD. That is simple and makes perfect sense. Therefore, the NFL should make that the official rule regarding catches in the end zone.

  24. billinlouisiana says: Aug 12, 2011 5:58 PM

    blester01 says:
    Aug 12, 2011 5:43 PM
    So the NFL has maintained for years that the ground cannot cause a fumble. But with the “catch” rule, didn’t the NFL just make it possible for the ground to cause an incompletion after the receiver is technically down by contact?

    ————————————————–

    I don’t believe the NFL ever said that. It was a saying that I believe comes for the College rules. In the NFL the ground can cause a fumble. A runner can trip and fall all on his own and lose the ball when he hits the ground thus causing a fumble. In College football that same runner would be down. The NFL has always made a distinction between a fumble and incomplete catch and the rule used on the Johnson play was correctly used. It was also used on a play by I believe Javon Walker in a Raiders game 2 years ago.

  25. broo53 says: Aug 12, 2011 5:59 PM

    Why is it a surprise it said “legal” on the Peyton hit? They changed the rule. It was illegal now its not.

  26. camjon32 says: Aug 12, 2011 5:59 PM

    Well, it’s official. I’m smarter than the folks on the NFL Rules Committee…I didn’t even finish college and even I know, that was a friggin catch!

  27. kliplee says: Aug 12, 2011 6:03 PM

    that video makes the rules really blurry, it’s almost entirely judement calls now.

    jacking-up a defenseless receiver to force an incomplete pass was one of the more exciting defensive plays too.

    Its like nascar making accidents less frequent. This sucks.

  28. redbear18 says: Aug 12, 2011 6:08 PM

    Come on, that’s ridiculous. Any moron with eyes can see it was a catch. Short and simple, Detroit got shafted.

  29. tfbuckfutter says: Aug 12, 2011 6:09 PM

    “In an instructional video prepared for NFL players and now available to fans online”

    I’d click the link but I’m assuming the NFL is charging you to view it. Something like $9.95 to see it and 5 other clips in a package deal?

    Either that, or I’d have to switch to a different internet provider to be able to view it.

  30. wannabeqb says: Aug 12, 2011 6:12 PM

    Whilst I totally agree he caught the ball by all reasonable definitions, I am still amazed that PROFESSIONAL WRs who only really have one job on the field, to catch the ball, don’t know the rules of what is defined as a completed catch in the NFL.

  31. wcdunkenfield says: Aug 12, 2011 6:15 PM

    “…However, there is one surprise: At one point in the video, the narrator explains which types of hits are allowed on quarterbacks by saying, “glancing or incidental contact will not be a foul.” With that, video is shown of Trent Cole touching the back of Peyton Manning’s helmet during last year’s Colts-Eagles game. The word “legal” flashes on the screen when that play is shown.

    That’s a surprise because Cole was flagged for a personal foul on that play, and afterward NFL V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson defended the call. This year, the NFL says, that won’t be a penalty. We’ll see when the season starts if referees can really resist the temptation to protect star quarterbacks. …”

    The test case will be Tom Brady. I’m betting anyone that even gets near him gets called for something.

    “Hair Mussing, 15 yards against the defense!”

  32. nikkodawg says: Aug 12, 2011 6:25 PM

    Bears fan here and that should have been a catch and TD for CJ. Even within the rules that state a player must maintain possession after contact with the ground.

    But MDS, why do you call it an apparent game winning TD? If I remeber correctly, the TD would have made it like a 2 point game (or 3 with a 2 point conversion). But the Bears had like 450 yards that game and had no problem moving the ball up and down the field. With something like 22 seconds after the non TD, they could have easily gottin into field goal range.

    It was apparently a go ahead TD, but not necessarily a game winning TD.

  33. wewantmoretebowandfavrearticles says: Aug 12, 2011 6:34 PM

    I watched the video and it was physically impossible for many of those defenders to not violate the new rules. Also, it does not cover the issue of diving tackles, which I assume are technically illegal as a result of the new rules.

  34. lionfan419 says: Aug 12, 2011 6:37 PM

    if i am at a bar or my house like i was with 4 bear fans and 2 lions fans and we all thought it was a TD, then its a TD.

  35. lionfan419 says: Aug 12, 2011 6:39 PM

    nikkodawg says:
    Aug 12, 2011 6:25 PM
    Bears fan here and that should have been a catch and TD for CJ. Even within the rules that state a player must maintain possession after contact with the ground.

    But MDS, why do you call it an apparent game winning TD? If I remeber correctly, the TD would have made it like a 2 point game (or 3 with a 2 point conversion). But the Bears had like 450 yards that game and had no problem moving the ball up and down the field. With something like 22 seconds after the non TD, they could have easily gottin into field goal range.

    It was apparently a go ahead TD, but not necessarily a game winning TD.

    _______________________

    also you know Matt Forte was out of bounds on that run in that game and if you are a bear or lion fan you know exactly what i am talking about

  36. simalex says: Aug 12, 2011 6:48 PM

    I’ve given up trying to understand how the Calvin Johnson example doesn’t count as a catch/TD.

  37. num1eaglesfanyo says: Aug 12, 2011 6:48 PM

    It was a beautiful catch that was robbed away from him. Not a lions fan but it was unfair to calvin nd the lions thay should have won that game! Go Eagles

  38. 3octaveFart says: Aug 12, 2011 6:50 PM

    “This year, the NFL says, that won’t be a penalty.”

    But sneezing within ten feet of Tom “please don’t hit me” Brady will still draw an immediate flag.

    If it doesn’t, all he has to do is turn to the ref and nod.

  39. flavordave says: Aug 12, 2011 6:55 PM

    I dislike Steeler fans.

  40. eezyxyz says: Aug 12, 2011 7:08 PM

    “That’s a surprise because Cole was flagged for a personal foul on that play, and afterward NFL V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson defended the call. This year, the NFL says, that won’t be a penalty. ”

    Why is this a surprise? This is a rules CHANGE, so of course some stuff that was a penalty last year is now not going to be a penalty this year. It actually seems smart of the league to show plays from last year which will be called differently this year.

  41. simalex says: Aug 12, 2011 7:15 PM

    @flavordave, I’m not sure that I dislike all Steelers fans. Surely, there must be some cool Steeler fan somewhere. It just so happens that, if there are any cool Steelers fans, they never post here.

  42. awelter23 says: Aug 12, 2011 7:22 PM

    I’m all for penalizing helmet to helmet hits, but jesus, this is getting ridiculous. Why don’t we just strap flags to their waists.

  43. paulbrownsrevenge says: Aug 12, 2011 7:50 PM

    This league becoming soft will be its downfall. Eventually people will want to watch real football, then its time to get serious about college. NO FINES, NO TREATING QB’s SPECIAL. He wears the same equipment as everyone else. Fair game. Only in America can we take something perfect that everyone loves, and ruin it!

  44. andyreidisfat says: Aug 12, 2011 7:58 PM

    johnson caught the ball period.

    As far as the hits, just don’t put your head down and spear a guy. Its that simple. Don’t be a clown. If you hit the right way you should have your head up anyway.

    Perhaps if guys stopped trying to kill people and make the highlight all the time the NFL would have good tackling. This last decade may have been the worst era in football history as far as tackling. I blame the “big hit” mentality. These guys try to kill instead of tryi g to take down.

    Though i think the league should also look at when guys put themselves in a dangerous position. I see a lot of guys put their own head down causing helmet to helmet contact. Its not fair to fine a guy because the other guy did something stupid. Harrison in Pit had this happenen to him twice last year.

  45. GG Eden says: Aug 12, 2011 8:01 PM

    Im upset the NFLPA* didnt demand half the seats on the Rules Committee as part of the CBA Agreement.

    The NFL is merely an interpretation of american football rules, not the arbitrator. Unfortunately, the NFL rules committee has been over-run by corporate-legal heads. The players themselves want to maintain traditional rules.

  46. MichaelEdits says: Aug 12, 2011 9:48 PM

    Bill Polian is gonna slam somebody up against a wall for that

  47. realtimeeyes says: Aug 13, 2011 8:38 AM

    Now can we get some explanation for the Arian Foster TD that was called incomplete. He had possession, then crossed the goal line going to the ground; then he lost the ball. This rule needs to be modified because it conflicts with another. THE MOMENT YOU CROSS THE GOAL LINE, IT IS A TD!

  48. nikkodawg says: Aug 13, 2011 10:31 AM

    lionfan419 says:
    Aug 12, 2011 6:39 PM

    also you know Matt Forte was out of bounds on that run in that game and if you are a bear or lion fan you know exactly what i am talking about

    _______________________

    Actually, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I assume it was the 89 yard screen pass for TD along the sidelines but I don’t recall any mention of him stepping out. Probably because all the attention the nonTD catch received plus it was like 11 months ago.

  49. txraiderfan says: Aug 14, 2011 3:17 PM

    On almost identical plays, Calvin Johnson and Louis Murphy both caught TD passes… Period! Once again the refs screw up a call and the higher ups cover their butts with some stupid, outlandish “clarification”. This is ridiculous!

  50. txraiderfan says: Aug 14, 2011 3:20 PM

    If I’m an NFL defender, I knock the ball out of any offensive players hand after a reception where they cross the goal line. Wait for them to start their celebration, and then knock it away from them and push him to the ground. Look at the ref and scream “No TD… Calvin Johson rule!”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!